Two local students, Alejandra Vargas and Natalia Zamora, recently returned from Tech Trek Science Camp for Girls.

The summer program for girls entering eighth grade, is sponsored by the American Association of University Women of California (AAUW-CA).

To help the local girls attend the camp, AAUW’s Lompoc/Vandenberg Branch raises funds each year by selling churros at the Lompoc Valley Flower Festival.

The camp lets students preview college life while learning that math and science can be fun. They lived on the campus of the UCSB for a week while attending classes taught by credentialed teachers featuring hands-on experiments. Women who are professionals in the fields of math, science and technology were guest presenters.

One activity included placing the girls in cooperative groups to solve a real life problem: What should be done with Platform Holly when it shuts down oil production?

Teachers nominated students to attend the camp and the local branch of AAUW provided funding for the students in addition to selecting the “campers.”

The first Tech Trek was held at Stanford University in 1998, with initial funding from the AAUW Educational Foundation. This year, 10 camps took place at University of California campuses in Santa Barbara, Irvine and San Diego, California State University campuses in Fresno and Sonoma, Stanford University and Whittier College.

Tech Trek is continuing proof that AAUW puts its mission — to support equity and education for all women and girls — into action, club members noted.

To support programs like Tech Trek or to learn more about the American Association of University Women, contact Tech Trek Coordinator Wynn Clevenger, email

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