Campus & Community

AAUW Florida to host girls STEM camp at Palm Beach State and FAU

The American Association of University Women – Florida will host a weeklong residential Tech Trek camp June 12-18 at Palm Beach State College’s Boca Raton campus and Florida Atlantic University for 60 of Florida’s rising eighth-grade girls.

The camp is uniquely designed to engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities that build their skills and interest in pursuing STEM careers. A longtime leader on issues related to women and girls in STEM, AAUW is working to expand opportunities for women and girls in these fields through advocacy, programming, and research.

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming response we received this year. Over 120 qualified girls applied for the 60 available places,’’ said Sue Slone, director of AAUW-FL’s 2016 Tech Trek camp. “Our aim is to provide a diverse and inclusive camp that is an enriching and rewarding experience for the girls regardless of their previous exposure to STEM. Girls will benefit from working side-by-side with their peers on interesting problems and from engaging with STEM faculty and professionals on subjects ranging from web animation and DNA/forensics to engineering.”

Among the 60 girls in attendance will be nine from Palm Beach County, including Cydnee McKeiver, Skyler Hancock, Allison Fleming, Hannah Accius, Susan Castro-Schell, Bridget Aman, Tess Aman, Jerivonna Pryor and Sarah Clein.  Both the North Palm Beach and Palm Beach branches of AAUW were instrumental in selecting the participants. The competitive selection process includes a teacher nomination, completed application and face-to-face interview.  Successful applicants’ packages are forwarded to AAUW-FL for final determination.

Slone said that three core courses have been designed for this camp: App Inventor sponsored by Verizon, Cyber Security sponsored by Symantec, and robotics sponsored by Florida Power and Light.  “We are fortunate to have the sponsorship of these companies and are encouraged that local business leaders and others support our efforts to increase the number of girls and women interested in a STEM career,” Slone said.

Tech Trek is a crucial program to prepare and empower the next generation of girls to go into these fields and increase the science and technology talent pool. Women in STEM benefit from highly stable, well-paying jobs while the STEM industry gains diverse perspectives from a deeper talent pool and more voices at the table.  Organizers say opening up more opportunities and supporting girls in STEM is a win-win for Florida and the U.S. economy.

Tech Trek was created by an AAUW California branch in 1998.  In 2013, Tech Trek was scaled up to a national AAUW effort with 21 camps, and since then, AAUW-FL has worked to ensure that Florida’s talented girls have an opportunity to be included in the program.

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