(Tech Trek Central Oregon STEM Camp for Seventh-Grade Girls | Photo Courtesy of Tech Trek)
Tech Trek Central Oregon is moving into its fourth year with a STEM camp for current seventh-grade girls, in Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes Counties and is using its experience from the past three years of camps to energize the girls. The purposes of the camp include supporting girls who enjoy science and math; introducing them to other potential STEM careers they may not have thought of; allowing like-minded girls to interact with each other and support each other, and to exchange ideas with STEM professional women role models; and to “see” themselves on college campuses and visualize making a living wage in their futures.
The 2020 Tech Trek Central Oregon, which will be held June 21-26, is changing the venue back to OSU Cascades, where the first two camps were held. Many other facets of the camp will remain the same, such as the leadership team leader, the camp director, the camp core teachers and nurse and the number of girls served (48), in order to provide for a more personalized experience and an enhanced learning environment. Sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Bend Branch, and partners and donors from the various communities, the camp serves girls who will enter eighth grade next fall from all around Central Oregon: Warm Springs to La Pine and Sisters to Prineville.
Leading the camp again in 2020 are Kathi Dew, former president of AAUW Bend and former AAUW of Oregon president, who is also a retired elementary school principal. The camp director is Stephanie Morrison, a Bend-La Pine School District middle school teacher and track coach. Both women have been involved in the last three camps: Morrison as CORE class instructor and workshop provider, and Dew as family liaison and planning team leader on the previous planning committees. Their suggestion to reduce the number of girls last year proved invaluable in allowing the girls to better connect with each other and the staff. They also added a professional counselor to help oversee the girls and their college student group counselors.
The selection of OSU Cascades again will give the campers a picture of campus life on a growing campus that is experiencing a growth spurt. Through the Open Campus/Extension services, OSU Cascades has a presence in each of our counties.
This is an academic camp, with ample opportunities for both learning and fun. Each year, the girls fill out pre- and post-camp surveys, which help the committee with workshop choices and CORE classes. The CORE classes — Cyber Security, Engineering and App Creation — are already scheduled with experienced instructors for each. Though each girl will not necessarily get her CORE choice, each will be able to attend a workshop based on that material, to glimpse each specialty. Also in the plan are field experiences in geology, forestry, water study and a Science Night with partnering business Lonza (formerly Bend Research). Though the workshop list is not finalized, the committee expects to offer workshops in such areas as plant propagation, medical specialties, geology, more computer-based experiences, personal finance, journaling, water science, writing “thank-you” notes and many others. If you are a STEM professional wanting to offer a workshop, or a potential sponsor, please contact Kathi Dew for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For girls and families interested in the camp, applications will be in public schools across Central Oregon this month, with interviews starting in February in each community. With the help of grants, donations and sponsorships, the fee is just $50 to the family for participation. Interested seventh-grade girls should talk with their school principal or their science, math or technology teacher about the application process. The schools have information regarding the application process and camp.