AAUW Florida Tech Trek Camp continues despite the COVID pandemic!!!
The 2021 Tech Trek camp was a virtual camp held July 19-23 on a Zoom platform. Tech Trek FL engaged the services of Event Support (Olympia, WA) to manage the virtual platforms necessary to conduct a successful camp. A total of 94 students attended. It was a combination of students selected for both the 2020 camp (canceled due to the pandemic) and students selected in 2021.
With the cancelation of the 2020 camp, the campers selected to attend were given the opportunity to attend the 2021 virtual camp as 8th graders rising to 9th grade. Of the 98 campers selected to attend in 2020, 45 elected to attend the 2021 Virtual Camp. An additional 49 campers (7th graders rising to 8th grade) were selected by eleven branches to attend the 2021 camp.
All 94 campers, representing 20 branches from throughout Florida, spent an action-packed week engaged in all manner of STEM activities.
A few statistics:
- All campers receive $750 sponsorships to attend; families pay $25
- 55 % of campers were White, 11% African American, 16% Asian, 13% Hispanic and 6% were other.
- Five core classes (see below) Sixteen lab workshops (see below)
- Virtual field trips were offered to all campers on Friday (see below)
- Each day girls attended Professional Women’s Panels featuring women from across the country who work in various STEM areas (see below)
- Our major sponsors this year were Stetson University, Qualcomm:Wireless Technology and Innovations, and NextEra Energy.
CORE CLASSES – Campers attended one core class for 2 hours each day at the camp. Campers selected their core courses on a first come, first served basis. 2021 campers attended the morning sessions and 2020 campers participated in the afternoon classes, except for Computer Science which was a morning only class.
Computer Science Discoveries: Work with various programs and learn about the computer and what resources it provides for discovery. Instructor: Ashley Woodard who is currently teaching in St. Johns County Schools. (Monday-Thursday)
Qualcomm Wearable Tech: Step-by-step instructions for setting up a microcontroller and how to use a breadboard • Hands-on coding and engineering challenges • Learn how to build an LED circuit, get it to blink and send Morse code, using a microcontroller power source • Connect a Servo motor and write code to control the motion Instructors: Tamara Payne, Taneshia Williamson and Amanda Ellis who are currently teaching in Volusia County Public Schools. (Monday-Friday)
Marine Mysteries: The class will expose you to a broad variety of topics including the general biology, anatomy and physiology of oceanic fauna ranging from tiny plankton to sharks, sea turtles and dolphins. Class will include information about career options in marine science. Hands on experiences provided. (Monday-Thursday) Instructors: Dr. Danielle Ingle who is a Post Doc Research Associate at Texas A & M University at Galveston, Dr. Jamie Knaub from Florida Atlantic University and Aubrey Clark who is a Graduate Research Assistant at Florida Atlantic University. (Monday-Thursday)
Structural Engineering: Use the engineering design process to build a tower that can withstand as much weight as possible. Campers will design 2-D blueprints which will be used to build a 3-D tower out of balsa wood. The strength of the tower will be dependent on balancing tension and compression forces. Participants will be amazed with their ability to build a tower with such strength using lightweight wood. Throughout the process, the engineers will learn proper measurement techniques, the science of engineering, and self-confidence. Instructor: Cheryl Huey who is currently a teacher in Palm Beach County Schools. (Monday- Friday)
Neuroscience: Learn basic science of the anatomy and function of the brain and nervous system. Hands on experiences including VR experiences are involved. Instructors: Dr. Nicole Baganz and Dr. Chelsea Bennice who are working in FAU’s Brain Institute’s ASCEND Program. (Monday-Thursday)
WORKSHOPS: A total of 16 labs workshops were offered the students. Tech Trek teachers presented a 90-minute lessons. Each camper selected one workshop each day. 2020 and 2021 campers were mixed for these sessions. Sessions were limited to 25 campers each session.
Flip Grid Fun in Action: Traci Jones— Learn how to use this great online video discussion tool to create personalized videos of your Tech Trek experience. Videos can be recorded as many times as needed before uploading, and can have the addition of emojis, text, stickers, and drawings. Time to create videos to share with your sponsors and supporters who made this week possible for YOU! Offered Monday and Wednesday.
DNA: Dr. Becky Mercer—Explore your own DNA and how DNA is used by scientists today. Offered Monday and Tuesday.
The Brain and Learning: Cheryl Huey— Every person’s brain is unique, making them special. Are you logical and mathematical or creative and artistic? Do you prefer to learn through auditory, visual, or hands-on activities? This course is designed to study the science of learning. Campers will explore their inherent strengths with the goal of learning how to overcome their weaknesses. Join us as we explore our brains through fun and engaging activities.
