Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) has a long history of presenting successful STEM-related programs. For almost 40 years, the university has presented summer camps, academies, and programs in the STEM. These programs include SWOSU’s Summer Science and Mathematics Academy – one of the longest-running high school summer academies in the state; OK-LSAMP (Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) in STEM disciplines program; and KESAM (K-8 Scholars Appreciating Mathematics). In addition, SWOSU is a member of the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium which provides scholarship funds for students in STEM disciplines.
The Weatherford branch of AAUW was established in 1935 and enjoys a particularly strong connection to SWOSU. This strong connection is due, in large part, to the composition of the branch’s membership and university’s support. The majority of Weatherford branch members are employees of SWOSU – ranging from the administration, to faculty members both within and outside the STEM disciplines, to staff employed in the SWOSU Foundation, public relations, office of sponsored programs, and various business offices.
Tech Trek is a week-long summer camp program being piloted across the United States by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The Tech Trek initiative was first launched in 1998 at Stanford University and led by Marie Wolbach of the AAUW Palo Alto (California) Branch. Since then, Tech Trek camps have expanded to eight college campuses across California and have served more than 11,000 girls.
In 2013, in response to the continuing need to expose girls to the STEM fields, AAUW expanded the successful Tech Trek Program to four pilot sites across the United States – the Weatherford branch in collaboration with Southwestern Oklahoma State University (“Tech Trek at SWOSU”) was chosen as one of those sites (along with Florida, Ohio, and Washington). In turn, they received $12,000 in start-up costs, a Tech Trek tool kit of ideas and training, and the directive to create an educational and inspirational program for young girls featuring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) activities unique to Western Oklahoma. This expanded to seven camps in 2014, to eleven in 2015 – including a second camp in Oklahoma, Tech Trek at Tulsa. In 2016, the original ten California camps joined the eleven pilot camps. The 2017 camp will mark the fifth year anniversary of Tech Trek at SWOSU!
Tech Trek is being conducted on the SWOSU campus in Weatherford from July 16-22, 2017.