For more than 20 years, the American Association of University Women has sponsored Tech Trek, a one-week Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) camp, held at one of several universities in California. And each year, the Tehachapi Mountain Branch raises funds to send local girls to one of the camps. Like so many other events, this summer’s camps were canceled due to the COVID19 pandemic. We learned the news shortly after the girls had been nominated, but before the interview process was to have begun.

Nominated for Tech Trek by their seventh-grade science teachers at Jacobsen Middle School were: Johnnie Battistessa, Delilah Cardenas, Emma Gonzales, Bettie Howard, Sydnee Liebman, Annie Loken, Jade Lopez and Amelia Webb. This special group of eight girls was described as excellent students, original thinkers, problem solvers in the classroom, and much more.

They had completed their applications, which included an essay on how they would use math or science to make the world a better place. These exceptional students showed both creativity and the desire to learn more. All of them expressed excitement about possible careers in STEM.

Despite not having the opportunity to explore further in a Tech Trek 2020 camp experience, AAUW is confident these young women will pursue their many interests to the fullest, and be valuable contributors to a better future. As a token of recognition and encouragement, each of the girls received a certificate, as well as a $50 check from our local AAUW Branch.

We want to congratulate these girls, and also to thank all of the members and groups for their support and encouragement. Sponsors include BHE Renewables, AST, Scaled Composites, Tehachapi Community Theater, Tehachapi Masonic Lodge, Tammy Engel and Laurie Betts. Monies raised this year will be rolled over into funding for next year’s camps.

We would also like to thank the JMS teachers who have been instrumental in helping with the selection process. They are Ms. Hubbard, Ms. Geber and Ms. Barnes.

Membership in AAUW is open to both men and women, with a two-year or higher college degree. For more information, please contact Joanne Beckett at 972-6508.

Linda Flores is the Tech Trek coordinator for the Tehachapi Mountain Branch of AAUW.