The Tech Trek program held at Stockton University has thrived in New Jersey until 2020. The Covid-19 Pandemic sidelined the 2020 program and the chosen students from all 21 counties were unable to attend on campus. In 2021, a virtual camp was held with over 40 girls with the girls that had been accepted in the 2020 program.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Atlantic County and Cape May County Branch members organized and made possible this summer a version of the Tech Trek program under a new name: STEMinist Camp. The Camp was held July 24 – 30, divided into two parts with a total of thirty-five girls in attendance.
July 24 – 26 The Camp hosted “Tech-Trek Alumni” from 2018 – 2019. twenty girls attended.
July 27 – 30 The alumni campers welcomed fifteen girls who were originally chosen for the summer of 2020. It was the first time these girls were on campus, They are now rising high school sophomores, who participated virtually last summer.
The girls days were filled with a wide variety of classes and activities, all related to STEM subjects, including instruction in chemistry, bio-labs, robotics, and e-sports, where Stockton’s national finalist team practices for tournaments. They visited Stockton’s outdoor classroom where they learned how scientists harvested sap from Stockton’s grove of maple trees, which they then processed into maple syrup. They also assisted Stockton staff in harvesting vegetables from the on-campus sustainable farm for delivery to the Smithville Farmer’s Market.
Camp Director Ann Marchesani, was eager to welcome the girls to the campus, where they studied while living in Stockton’s dorms. She stated “At Tech-Trek and this year at STEMinist Camp, girls are immersed in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer specialists. They have an opportunity to meet women leaders in science, technology, engineering and math – role models with paths they can follow,” Ann Marchesani has directed the program since its inception, along with Dr. Claudine Keenan, Dean of Education at Stockton University.