Exercise Science and Group Fitness: Harlee Goodfriend— Girls will learn the difference between cardiovascular, muscle endurance, strength and flexibility training. Opportunity to apply the information by taking a hybrid style, multi-level, group exercise class, combining cardio dance, zumba, barre and vertical pilates. Offered Monday and Thursday.
My Place in Space: Jennifer Hamilton—How big is the solar system? What do constellations really look like? What is my place in space? We will look at scale models of the solar system, discuss if astrology really works, and understand how the stars are positioned. Offered Tuesday and Thursday.
Bullet Journal: Leslie Grossman— Learn simple techniques that will help you organize all the important things in life. Regardless of who you are, where you are, your age or even your profession… You WILL learn to make the most of your day/week/month using these tips.
Chemistry Lab at Home: Jackie Foti– -Campers will take part in various chemistry experiments at home. Do the experiment and learn why it happens. Offered Tuesday and Wednesday.
Rube Goldbergs Galore!: Kelly Homa— Girls will review and utilize the sciences that make a Rube Goldberg machine work. They use a complicated series of actions to simply move an object from one place to another. Combine these concepts to create a machine to complete a simple task using laws of physics and energy for a whole lotta fun!!
Stop We’re Animating: Ashley Woodard– -Girls will be introduced to the basic skills required for creating Stop Animation Movies. They will then develop a script, storyboard, characters, and setting for a 30 second public service announcement. Girls will produce their own animations.
Hurricane Heroes: Kristin Hanshaw— Attention heroes, Florida is in need of some super scientists and engineers. Your mission? Design a protective barrier to help fend off storm surges and protect our beautiful home.
Astrophysics: Dr. Mel Nynka— Learn what it takes to build a satellite from the ground up from a working astrophysicist.
FIELD TRIPS: With a virtual camp, virtual field trips were in order for 2021. Campers chose from the field trips offered based upon their core course schedule.
- Environmental Resource Management Palm Beach County–GPS and mapping (unlimited Participants)
- Adventures at the South Florida Science Center: Brain in Action & Chemistry Concoctions. (25 Participants)
- Toyota Teen Drive 365 On Demand: The Engineering Behind Safety (25 Participants) Offered twice
- Loggerhead MarineLife Center (25 Participants)
- NextEra Energy Solar and Wind Power Field Trip (25 Participants)
- Brookhaven Lab: Accelerator Science Program explores charged particles and nuclear acceleration (25 Participants)
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S PANEL: Moderated by Pat Ross
Monday through Thursday all campers and staff were invited to attend a virtual professional women’s panel moderated by Pat Ross. Women from across the country were able to participate since the sessions were virtual. Campers were encouraged to ask questions. On Friday two guest speakers from Qualcomm spoke to the camp.
- Dr. Marianne Porter – marine biologist FAU
- Dr. Ilaria Drago – researcher Max Planck
- Dr. Jill Barabas – Hoof & Horn Veterinary ( large animals)
- Dr. Melania Nynka—Research Scientist, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space and Science
- Dr. Andrea Levin—Pharmacy Professor at Nova Southeastern University
- Tuesday: Women in Technology
- Daksha Chokshi – Aerojet Rocketdyne
- Rachel Weeks—Systems Test Engineer, United Launch Alliance
- Savannah Bell—Sr. Software Engineer, Medtronic (robotic surgery)
- Melissa Zhdankin–Electromagnetic Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
- Wednesday: Women in Engineering
- Lourdes Avellano – Aerojet Rocketdyne
- Marina Santarpia – Aerojet Rocketdyne
- Christina Yero– Civil Engineer, Design and Construction Engineering and Inspection for Roads and Bridges.
- Diana Rivera–Civil Engineer in water and wastewater engineering; specifically water chemistry
- Thursday: Women in Mathematics
- Laryssa Ryback—Market Risk Management
- Corrinne Clarke—statistician Oncology Program Manager
- Kate Ballard– statistician at NASA Langley
- Jamie Wingfield—Ameriprise Finance Advisor
- Friday: Women from Qualcomm – Luna Hu and Lily Yip
FUNDRAISING: Under the guidance of Fundraising Coordinator Sally Bailey AAUW FL Supporting Foundation, Inc. has raised the funds to provide Tech Trek Camp each year since 2013. Funds have come from branches, individuals (members and non-members), businesses and corporations, community and family foundations.. AAUW FL Supporting Foundation, Inc received a $2000 grant from AAUW in 2021 to assist with technical support for the virtual camp. They also received a grant for $10,000 from Stetson University which was used to pay for supplies. NextEra Energy provided the field trip and solar energy rover constructed by the campers free of charge for Tech Trek. Qualcomm provided their Thinkabit Lab training and some supplies for the Wearable Tech workshop as well as $5000 from AAUW FL. The AAUW FL Supporting Foundation, Inc. greatly appreciates all suport for Tech Trek Camp.