Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Tech Trek Campers share their experiences

At the October meeting of the Tehachapi Mountain Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women), the four young women who were selected to attend Tech Trek this past summer shared some of their experiences. They are Kennedi Clark, Aliya Meza, Gianna Moreno and Isabella Nunez. All four are students at Jacobsen Middle School, and all attended camp at UC Santa Barbara.

Tech Trek is a one-week STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) camp sponsored by AAUW. It's designed to make STEM fields exciting and accessible to girls in middle school - the age when girls' interest in these fields statistically drops. For many of them, the week-long camp sparks their curiosity and is a life-changing experience for them. They live in the dorms, eat in the college cafeteria and get to experience life as a college student.

All campers are assigned STEM core classes that they attend daily. These include Marine Science, Forensics, Robotics and Aerospace. Since the girls don't get to pick their classes, not all of them got their first choices. Ironically, Aliya (who said she hates the ocean and was interested in Forensics) was assigned to Marine Science. However, she, along with the others, all said that they developed an appreciation for whichever core class they were assigned to, and learned a lot of new things.

Kennedi said that she had wanted to be a baker for as long as she could remember. After attending Tech Trek though, she now wants to pursue a career in a STEM-related field. Gianna enjoyed her Robotics classes and said that she even programmed her robot to say "Happy Birthday" to one of her counselors. All of the girls were extremely impressed with the university cafeteria food; Isabella was no exception. She loved her Tech Trek classes, and thought it was great to have so many food selections at each meal, especially ice cream.

Any homesickness or electronic device withdrawal was quickly replaced by the friends they met, as well as their busy schedules. They had to wake up at 6 a.m. each morning, and their days were filled with classes, labs, experiments, guest speakers and special projects. On the last day, the girls were treated to a fun day at the beach, where some even tried their skills at surfing. All of the girls said that Tech Trek was an amazing experience for them. A couple are even hoping to return to camp as junior counselors when they turn 16!

Membership in the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is open to both women and men with a two-year or higher degree from an accredited institution. Information about Tehachapi Mountain Branch AAUW may be found at tehachapimountain-ca.aauw.net. Call (714) 313-0456 if interested in joining.