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Tech Camp // Inspires Incoming 8th Graders

Beverly Vazquez  // Better Together Central Oregon

Bend, OR.  Central Oregon Tech Trek Camp was held at OSU Cascades, July 23-29, as a way to inspire incoming 8th grade girls to pursue STEM fields as study and career choices.

The excitement of the group was awe inspiring!  36 girls from middle schools all over Central Oregon, including Jefferson (5), Warm Springs (3), Culver (3), Elton Gregory (4), Obsidian (5), Pilot Butte(3), High Desert (6), Three Rivers(3), La Pine (2), and Crook County (2) attended the camp.  Science and Math teachers at the schools nominated the girls, who were interviewed by sponsoring AAUW (American Association of University Women) members.  The committee worked all year to make the camp a success.  A few of the girls will share their experiences at the Bend AAUW meeting, Sept. 16, 2017, 9:30 am at the COAR building in Bend.  If you are interested in seeing that program, contact President, Evie Lamb, evelynlamb@gmail.com or Linda Gardner, trixytazzy@livecom.

According to research, girls give up science and math in middle school grade, due to a number of factors, not the least of which is intimidation by the boys in their classes.

Field trips took the girls to St. Charles Health Care, BendResearch, Lavalands National Monument, Bend City Water Treatment, Bend Sewer Treatment, Tumalo Creek, to Prineville to visit with BLM women, and to see the film “Hidden Figures” at the Pine Theater.  Workshops included study in Cyber Security, Engineering, Chemistry,  Electrical Engineering, Geology, Plant Propagation, Building a Solar Oven, Mathematics of Photo Lighting, Physics of Fiber Arts, Making a Zoatrope, Personal Finance, Writing Thank-yous, and Personal Growth.  The girls also had a memorable visit from Florence Nightingale.

 

A number of local and statewide grants from businesses and service organizations insured the success of the camp.  Camp counselors were Interns from COCC, with camp experience, and numerous STEM professionals shared their experience in workshops and at the information night, where the girls asked questions of STEM professional women in a speed dating format.

Growing a network of STEM oriented girls for support, the premise is that girls will be more likely to continue in these fields into high school and college.

The sponsoring organization was AAUW of Oregon with help from AAUW of Bend, OSU Cascades, High Desert ESD, Central Oregon STEM Hub, and a number of local STEM related businesses and agencies.   The group hopes to double the participation next year, and aims for 100 girls by 2019.

 

According to research, girls give up science and math in middle school grade, due to a number of factors, not the least of which is intimidation by the boys in their classes.  Growing a network of STEM oriented girls for support, the premise is that girls will be more likely to continue in these fields into high school and college.  The campers will continue their support group through a closed Facebook group, and through the friendships they developed over the week-long camp.  AAUW has tracked former campers and have seen a doubling of participation in STEM fields in high school and entering college in these girls, as compared with the general population of girls entering those institutions.

 

Anyone with interest in helping on future Tech Trek Camps should contact committee chairs, Kim DeBroux, kimdebroux@yahoo.com, or Becky Munn, Becky.Munn@oregonstate.edu, or visit the web site, http://techtrek-centralor.aauw.net/.

 

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The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at www.aauw.org.

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