What is Tech Trek?
AAUW of California’s Tech Trek Science & Math Camp for Girls is a one-week residential summer scholarship camp for rising eighth graders. Tech Trek camps are held on eight California campuses; thousands of girls have completed the program.
Tech Trek was founded in 1998 with startup funds from an AAUW Educational Foundation Community Action Grant. The camp was designed to encourage young women to continue studying science and math in middle school because research found that, in early adolescence, a focus on social acceptance may trump academic interests and achievement for many girls, even those who have previously been good students. Tech Trek Science Camp for Girls provides a supportive environment for girls to explore and expand their interests in science and math, with hands-on activities and projects led by experienced, paid teachers in a college setting.
Tech Trek’s goals are:
* to encourage young women of all backgrounds who are entering eighth grade to take math and science courses each year throughout high school,
* to motivate these students to attend college, and
* to inspire young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, or math.
Since its inception, Tech Trek has collected a great deal of evidence from both parents and students about the value of the camp experience. In end-of-camp evaluations each year, students always report how much they enjoy being around other girls who share their interest in math and science. Another frequent comment is that the experience of living on a college campus has awakened or confirmed their desire to attend college.
Parents often volunteer interesting information as well, like the mother whose daughter “did not want to work hard when so many of her friends were not interested in the same subjects at school. After receiving the news that she would attend Tech Trek, [she] did a 180-degree turn and started doing her homework with enthusiasm.” That same young woman has since completed a degree in physics from a major university.