BVU Hosts 42 Girls, 4 Local, at AAUW Tech Trek Camp

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Tech Trek attendees at BVU

STORM LAKE, IA (07/19/2017) (readMedia)-- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Storm Lake branch hosted their second week-long Tech Trek STEM camp at Buena Vista University (BVU) for 42 rising eighth-grade girls from throughout Iowa. Locals Tiahna Burton, Aaliyah Castaneda, Brennan Fay and Emily Nothwehr were among the attendees. Tech Trek is uniquely designed to show girls firsthand how exciting careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields can be.

"Thank you, Tech Trek at Buena Vista University and AAUW for a phenomenal week for our daughter," said Tammy Randall of Norwalk, whose daughter, Marin, attended the camp. "When we picked her up, she talked for two hours – nonstop – about everything she learned, the girls she met, the counselors, the teachers – all positive! Not only is this camp educational and super fun, they taught professionalism and etiquette to the teens. Tech Trek empowered our daughter, and with this boost in confidence in the STEM area and what she learned in life skills, the sky is the limit! I hope this program continues in the years to come for other young women to benefit and enjoy."

A longtime leader on issues related to women and girls in STEM, AAUW is working to expand opportunities for women and girls in these fields through advocacy, programming, and research.

"The faculty and staff of Buena Vista University, along with the Storm Lake community, eagerly welcomed these aspiring young scientists," said Dr. Melinda Coogan, Tech Trek Camp Director and professor of biology at BVU. "Along with STEM core classes and workshops, field trips, and lake activities, the girls took part in a Professional Women's Night where they had the opportunity to talk both as a group and one-on-one with each of the invited professionals who work in various fields of science."

This summer, AAUW held 21 Tech Trek camps across the country. Attendees pay only a nominal $50 fee due to generous donations from AAUW's supporters and the community, as well as sponsorships from corporations and industry stakeholders in developing practical, career-focused curricula.

Tech Trek was created in 1998 by an AAUW member in California, long before the shortage of women in STEM became part of the national dialogue. This successful program, which has served more than 11,000 girls in California alone, scaled up to a national AAUW effort in 2013. It continues to grow and spread to other communities across the country, including Storm Lake. Since 2013, only one camp per state is selected as the Tech Trek STEM site, following an extensive application process.

There is a strong demand for skilled STEM professionals. Tech Trek is a crucial program to prepare and empower the next generation of girls to go into these fields and increase the science and technology talent pool. Women in STEM benefit from highly stable, well-paying jobs while the STEM industry gains diverse perspectives from a deeper talent pool and more voices at the table. Opening up more opportunities and supporting girls in STEM is a win-win for the U.S. economy.

"Thank you to the AAUW Storm Lake Branch and Tech Trek Committee for the time and effort that went into preparations for this wonderful week of science and fun," added Coogan. "Tremendous appreciation also goes to our financial sponsors, Symantec Corporation, Meta Bank, Anemometry Specialists, Inc., Alliant Energy, ALLETE Clean Energy, The Monticello College Foundation, The Stine Foundation, the Frantz family, the Kaiser family, Dr. Alva Caldwell, numerous in-kind donations by Buena Vista University, and each of the following AAUW Iowa Branches: Pella, Des Moines, Ames, Loess Hills, Clarion, Denison, Keokuk, Algona, Decorah, Indianola, Palo Alto, and Storm Lake, without whom the 2017 AAUW Tech Trek Iowa STEM camp would not have been possible."

Photo details: Tech Trek attendees at BVU

About Buena Vista University

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. Our traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. Our 16 degree-completion locations, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. With an average scholarship of more than 50 percent off of tuition, BVU is an affordable option for all students. Visit

About AAUW

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 900 college and university partners. Since AAUW's founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day - educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at