AAUW Tech Trekkers return

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Ten eighth-grade girls, better known as the 2012 Auburn American Association of University Women Tech Trek winners, spoke at the annual Auburn AAUW Kickoff Luncheon on Saturday, Sept. 8.

“My favorite thing was meeting all the professional women,” one trekker told the group.

“I liked all the hands-on experience and learning without worrying about grades,” a second speaker added.

The girls demonstrated and displayed the models and information they learned during the week-long summer camp.

Tech Trek is a summer program put on by AAUW. The camp focuses on providing girls entering the eighth grade an opportunity to explore the STEM courses of science, technology, engineering/environment and math.

“We got to see UC Davis scientists at work in their labs and do projects with them,” another young speaker told the group.

Also in attendance was Danie Whittington, a 2009 Tech Trek student who returned to work as a junior counselor this year.

“I got a whole new perspective on how much work goes into putting the camp together,” she said. “You don’t realize that when you are a student.”

Each of the students picked one of four core curriculums: engineering, 3D math, genetics or wildlife ecology. All the girls participated in additional activities that included “Financial Night.” The students were given a salary and had to purchase a house, car, food and insurance by making financial choices. During “Professional Women’s Evening,” community leaders and professional women provided small group conversation and information about career decisions. Robotics teams designed a working robot and programmed it to do specific tasks.

In order to be chosen to attend Tech Trek, seventh-grade girls are nominated by their science and/or math teachers. Applications with essays and interviews are necessary to complete the sponsorship process. Students or teachers interested in more information about the 2013 Tech Trek should visit or email Carol Waechter, Auburn Tech Trek coordinator, at