by Alice Apkarian, Chair of Tech Trek
Through hands-on problem solving and encounters with women role models in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), AAUW Tech Trek (TT) help girls see their futures while having nonstop fun at week-long residential STEM camps held on college campuses. Our branch has been sending middle school girls to TT ever since AAUW-CA rolled out the first camp in 1998 at Stanford University. So far we have sent 110 girls to TT camps, with plans to send 10 more this summer to camps at UCI and UCSD.
This spring, the AAUW-CA annual convention will be celebrating 20 years of Tech Trek, and the festivities will include a TT reunion, so we have been reaching out to our former campers to update contact information and to find out what they are up to. In addition to updates on education and careers, we have received several personal notes from former Trekkers reflecting on what the program has meant to them.
Two Tech Trek Testimonials from Laguna Beach
• from Ella Steinbach
I am so thankful for your program and it is great to hear from you. Tech Trek made a big impact on my life in many different ways. As a senior in high school, I am planning to major in political science and minor in public health in one of the UCs. Tech Trek influenced me to grow my passion for the environment and explore the relationship between social justice and the sciences. Genetic modification, artificial intelligence, and big data psychology continue to fascinate me, and I hope to bridge the gap between our scientific community and legislators.
Through this taste of independence living on a college campus and through interaction with amazing women of all ages, I learned the power of self-advocacy. Tech Trek has made me more confident to speak my mind as a student, young adult, and young woman.
I have extensive experience in social media promotion for charitable events, and I would love to help this cause in any way I can.
• from Kenya Ripley-Dunlap
I am a former tech Trekker. The reunion you mentioned sounds like a great idea, and I would love to meet so many successful women. I am still a high schooler, so there is not a lot to mention about my career path yet. However, I am doing well in school, and science topics are still one of my favorite things to learn about. Aside from this, I have grown into a passionate feminist. I love that the AAUW promotes women’s futures; if there is ever any thing that I could help with, I would love to be apart of this amazing organization.