From the Long Beach Grunion Gazette (January 23, 2023):

Long Beach nonprofit celebrates 25 years of inspiring young girls to go into STEM
American Association of University Women organize, support
Tech Trek summer camp at college campuses.

Twenty-five years ago, the Long Beach branch of the American Association of University Women decided to address the lack of women in STEM careers by introducing middle school girls to the possibilities.

That decision became reality with Tech Trek, a weeklong summer stay at one of three colleges for middle school girls. Since the program began, AAUW Long Beach has sponsored 96 Long Beach Unified School District students in the program, according to the organization’s publicity chair, Jane Hansen.

At the group’s first meeting of the year, on Jan. 7, nine former Tech Trek campers formed a panel to talk about their experiences to kick off the 25th anniversary year. The students attended camp at UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara or Whittier College, and during their talk, they highlighted a boat trip to observe dolphins, workshops about careers in STEM — science, technology, engineering, match — and living in a college dorm for a week.

“We’ve learned that some students attending Tech Trek have been inspired by their exposure to STEM careers,” said AAUW Long Beach President Denise Montoya, “and are considering applying to the LBUSD Sato Academy of Mathematics and Science in the future.”

Students are nominated by science teachers to participate in Tech Trek.

In Long Beach, Susan Garcia, science teacher at Colin Powell Academy, and William Feliciano, math teacher at Hamilton Middle School, have nominated dozens of campers over the years, Hansen said.

After students are nominated, they write a two-page essay and are interviewed by the AAUW Tech Trek committee before selections are made.

While the Long Beach AAUW is not the only Tech Trek supporter, the program was founded in 1998 with startup funds from an AAUW Educational Foundation Community Action Grant. Tech Trek is at the top of the list of current projects on the Long Beach AAUW website.

The Jan. 7 meeting was the group’s annual fundraiser for the Tech Trek program, and more donations are needed this year — the camp price has increased from $250 to $300 a camper. The total cost at the campuses is $1,150 to $1,200.

July 18, 2022

Long Beach Grunion Gazette Letter to the Editor
FROM:​Denise Montoya, Co-President
RE:​​Title IX and AAUW

In reflecting on Mike Guardabascio’s article, “Long Beach helped Title IX, women’s sports become reality”, I’d like to add that the American Association of University Women (AAUW) had “skin in the game” in getting this landmark legislation passed in 1972. AAUW after the end of WWII spent two decades surveying college and university campuses. Documentation found that by the late 1960’s most schools had practiced “widespread discrimination against women at all levels of higher education from students to trustees”. (National AAUW website)

In 1970, 250 colleges faced charges of sex discrimination. AAUW made national news by distributing guidelines to the presidents of all four-year colleges in the US, titled “AAUW’s Standards for Women in Higher Education: Affirmative Policy in Achieving Sex Equality in the Academic Community”. This and a groundswell of gender equity activism across the nation, resulted in Title IX’s passage on June 23, 1972.

It’s a federal civil rights law prohibiting gender-based discrimination in any school or educational program receiving federal funding. Title IX has created opportunities and protections for women and men, girls and boys, students, staff, and trustees in for-profit schools, charter schools, libraries and museums as well.

In addition to preventing discrimination in athletics, Title IX affects all areas of education including STEM, career and technical education, sexual harassment and assault, sexual harassment based on gender identity, recruitment, admissions and housing; pregnant, parenting and/or married students, comparable facilities and access to course offerings, financial assistance, student health services and insurance benefits, and career and technical education.

June 24, 2022
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