(Geology at Lava Lands | Photos courtesy of Tech Trek Central Oregon Leadership)
Tech Trek Central Oregon is moving into its third year, with a STEM camp (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for current seventh grade girls, using its experience from the last two years of camps to enhance the experience for the girls. The purposes of the camp include supporting girls who enjoy science and math, introducing them to potential STEM careers they may not have thought of, allowing like-minded girls to interact with each other and with STEM professional women role models, and for the girls to ‘see’ themselves on college campuses and making a living wage in their futures.
Among the changes to the 2019 Tech Trek Central Oregon camp are a change of venue to COCC, a new Leadership Team leader, a new camp director and a reduction in the number of girls served, 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 entering eighth grade from all around Central Oregon, Warm Springs to La Pine, and Sisters to Prineville.
Leading the camp for 2019 are Kathi Dew, former president of AAUW Bend, former AAUW of Oregon president and a retired elementary school principal. Joining Dew in leadership is Camp Director Stephanie Morrison, curriculum leader/instructional coach, STEM club advisor, 2017 Bend-La Pine Teacher of the Year finalist, 2018 OSTA Outstanding Classroom Teacher (Oregon Science Teachers Association), Bend-La Pine School District middle school teacher and track coach. Both women have been involved in the last two camps, Morrison as CORE class instructor and workshop provider, and Dew as family liaison on the previous two planning committees. One of their suggestions was to reduce the number of girls, so that the girls are better able to connect with each other and the staff.
The selection of COCC for the week-long camp is aimed at a more realistic opportunity to experience a college campus. Former camps have been at OSU-Cascades in Bend. It is a college very much in transition, experiencing a growth spurt. COCC has satellites in most communities, which will offer the campers a taste of dorm living, along with the connection to those satellites.
During the winter, the planning committee, comprised of AAUW members and community partners, will finish designing the curriculum, which will include class time, hands-on workshops, field experiences and quiet/journaling time. This is an academic camp, with ample opportunities for both learning and fun. Making these curriculum changes earlier will allow the girls and their families more input into their CORE classes and workshop choices. Many activities are already scheduled, like the CORE classes of Cyber Security, Aeronautical Engineering and App Creation. All the girls will be able to attend workshops based on the CORE material as well as a diverse array of workshops to become acquainted with each specialty. Though not finalized, the committee expects to offer workshops in plant propagation, medical specialties, more computer-based experiences, personal finance, journaling, writing thank-you notes and many other areas. Also on the plan are field experiences in geology, forestry, water study and a Science Night with partnering business Lonza, (formerly Bend Research). If you are a STEM professional wanting to offer a workshop, a potential sponsor or a club wanting a program on what Tech Trek has to offer girls in your community, contact Kathi Dew, for more information at email@example.com.
Dates of the Tech Trek Central Oregon camp are June 23-28, 2019. The applications will be in public schools across Central Oregon in December and January, with interviews starting in February, in each community. Interested seventh grade girls should talk with their school principal, science, math or technology teacher about the application process. In addition, changes will be made to the Tech Trek website after the first of the year.