Over the past twenty years, our branch has sent 120 middle schools to AAUW’s STEM program: Tech Trek, and we will be sending 10 more in 2019!
Tech Trek is not only a summer STEM-enrichment program for girls. The program’s goal is to increase the number of women in STEM careers, and every aspect of the camps is designed to further that goal. After making it through an extensive selection process, the girls spend a week living on a college campus for a week, interacting with a new cohort, and sleeping in dorms, which makes the concept of “going to college” so much more concrete for them. They take core courses (akin to having a college major), and are introduced to a wide range of career opportunities through demonstrations and workshops. They also get the chance to interact with women scientist role models who talk about their careers, as well as experiences relevant to being women in male-dominated fields.
Tech Trek Alumnae regularly remark on how they have “found their voices” at Tech Trek, including acquiring confidence in public speaking and self-advocacy.
This schedule from UCI’s 2019 Tech Trek Camp reveals that in addition to the robotics, biology, etc. core courses, workshops, demonstrations, and field trips introduce the topics of Cyber security (sponsored by Symantec), Life after Tech Trek (including preparation for high school and college, not just academically but socially), along with lessons in effective Team Work, and even Financial Literacy!