“Thank you” was the phrase heard most often from four girls during the Lodi American Association of University Women kick-off lunch, held on Aug. 20. The girls had been sponsored by the group to attend Tech Trek science/math summer camp at California State University, Fresno.
Two of the students, Berkley Anderson and Alyssa Patino, attend Elkhorn School, and Michelle Anselmo and Alexis Mommsen attend Ben Holt. All went through an application process in order to be selected for the camp. Each year a different middle school is chosen by random drawing. The number of students selected is only dependent on the funds available through Lodi AAUW.
The girls spend a week at the camp, where they live in dormitories on the Fresno campus with a roommate from another part of California, with whom they often become lifelong friends. They attend some required classes and choose from several others that interest them. They also participate in many activities ranging from canoeing to art, which are fun yet are tied into scientific or mathematical principles.
In addition to gratitude for being able to participate in the experience, all four girls mentioned how each felt they had learned so much about themselves and how their plans for the future had been affected in ways they never expected.
Lodi AAUW Tech Trek program chair, Melinda Vargo, noted that parental support is a significant factor in the girls’ success. Vargo is a teacher at Teachers College of San Joaquin and an IMPACT supervisor.