What is a Tech Trek Camp?
From building model bridges, designing computer applications, programming robotic cars, being a marine biologist for a day and exploring wind power, what do these girls have in common? They all are experiencing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)! You too can participate in STEM. In 2019 AAUW Florida held its seventh “Tech Trek”, a week-long STEM residential experience for girls going into the 8th grade at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter and another at Stetson University in Deland. The 2020 camps were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There were two virtual camps in 2021, one for the girls who had been selected for the 2020 camps and one for the girls selected to attend the 2021 camp. Each will have an enrollment of 48 girls. In 2022 there was one virtual camp and in 2023 there were two in person camps; one at Stetson and the other at Florida Atlantic Jupiter campus. Young ladies again were nominated to attend by science and math teachers. The girls completed applications that included answering questions and writing an essay. Later they were interviewed by nearby AAUW members.
Florida Tech Trek History
Tech Trek is a model STEM camp that AAUW has used in California beginning in 2000 with a camp at Stanford University. Since then Tech Trek camps have expanded to ten college campuses in California and have served more than 10,000 girls. The first Florida Tech Trek was held in the summer of 2013 on the University of Central Florida campus, where 40 girls participated in STEM activities. The second and third camps were held on the Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg. Sixty girls attended the fourth camp in Boca Raton on the campus of Palm Beach State College, Sixty-two girls attended the 5th camp, and sixty-four girls attended the 6th camp also at Palm Beach State College.
In the 7th year there two camps attended by 48 girls at Stetson University and another 48 girls at Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter. The next year, 2020 the camps were cancelled due to the pandemic. In 2021 there were two virtual camps, each attended by 47 girls. In 2022 there was one virtual camp because the status of Covid-19 was uncertain at the time we had to decide if it was safe for the girls to reside in dorms on a college campus. In 2023 we had two very successful on site camps with 48 girls at each camp. The planning is underway for two camps in 2024.
Girls who attended the camps were exposed to diverse career paths in the STEM fields and discovered how STEM impacted their daily lives. They participated in hands-on-activities that increased their learning and met female STEM role models of all ages. They met, became friends with, and worked with girls from other schools with similar interests. On some projects they worked in pairs to solve a problem, create something new or build an item such as a robot or a bridge.
.How to Support Tech Trek
The financial support of corporate sponsors, AAUW branches and generous individuals are needed each year to make a girl’s dream dream of attending a Tech Trek camp a reality! The only cost to the girls selected to attend a camp is a $50 registration fee. Camp would not be possible without volunteers to assist teachers, serve as camp staff, assist with hands-on workshops, field trips, special events, and reach out to Florida communities to enlist the help of corporations and female STEM role models. Tech Trek Florida is a project of the AAUW Florida Supporting Foundation, Inc. Please make checks payable to the AAUW Florida Supporting Foundation, Inc. with Tech Trek noted in the memo line. Mail to Tech Trek, AAUW Florida Supporting Foundation, PO Box 126, Palm City, FL 33991. Contributions to the camps are income tax-deductible. If you are interested in making an in-kind contribution please contact the Tech Trek Camp Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure it is something the camps needs or can use.