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12 junior high 'Tech Trekkers' selected

Posted: May 16, 2008 2:52 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.
"It was the best experience of my life!" exclaimed last year's American Association of University Women's (AAUW) Tech Trek alumna. All fears were allayed for this year's 7th grade honorees as Tech Trek Science Camp 2007 alumni shared experiences at a congratulatory tea on April 29 at the home of AAUW member Sheree McKeon. With photo albums open to pages of dowel creations and DNA extractions, Tech Trek alumni could barely contain themselves in reminiscing about the impact camp had on them.

The AAUW Santa Clarita Valley Branch was proud to honor an unprecedented 12 young women who have been chosen from Santa Clarita area junior high schools to attend the 2008 Tech Trek Science Camp for Girls: Caitlin Creekmore, Samantha Townsend, Vidheesha Kudipudi, Katherine Martinez, Lauren Lesko, Kristie Moody, Sarah Russell, Ava Bustamante, Kelsey Sanchez, Hannah Rios, Marie Samuel, and Britnee Muller. The honorees were nominated by their math and science teachers, and our AAUW Tech Trek Committee read essays and conducted interviews to determine scholarship recipients.

Tech Trek is a California AAUW activity that offers 7th grade girls a one-week residential math, science, and technology summer camp on a university campus. It provides a fun and supportive environment for girls to explore and expand their interests in these areas, with hands-on activities, projects, and field trips led by experienced teachers and guest presenters.

AAUW programs like Tech Trek Science Camp for Girls are changing the status quo across the country. Connecting young women with likeminded peers and mentors has a powerful effect on the lives and career choices of future generations.

In fact, survey results of girls who had participated show that AAUW Tech Trek had been the most influential personal or academic experience of their middle school years. An overwhelming 96 percent of Tech Trek girls are currently enrolled in college, and all credit Tech Trek for encouraging interest and increasing confidence in their ability to succeed in math and science areas.

The impact of this camp can best be conveyed through the quotes of girls who have attended:

"Tech Trek wasn't just a stepping stone along the path of my life, for me it was more like a bridge."

"I thought I was alone in the subjects and things that interested me. Given the opportunity to attend Tech Trek showed me that I wasn't alone. It allowed me to be more comfortable with myself and to be proud about who I am as an individual."

"Tech Trek Science Camp was especially important to me because as the child of an underprivileged family, I have had very few opportunities to learn in such a hands-on fashion and with such vibrant instructors as well as students."

A final quote leaves no doubt of the enormous influence of this program:

"I left Tech Trek with a spirit and attitude of self confidence. But it was more than just self confidence, I held within me a firm knowledge of knowing I can make it! No matter where I go, who I'm with, or what I am doing, I can and will succeed. To this day, I face every situation in my life like I faced the first day of camp. Tech Trek taught me many things, but above all Tech Trek taught me to try! Attempt, endeavor, conquer, seize, make the most of, make an effort, take a crack at, have a go, try!"

AAUW Santa Clarita Branch is extremely grateful to donors for the 2008 Tech Trek program: Kaiser Permanente, Frontier Toyota, TriSept Corp, William S. Hart District, Math Support, Betty Ferguson Foundation, Attorney Gina MacDonald, John Castagna, Jim Keltner, Steven McKee, Dr. Cynthia Morales, Rose Romeka, Dr. Tom Schoenbaum, Dr. Joseph Schulman, Mr. & Mrs. David Stradling, and Marion Smith-Subbarao.


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