Tech Camp Served Diverse Mix of Central Oregon Girls

Bend, OR. Central Oregon Tech Trek Camp was held at OSU Cascades, July 23-29, 2017 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 or Linda Gardner.

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.

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.

Tech Trek Camp Receives Grants

Bend, OR – Central Oregon Tech Trek, will be held July 23-29 for middle school girls at OSU Cascades Campus.  The project has earned the respect of a number of grants organizations, for its emphasis on introducing these young women to the joys of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields) in planning and pursuing their life-long careers.

In May, The Oregon Community Foundation presented a check to sponsoring organization, American Assn. of University Women, for a grant of $12,000.  A big check was given to the group by Linda Stelle, volunteer for OCF.  The grant represents funding from several family foundations whose funds reside with the Oregon Community Foundation, and who are particularly involved in educational endeavors.

Additional funding has been received, or pledged, from the Roundhouse Foundation, Kiwanis Club of Prineville, Greater Bend Rotary Club, Soroptimist International of Bend and Prineville, Bend Research Women, St. Charles Foundation, The Deschutes Brewery, The Newberry Eagle, Bend MLS Realtors and Affiliates, AAUW members, AAUW National and their sponsors including Symantec, Verizon, and Lockheed Martin.

Research has shown that by 8th grade, girls begin to divorce themselves from these STEM fields, opting for often less competitive areas of study.  36 rising eighth-grade girls from Jefferson, Crook, and Deschutes counties will attend the camp, uniquely designed for girls and overseen by women, with a first-hand look at how exciting careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields can be.  They will learn about computer programming, especially app creation, and will venture into the world of cyber security.  Field trips will include visits to Central Oregon STEM businesses and the Sunriver Nature Center for a first-hand look at what jobs in these business environments would be like.  A professional women’s night will allow the girls one-on-one time with STEM professional women.  Among their discussion topics will be how to rise above stereotypes and how to get along and lead in predominately male fields.  Campers will have the opportunity to reside on the college campus, making that transition after high school much easier.

The budget for the camp, which includes dorm rooms, meals, field trips, instructors, etc., is $40,000, or about $1200 each camper.  Additional donations are needed to fund the camp, infull.  This year AAUW is hosting 22 Tech Trek Camps across the nation. The only other Oregon camp is in Tillamook.

The Central Oregon Tech Trek is result of a partnership between AAUW of Oregon, AAUW Bend Branch, OSU-Cascades AAUW, Central Oregon STEM Hub, OSU-Open Campus and Better Together. Local individuals and organizations interested in supporting the camp can make a donation at our donations page, selecting Tech Trek Oregon – Central Oregon on the drop-down menu.

Tech Trek Central Oregon Has Officially Launched!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 –
On Wednesday, April 19th, community members, educators, and local business leaders joined AAUW of Oregon for the Tech Trek Central Oregon launch party hosted by Deschutes Brewery. The launch party offered an opportunity for interested individuals to meet the camp planning committee, learn about the philosophy and background of the camp, and pledge to support the camp financially and/or through volunteer service.

To date, businesses and organizations that have become Tech Trek Central Oregon sponsors include Deschutes Brewery, St. Charles, Bend Research, Kellianne Jordan Photography, the Roundhouse Foundation, and local Kiwanis and Soroptimist organizations. AAUW of Oregon offers a special thank you to Deschutes Brewery for not only sponsoring the camp, but also hosting the launch party.

“This camp changes lives. I’m thrilled to donate my professional services to support Tech Trek, local girls, and our Central Oregon community,” Said Kelli Jordan. Jordan is a local professional photographer and co-owner of Kellianne Jordan Photography. Jordan will also lead a workshop on the mathematics of calculating lighting needs for photography.

AAUW of Oregon is still accepting Tech Trek sponsorship from local businesses and organizations. Join us in bring this revolutionary science camp to Central Oregon and change the lives of 36 local girls! The approximate cost for one girl to attend the week-long camp on campus is $1,200.

Local individuals and organizations interested in becoming a camp sponsor can make a donation by visiting our Sponsor a Girl page. To make a cash contribution. visit our Donate page and select “Tech Trek Oregon – Central Oregon” in the drop-down menu.