Four middle school girls were selected by the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to attend a Whittier Tech Trek Camp in 2020.
However, girls were unable to attend an in-person camp because of the Covid-19 pandemic and camps were canceled. The girls were finally able to attend a Virtual Tech Trek Camp on Zoom sponsored by AAUW CA in July of 2021.
The girls were also able to participate in the virtual robotics project, the 2021 Tech Trek STEMinists Can Change the World, which was sponsored by AAUW California and QualComm’s Thinkabit Lab.
Congratulations to our Tech Trek STEMinists, Julianna Castellon, Sophia Chicas, Sidney Lumsdaine, and Janelle Vargas! The girls are currently ninth graders in high school with Julianna attending Gahr High School in Cerritos, Sophia and Sidney at Kennedy High School in La Palma, and Janelle at Artesia High School in Artesia.
The girls, their families and La Palma-Cerritos AAUW branch members were welcomed to the meeting on September 9, 2021, at the La Palma Community Center by La Palma-Cerritos AAUW Program Co-VP Mary Ann Quinn. She invited everyone to enjoy an Ice Cream and Cookies Social before the girls became guest speakers for the night. Members and guests enjoyed cups of ice cream, packages of cookies, wrapped candies and bottles of water. Because of health concerns, members and guests wore masks that were removed for brief periods for taking pictures, individuals speaking, or eating snacks.
At 7:00 p.m., Celia Spitzer, branch Coordinator for STEM/ Tech Trek, introduced the four girls. The four girls did an excellent job of describing some of the workshops they attended and proudly displayed the robotics project they completed as part of the virtual camp. The girls also answered questions from members after their presentations.
Over 600 robotics kits were prepared by AAUW CA members and sent to branch Tech Trek Coordinators throughout California. It was amazing to see what the girls created with the materials that were sent to them!
When the girls completed all the requirements of attending required morning workshops and optional workshops in the afternoon and evening, they were eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion from AAUW CA. In addition, if they completed 15 hours of Arduino circuit design, coding in C++, use of the Engineering Design Process (EDP), and prototype construction, they received a Certificate of Achievement from Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab.
After the presentations by the girls were completed by 8:00 p.m., the girls posed for pictures with their families. They, and their parents, thanked the members of the AAUW for providing them with the opportunity to experience the Virtual STEM Tech Trek Camp on Zoom. The La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the AAUW hope that the girls will Change the World in the future as STEMinists!