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.