TECH TREK: Engaging Girls in Washington State in STEM Activities

Fifty campers, representing 14 branches of AAUW Washington (Anacortes, 3; Bellingham, 4; Colville, 4; Dayton, 2; Gig Harbor, 5; Highline, 1; Issaquah, 2; Kirkland-Redmond, 3; Port Townsend, 5; Puyallup Valley, 5; Ritzville, 2; Seattle, 5; Tacoma, 6; Wenatchee, 1; Willapacific, 2), spent an action packed week at Pacific Lutheran University engaged in a variety STEM activities.


                                                                   Participants building a roller coaster.

During TECH TREK, July 21-27, 2013, the girls attended one core class and two labs each day. Participants attended core classes such as "Clean" Chemistry, CSI Tech Trek, Real World Math, and Rocketry. Labs included Using Online Tools, Ionic and Covalent Bonds, Dry Ice Ice Cream, Meiosis, Math in Nature, DNA Extraction, Model Hand and Neuron, and Science Olympiad.

In the evenings, the girls participated in a variety of activities. Viewing Saturn, its rings, and one of its moons was the highlight of an evening trip to the Keck observatory on the PLU campus. Other evening activities included several different team building activities and a student-produced talent show. In addition, six women STEM professionals talked about their careers, educational background, and the diverse opportunities open to women with STEM degrees.

For their field trip, the girls went to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and on a marine biology boat trip on the Puget Sound. On the boat, the girls did water quality testing, observed catches from a plankton net, and learned how to navigate a boat. At the Zoo, the girls participated in Marine Mammals and Sharks programs provided by the Zoo and touched sting rays, saw the playful Sumatran tiger and Clouded Leopard cubs, observed penguins, and viewed other exhibits of specific interest to them.


                                                                      Participant preparing to launch a rocket.

Tech Trek is a week-long science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) camp aimed at developing girls' interest, excitement, and self-confidence in STEM through classes, workshops, hands-on activities, and field trips. For more information about Tech Trek, contact