In March of 2020, La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) chose four middle school girls to attend Tech Trek, a one- week Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp sponsored by AAUW California at Whittier College in the summer of 2020. The branch started sponsoring girls to attend Tech Trek Camps in 2017, and these girls would have been the fourth group to attend.
The girls had to be nominated by a science or math teacher, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, have an interest in math and/or science, and be interviewed by the branch’s Tech Trek Committee. However, Covid-19 forced AAUW National to cancel all in-person Tech Trek camps for 2020, but virtual camps could still be held. There was not enough time to prepare virtual camps in 2020, so AAUW California STEM/Tech Trek program leaders prepared a virtual program for 2021 that would provide selected campers with a stimulating, fun, and rewarding STEM virtual experience. Branches could choose new campers in 2021, and girls who had been chosen in 2020 would also be able to attend one of three Virtual Camps in 2021 on June 21-25, July 12-16, or July 26-30.
Since the branch had selected four girls and set aside money to sponsor them for the Tech Trek Camps, the girls were contacted to see if they wanted to attend a Virtual Tech Trek Camp. All four girls said “yes.”
Congratulations to the four girls who were chosen by the La Palma-Cerritos Branch to attend the Virtual Tech Trek Camp! They are: Janelle Vargas of Fedde Middle School and Julianna Castellon of Haskell Middle School in ABC Unified School District in Los Angeles County, and Sophia Chicas and Sidney Lumsdaine of Walker Junior High School in Anaheim Union High School District in Orange County.
Over 600 girls have registered to be part of one of the three week-long camps this summer. Each girl received her first choice of the camp she wished to attend, so Janelle will attend the July 12-16 virtual camp. Julianna, Sophia, and Sidney will attend the virtual camp on July 26-30.
The week-long virtual camp will be centered on a morning project-based robotics/engineering/coding class that will meet daily. It will result in a personalized creative project by the end of the week. After a lunch break, campers will hear from inspirational women speakers in the STEM field for one hour. Following the speakers’ one- hour presentations, the girls will participate in a required 90-minute workshop, and an optional 90-minute hands-on or interactive STEM workshop. All the workshops are designed to encourage fun while learning.
The required sessions will provide the girls with opportunities to explore the fun properties of water, build a spectrophotometer to explore lights and waves, design and build a wind turbine to raise money literally, in the air, and discover dimensions they never knew they had. There also will be optional evening sessions.
The members of La Palma-Cerritos AAUW are looking forward to having the girls as guest speakers, at the branch’s meeting on September 16, 2021, to learn about their experiences at the Virtual STEM Tech Trek Camp sponsored by AAUW California. Contact Program VP Karen Cox at 562-519-0596 to confirm the meeting’s time, location, and whether the meeting will be a virtual or in-person.