Last week the American Association of University Women of New Mexico sponsored Tech Trek on the New Mexico Tech campus. It was one week that introduced middle school girls from across the state to science and different STEM fields.
At Tech Trek, girls were immersed in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer specialists.
This one-week STEM camp for rising eighth-grade girls included activities like building and programming robots, extracting their own DNA, learning how computer simulations are used to predict weather patterns, and much more.
“We had women demonstrating science that they could do, and might be intimidated about because they think only men do that,” AAUW’s Cheri Burch said. “Hopefully they see people here, so many women doing things that they may say, ‘hey, I want to do that.’”
A total of 65 girls from all over New Mexico attended.
“They’re from 54 different schools,” she said. “That’s our goal, to reach out to girls from all over the state, so we try to get girls from all the rural areas. They learn so many new things, that is what’s so impressive.”
Three Socorro County students – Jora Gardner from Cottonwood Valley Charter School, Alyssa Hernandez from Sarracino Middle School, and Samantha Hass from Magdalena Middle School –attended.
Activities included a demonstration at EMRTC, a geology field trip, a visit to Sevilleta.
On the Tech campus, girls take Core Classes, including robotics, forensics, Gear Girls (making mechanical toys), and star life cycles.
According to organizers, Tech Trek has been shown to significantly increase girls’ self-confidence and their interest in and excitement about the STEM fields.
In order to attend, girls were nominated by first by a science teacher or math teacher, and then a written essay had to be submitted. Out of 220 nominated, only 65 were selected.
This is the fifth year New Mexico Tech has hosted Tech Trek.