by Alice Apkarian, Chair of Tech Trek


Introduced in 1998 to help address the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) employment, AAUW’s Tech Trek program has been helping change girls’ lives for 20 years. Through hands-on problem solving, educational field trips and interactions with women role models in STEM fields, Tech Trek helps girls find their passion for STEM subjects and consider STEM-related careers. The weeklong residential camp, located on college and university campuses, sparks their curiosity and places them on a path to success.

Our branch sent one girl to the very first Tech Trek camp at Stanford University in 1998, and we have been sending girls to Tech Trek ever since. To date we have provided 119 Tech Trek scholarships (including eight this year) to girls at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach. These girls have attended Tech Trek camps at Stanford University, CSU Fresno, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and Whittier College.  

This year we extended our outreach and provided two scholarships to girls at Venado Middle School, a Title I school in Irvine.  Those scholarships were generously provided to us by Pacific Mercantile Bank.

This year’s ten scholarship recipients went through a rigorous selection process that began with teacher nominations followed by submitting written applications, then in-class essay writing and finally participating in personal interviews. Congratulations to all 10 recipients: May Chapman, Ophelia Chapman, Zoey Cutter, Ava Griffiths, Medha Mohankumar, Rosabella Murphy, Eleanor Ramsey, Nina Rogers, Moneypenny Summers and Hannah Williams!

Because a girl may only attend Tech Trek on a full scholarship provided by a local branch of the AAUW, it is our role to raise funds for the scholarships. Donations toward a $1000 scholarship may be made to the AAUW Laguna Beach Foundation (“AAUW-LBF”), with “Tech Trek” written on the memo line, and mailed to:  Susan Kent, Treasurer, PO Box 189, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.

Alice Apkarian
Tech Trek Chair
AAUW-Laguna Beach