The Sunnyvale-Cupertino American Association of University Women (AAUW) sponsored eight middle school girls from Santa Clara, San Jose and Cupertino for its annual Tech Trek Science and Math Camp for Girls held last July at Stanford University, where the girls stayed overnight in dormitories.
The girls and their families joined with AAUW members on Sept. 16 for a picnic at Raynor Park, Sunnyvale, to share their camp experiences.
Eva Lim, 12, from Santa Clara, now an eighth-grader at Peterson Middle School, was recommended to Tech Trek by her seventh-grade science honors teacher, Gregory Namba.
“I’m interested in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] field because I want to help find solutions to climate change and research alternate fuel sources. Attending Tech Trek helped expose me to different fields of science such as seismology, meteorology, microbiology, and nanotechnology,” said Lim.
“A highlight of the camp was astronomy night, where we got to look through many different types of telescopes and talk to astronomers. I saw an hourglass-shaped nebula and a star cluster with a million stars!”
Meyhar Kamrah, 13, now an eighth grader at Brownell Middle School, Gilroy, was nominated for the camp by her Buchser Middle School, Santa Clara, science teacher. She said that the STEM field is important to her because she wants to “invent medicinal formulas and gadgets to help relieve suffering and causes of ailments.”
Kumrah’s favorite camp activity was Mad City Money, where the girls were given a new identity and had to write checks and manage their money as they navigated through a new life.
“We also did other very interesting activities such as star gazing, build-it night, career girls, fountain hopping and visiting the VMware [Palo Alto] campus,” said Kumrah.
After being nominated for Tech Trek, the girls wrote an essay on an assigned topic about science and math. Based on their essays, select girls were then interviewed by the AAUW Education Equity Committee.
“The qualifying process was stringent, involving teacher nomination, essay evaluation and interview of parent and student,” wrote Kamrah’s father, Punit Kamrah.
“Tech Trek is symbolic of women empowerment. Best of the teachers identifying the budding talent, providing them with a supportive platform, creating an encouraging environment, and showing them a path of the latest and greatest in their respective choices,” said Punit Kamrah.
“Tech Trek was an outstanding opportunity for Eva to expand her understanding of the sciences in the company of like-minded girls and enthusiastic instructors and counselors,” said Lim’s father, Leland Lim.
“We were thrilled when she was selected to attend and are grateful to the AAUW for sponsoring and organizing this camp. This was a memorable experience for Eva and is an excellent foundation upon which she can continue to build her interest in science and technology.”
Tech Trek began in Palo Alto in 1998, expanded to 10 camps on eight college campuses in California, then went national in 2013.
The Sunnyvale-Cupertino Branch AAUW, which includes Santa Clara women, pays $950 of the $1000 cost for each camper it sponsors and families pay the $50 balance. The AAUW funds the scholarships through cash donations and by collecting and selling used books. Sunnyvale-Cupertino Branch information: svcupt-ca.aauw.net.
“Platforms like this empower our daughters to realize their dreams. I want to thank the AAUW organization that has been relentlessly carrying such initiatives for past many years under Tech Trek,” said Punit Kamrah.
Suggested Interview Questions from National:
- Why do you think your teacher nominated you for a STEM camp?
- Do you think you would like to have a job someday that has to do with science, technology, engineering or math? If so, what would that be?
- When you are confronted with a new challenge at school do you tend to back away from it or do you jump right in?
- Do you help other kids in your class or school with their homework?
- How do you feel about staying on a college campus for a week? Have you ever been to a college campus? If so, what did you think about the campus?
- Have you attended any other summer camps? If so, tell me about experiences at other camps you’ve attended. What did you like or not like?
- Will you be attending any other camps this summer? (If student does not know, ask parent/guardian)
- Have you ever been away from your family for a week or more? How do you feel about spending a week away from home with other kids you don’t know?
- You will not be able to use your cell phone while at camp unless there is an emergency. Will this be a problem for you?
Additional Questions Provided by California Branches:
At this point interviewer should ask the student if she has any questions about the camp.
How did you learn about Tech Trek Science Camp?
Have you visited the Tech Trek website? What did you learn there?
What subjects do you like in school? What are you learning now in science and math?
Has anyone in your family ever attended college? If so, who? Do you think you will attend college?
What does your family do for fun?
Tell us about your family. Do you have brothers and sisters? Where were you born and where have you lived?
Please tell us about other activities that you participate in (sports, community, church). Have you received any honors?
Ask about their essay.
Why should we choose you?
Why do you want to go to camp?
You will have a roommate in the dorm. What do you think your roommate will be like? How can you make her more comfortable?
Do you like to study and do projects with a group? If so, what do you like about it?
What type of books do you usually read and why?
Tell us about any vacations or trips you have taken with your family?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Filed Under: Tech TrekTagged With: TechTrek