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STUDENTS get hands on experiences at Tech Trek at the University of California, Davis. They explore various opportunities to use science, technology, engineering and math. Courtesy photo

Prospecting

Tech Trek is a learning experience

Do local girls really need science and math?

If your answer is, “YES,” take note of Saturday, Oct. 5. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Foothills of El Dorado County (formerly Placerville) invites the public to attend its Tech Trek Scholarship Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Park Community Church, 3901 Wild Chaparral Road in Shingle Springs.

For 15 years, AAUW has supported a program that sends four El Dorado County middle school girls for a week to University of California, Davis where they explore various opportunities to use science, technology, engineering and math.

They are given hours of hands-on experience and are taught the usefulness of these subjects in everyday life. In the end, they create individual projects from what they have learned. We need your help to keep this program going.

This year, the girls chosen are Camerado Springs Middle School students Emily Kennedy and Rebeckah Cox and Gold Trail Middle School students Brooke Schuld and Slaney Stringer.

All four started eighth grade this fall and were selected by a committee following a rigorous application and interview process.

The local AAUW branch is reaching out to the community to find individuals, organizations and businesses to help fund scholarships.

Soroptimist International of Placerville funded one of the four scholarships this year.

Every contribution makes a difference: $50 pays for a field trip for one student, $130 provides for a full day (24 hours) at camp, $450 covers half of a scholarship, $900 awards a full scholarship and $2,700 funds three full scholarships.

The camp, developed and supported by participating California chapters of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), was launched in 1998 to counteract the tendency of middle school girls to drop math and science as revealed in the groundbreaking AAUW report, “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America.”

According to the study, during early adolescence, social acceptance begins to trump academic interests and achievements for many girls, even those who have previously been good students.

In 2006 AAUW California surveyed the nearly 875 young women who had attended a Tech Trek Camp during the program’s first four years. From the 230 respondents, 96 percent were currently enrolled in college and, far exceeding national averages, 53 percent were majoring in science and math-oriented fields.

Virtually all credited their Tech Trek experience with having encouraged them to pursue a broader range of educational and career options.

At the luncheon, guestS will learn more about the Tech Trek program in El Dorado County, discover why STEM enrichment for middle school girls is critically important, and find out how to help send more local girls to Tech Trek Science Camp.

Guests will also hear about camp experiences from this years’ scholarship winners and be inspired as past scholarship recipients share how Tech Trek has enriched their lives.

A scrumptious luncheon will be served by local caterer Diane Wilkinson and guests will have a chance to find treasures in the silent auction.

Tickets are $20 and can be ordered by contacting Kathy McCoy at 530-642-8511 by Oct. 1. She can also answer questions about donating to the Tech Trek program.

The chapter of AAUW was founded 66 years ago as the Placerville Branch. Since the county population has grown, the group saw the need to more accurately describe the members who come from El Dorado Hills up through Pollock Pines necessitating the name change to AAUW-Foothills of El Dorado County.

For membership information contact Jan Cokely at [email protected] or check out the Website aauw-placerville.org which is the process of being updated to reflect the name change.

American Association Of University Women

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