Tech Trek is a week-long science and math camp designed to develop interest, excitement, and self-confidence in young women who will enter eighth grade in the fall. It features hands-on activities in math, science, and related fields. All sleeping, eating, instructional, and recreational facilities are located on the Stanford University campus, where the camp is held.
Since the first camp at Stanford in 1998, AAUW-OML has sent 79 Lamorinda middle school girls to Tech Trek camp. AAUW-CA research has shown that many Tech Trekkers have continued their studies in science and medicine in college, and the early campers are now pursuing their career goals in the STEM fields. Based on a new study published this year by AAUW, “Solving the Equation, The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing,” in less than 10 years the United States will need 1.7 million more engineers. Yet women represent only a small fraction of engineers today. Women are also underrepresented in the computer science, chemistry, physics, and mathematics fields.
Tech Trek Camp Scholarships
To encourage young women to pursue STEM careers, where women are currently underrepresented, AAUW-OML sends middle school girls interested in science and math to Tech Trek Camp. The seven 2017 Tech Trek scholarship winners are Olivia House and Cathy Kenderski from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate, Kiara Kofoed and Katerina Bonderud from Orinda Intermediate, and Namratha Kasalanati, Isabelle Lurie, and Maia West from Stanley Intermediate. Both Olivia House and Kiara Kofoed have older sisters who were awarded scholarships to Tech Trek camp in 2015.
These Tech Trek scholarship winners (in photo above) impressed the April Awards Ceremony attendees with presentations describing their love of science and math and their future goals – and these girls do have lofty ones! Kiara Kofoed has a strong interest in computers and robotics. She hopes to apply her knowledge to have a global impact in the political arena. Katerina Bonderud is inquisitive and creative with an interest in robotics and engineering. Olivia House, who loves outer space and music, hopes to be a space roboticist. Kathy Kenderski considers herself to be a scientist already, with plans to become an astrophysicist and a science journalist. Isabelle Lurie makes things using a 3D printer in her Girls Maker Club and has started a Science Bowl at her school. Maia West is enthusiastic about many STEM fields, including physics, astronomy, engineering, robotics and problem solving. Namratha Kasalanati, who is an athlete and musician, has a strong interest in combining scientific knowledge and public policy.
These girls want to make this world a better place. They were chosen after a rigorous process of being nominated by their teachers, completing an application, and being interviewed by a team of three AAUW-OML members.
The Tech Trek Mission
AAUW Tech Trek, founded in 1998, is designed to help girls continue their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM) exploration and learning. Studies have shown that 68% of both boys and girls in fourth grade are naturally interested in science. But by eighth grade, this interest has dropped dramatically, especially for the girls.
That is why we feel it is important to support girls interested in science during the middle school years and to expose them to the careers available to women in science today. Many former Tech Trekkers, now in college or working, have told us that Tech Trek was one of the most influential personal or academic experiences of their middle school years. AAUW-CA research has shown that many Tech Trekkers have continued their studies in science and medicine in college, and the early campers are now pursuing their career goals in the STEM fields.
Please Donate to Support Scholarships to Tech Trek
AAUW OML will be selecting another round of Tech Trekkers in the spring of 2017. The cost is $1000 to send each girl to camp. If you would like to make a donation to Tech Trek, send your check—made out to AAUW-OML Community Outreach Fund with Tech Trek written in the check memo line—to AAUW OML Treasurer, 2914 Fyne Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598 Here is a link for a donation form.
Tax Information for Donations
- Read about recent attendance at Stanford Grace Hopper Tech Trek Camp
- Watch the video on Facebook
- Read our answers to Tech Trek Frequently Asked Questions
- Read the Tech Trek brochure.
- Visit AAUW of California’s Frequently Asked Questions on their Tech Trek website.
- See “Why So Few,” a recent AAUW study.
- Email the AAUW-OML Tech Trek Director, Sandy Fox-Sohner, or call her at (925) 631-0668 for more information.
- We have made a resource list of camps and activities. We do not endorse any of these programs, but are providing the list as a resource for all our Tech Trek candidates, past and present.
- Seattle Girls plan to launch a hand built spacecraft
- Read about Women and Girls in the News for inspiration.
Tech Trek Girls Thank AAUW-OML
The Tech Trek girls had many “hands on” experiences at the Stanford Camp. The thank you notes sent by the OML Tech Trekkers are wonderful examples of the enthusiasm these girls have for science and math. A few brief sample comments from their detailed thank you letters follow:
- “In the future, I plan on joining the STEM related clubs at my school. If it weren’t for Tech Trek, I would have been hesitant of joining, since there aren’t many girls. I just want to thank you again for all you have done. I really appreciate it.”
- “Going to Tech Trek meant the world to me because it was exactly what I needed at the moment, a boost in learning about STEM professions, subjects, and teachers. I had so much fun at this camp and was exposed to many new ideas: robotics, professional women’s night, stargazing, the veterinarian presentation, Stanford blood lab for forensics…”
- “This experience was life changing and meant a lot for me. I love how it focuses on young women who are passionate about science…after hearing about other women in STEM, I hope to pursue a career in these fields.”
- “I probably had the best week in my life! My favorite activity was robotics. I really enjoyed it because we had the freedom to do programming any way we wanted to. Tech Trek will affect me in the future in many ways…When I am older I will definitely want a job that has to do with science…. I love Tech Trek!”
- “Tech Trek is just so eye-opening and inspiring… The robotics class was taught very well, and I see myself trying and experimenting with robotics in the future. Thank you so much… It has changed my life in wonderful ways.”
- “I have learned so much in just a few days… Listening to different women talk about their careers was a totally empowering experience, because it made me believe that I could make my dreams come true, too… Tech Trek has inspired me to want to go to Stanford after I graduate from high school. It is a tough college to get into, but Tech Trek has taught me the lesson that if you work hard enough for something, you will get it. I also plan to return as a junior or senior counselor… I truly appreciate the chance you have granted me and everyone at Tech Trek.”
Lockheed Martin Grant
Lockheed Martin has invested in Tech Trek big time with a $90,000 grant to AAUW. $40,000 is for national AAUW to expand camps and $50,000 is for 4 existing camps that are near Lockheed Martin sites. This means that the Stanford Camp Marie Curie and Camp Grace Hopper will each receive $12,500. This is an unrestricted grant. Read the official press release for details.