Central Oregon Tech Trek Camp was held at OSU Cascades, as a way to inspire incoming 8th grade girls to pursue STEM fields as career choices. According to research, girls give up science and math in about 8th-9th grade, due to a number of factors, not the least of which is intimidation by the boys in their classes. Growing a network of STEM oriented girls for support, the premise is that girls will be more likely to continue in these fields into high school and college. The campers will continue their support group through a closed facebook group, and through the friendships they developed over the week-long camp.
The excitement of the group was awe inspiring! 36 Girls from middle schools including Jefferson, Warm Springs, Elton Gregory, Obsidian, La Pine, Pilot Butte, High Desert, Three Rivers, Culver, and Crook County attended the camp. Science and Math teachers at the schools nominated the girls, who were interviewed by sponsoring American Association of University Women (AAUW) members. The committee worked all year to make the camp a success. A number of local and statewide grants added to the success of the camp. Camp counselors were Interns from COCC, with camp experience, and numerous STEM professionals shared their experience in workshops and at the information night. Main sponsors were AAUW of Oregon and AAUW of Bend, partnering with OSU Cascades, and a number of local STEM related businesses and agencies. The group hopes to double the participation next year, and aims for 100 girls by 2019.