2017 Tech Trek attendees

2017 Tech Trek attendees

April 30, 2018

Buena Vista University has been selected to host the only Tech Trek camp in Iowa this summer on June 24-30. 

This year, more than 30 seventh grade girls will take part in Tech Trek – an engaging one-week summer camp featuring hands-on science and technology classes, a fun and educational field trip, opportunities to meet inspiring women role models, and a unique college campus experience at BVU. It is a program of the American Association of University Women to help encourage girls to pursue careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. 

“There aren’t currently enough opportunities for young girls to be exposed to science and math-related fields,” said Stephanie Wilhelm, associate chief information officer at BVU and assistant director for the Storm Lake Tech Trek. “The Tech Trek camp serves as a chance to encourage girls at a young age to pursue an education and career opportunities in fields that have been traditionally underrepresented by women.” 

Studies have shown that girls initially interested in STEM fields tend not to pursue them after early adolescence. Yet there is a growing demand for jobs in those male-dominated fields, and the United States has a shortfall of qualified graduates to fill them. 

“The Tech Trek camp serves as a chance to encourage girls at a young age to pursue an education and career opportunities in fields that have been traditionally underrepresented by women.”

Stephanie Wilhelm

This year’s Tech Trek attendees will take part in a variety of activities, including field trips to Allete Clean Energy Wind Farm and Buena Vista County Conservation Park, exploring and utilizing Storm Lake, team activities such as canoeing, soccer and volleyball, and being introduced to local women professionals. Classes will also be held throughout the week, including a cyber security hacking class, an app creation class, and an alternative energy workshop. 

“Tech Trek immerses camp participants in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about their future in a different light,” said Tracy Thomas, assistant professor of psychology at BVU and student and family coordinator for the Storm Lake Tech Trek. “Our ultimate hope is that the girls walk away from the camp with a newfound sense of self confidence and discovery.” 

AAUW will hold over 20 Tech Trek camps across the country this year alone. The students, who will be entering eighth grade in the fall, must be nominated by their science or math teachers, and complete an application process. 

Attendees pay only a minimal fee, with other costs covered by donations from AAUW’s supporters and the community, as well as sponsorships from corporations and industry stakeholders. 

For more questions or for additional information, contact Wilhelm at 712.749.2387 or techtrekia@gmail.com.

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