In January, 2011 the local Santa Maria Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) will begin the process to send local 7th grade girls to a week long math and science camp held at UC Santa Barbara.

AAUW, California established Tech Trek in 1999 at Stanford University.  Tech Trek is a math, science and technology camp held on several California college campuses each summer. In 2011 UCSB will be hosting two camp sessions to accommodate the growing number of girls who want to attend. At the UCSB campus, attendees can select courses from a list of subjects like microbiology, physiology, robotics, marine life, computers, physics, and CSI techniques. Each is taught by women teachers who are leaders in their fields. These are hands-on experiences where campers work side by side with other young girls who are excited about math and sciences as they are.

Providing mentorship and motivation through the camp experience has been shown to keep girls focused in STEM areas well into high school, and those that attend camp are more likely to attend college. Statewide, a survey shows 96% of past attendees have gone on to college.

Girls from Santa Maria, Orcutt, and Guadalupe are recommended by their math and science teachers and applications are mailed to them. The application includes writing a short essay which is then reviewed by the Tech Trek committee. Finalists are interviewed by a committee panel that makes the final selections. Every year we have many more excellent candidates than the branch can afford to sponsor.

Our branch members are supportive of this project financially but donations from the community are also needed. It costs $800 per girl. All donations are tax deductible (Tax ID: 68-0463071) and checks are made payable to the AAUW CA Special Projects Fund.  Contact Jan Cutler, Tech Trek Coordinator, at 4607 Kenneth Ave., Santa Maria, CA 93455, (H) 934-1142 or to make a donation or ask any questions.

Submitted by Jan Cutler, Tech Trek coordinator or 934-1142