It’s Fall again, that time of year when summer vacations give way to returning to work, returning to school, getting back into the routine of the “working season”, fall thru spring. It’s the time when Branches come back together to see old friends, greet new prospective members, plan meetings and events, and meet our Tech Trek students.
This year we were so pleased to be able to send 7 young ladies to the Tech Trek Camp held at UCSB in Goleta, CA. Four of the girls were able to come and share the highlights of their week at camp, filled with a new desire to return to school and learn more about their chosen interests.
The article below was submitted to the Santa Maria Times by Ann, our Tech Trek Chairperson.
Seven local seventh-grade girls were recently awarded full scholarships from the American Association of University Women — Santa Maria Branch to attend Tech Trek this month at UCSB.
This year’s winners are Julisa Sedano and Jasmin Herrera Ramos, from El Camino Junior High School, and Jessica Rodriguez, Brynley Ellsworth, Elizabeth Pantoja, Hayley Rodriguez and Ximena Rojas, from Fesler Junior High School.
Tech Trek is a weeklong, all expenses paid, science and math camp designed to develop interest, excitement,and self-confidence in young women who will enter eighth grade in the fall. It features hands-on activities in math, science and related fields.
The students were nominated by their math and science teachers and interviewed by an AAUW-SM committee. For Tech Trek, the Santa Maria Branch of AAUW targets the underserved population of the local community, particularly those young women who will be the first in their family to attend college. It is believed that a one-week residence experience on a college campus will increase the likelihood that these young women will pursue higher education.
We also support a Scholarship Program with Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria, CA. This year we were able to donate enough for 3 Scholarships. Our only requirements for our recipients is that they be a woman re-entering the workforce and those with special needs. We want to give a woman a helping hand to return to fulfilling her opportunities in this world. Each of our recipients sent a Thank You letter, which our President read aloud, and one recipient, Cassandra Camargo, was able to attend our meeting to say Thank You in person. In addition to the Scholarship we also give them a one year membership in AAUW in our Branch.
After all the business is tended to, after all the students and guests are introduced, we share information about the plans for the upcoming year, meetings, events, interest groups, and any additional information requested. We are excited to be presenting a beginning class of the Start Smart Program, where women can learn negotiating skills, career field information, and self-worth and value. This is an AAUW sponsored program. It is exciting to begin a year that will be filled with growth and creativity.