AAUW Tech Trekkers Thrilled By Their Experiences at Stanford University’s Grace Hopper STEM Camp

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AAUW Tech Trekkers Thrilled By Their Experiences at Stanford University’s Grace Hopper STEM Camp

Photo: Tech Tech Campers 2015 Caroline Ruppert, Sam Swan, Maddie Wilson, Sophia Kofoed, Lynn Wolfe, Maddie House, April Lindblad

SevenTech Trek campers, sponsored by the Orinda/Moraga/Lafayette (OML) Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club, returnedfrom their week-long Stanford University campus Tech Trek Camp with glowing reports of fun, learning and new found camaraderie. Tech Trek Camp is designed to encourage 7th grade girls to persist with their excitement about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through high school, college, and well into their careers. The camp features numerous hands-on activities as well as a chance for the girls to meet “happening” professional women in STEM fields.

This year, core classes at camp included Computer Coding and Cyber Sleuthing for the first time, as well as Marine Biology, CSI forensics, 3D Math, and Engineering Design. The girls took apart computers, wrote computer code, built functional robots, worked as a team to make a biplane from rolled up newspapers using engineering principles, built structures using only uncooked spaghetti and duct tape, and attended field trips to Symantec, a marsh, the Stanford blood lab, virtual reality lab, and solar car. They also met numerous professional women scientists and engineers, just to mention a few of the activities.

To capture their stories and enthusiasm, all seven campers--Caroline Ruppert and Sophia Kofoed from Orinda Intermediate School; Sam Swan, Maddie Wilson, and Lynn Wolfe from Stanley Intermediate School; and Maddie House and April Lindblad from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School-- attended a reception on September 1, 2015 hosted by the Branch AAUW Tech Trek Committee. The Tech Trek campers, all from Lamorinda intermediate schools, expressed their thanks to AAUW for their camp scholarships. The following are just a few of the genuinely enthusiastic comments received from these young women about STEM subjects:

--"I enrolled in a computer coding class, but was doubting this choice because I loved all the other options so much. But the second I stepped into that classroom, I was 100% sure I made the right choice. You could feel the energy and it was so powerful to meet people just like me. "Madeline

--"It was incredible to meet smart science and math loving girls who are a lot like me. Now, I know I am not alone and am going back to school confident in who I am and what I want to do with my life….Thank you forever."Sophia

--" My core class was forensics and I learned about fingerprints and chemical reactions as well as identifying different types of fibers. Thank you for letting me go to Tech Trek. I really had fun this week!"April

--"I loved the hands-on experiences and teamwork that I had to use in doing robotics and building with spaghetti. I am glad I got to do robotics because I am taking robotics as an elective next year. ... It was an amazing experience and I am glad I got to be a part of it."Lynn

--"I cannot thank you enough for sending me to Tech Trek. The experiences were magical and simply life changing….For example, build-it night pushed me to what I thought were my boundaries and then farther. These are lessons are not only for me as a scientist and mathematician, but for the rest of my life…."Sam

--"Every activity I participated in taught me something new and sparked my curiosity. I loved that I could program robots and troubleshoot my code….I will never forget this week because it has been one of the best ones of my life." Maddie

--"We went to the Stanford's solar car station. We saw a car that was built and raced by the Stanford team. They raced across Australia and they got 4th place: the highest ranking college team. Who was the driver? A girl from Tech Trek!.....I am really glad you chose me for this. It really made my summer an important one!"Caroline

If you would like to donate to the AAUW OML Tech Trek scholarship program, or if you would like to attend a Tech Trek fundraiser event such as the Walnut Creek Restaurant Walk on October 6, please contact Jan Cushman at 925-253-1958. Check http://oml-ca.aauw.net/tech-trek/ for additional information about AAUW and Tech Trek.

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