September 16, 2008

Diamond Bar Teen Gains New Appreciation for Science

By Maritza Velazquez

During her week at the Tech Trek Science Camp, Andrea Trejo learned that science is much more than wordy lessons from her textbook.

The eighth-grader found the value in science and that it may just be something she focuses her interests on in the future.

"I've never considered science to be one of the most interesting subjects until I went to Tech Trek," said Trejo, who attends Lorbeer Middle School in Diamond Bar.

"It's about experimenting and figuring more stuff out."

The Walnut-Diamond Bar Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) selected Trejo out of nine girls for a scholarship to attend the Tech Trek Science Camp for Girls.

The 13-year-old Pomona resident shared her summer camp experiences with members of the AAUW during a meeting in Diamond Bar on July 9.

"Andrea actually brought some samples of her experiments that she had done. She was just her charming self. She is a marvelous example of one of the girls (who applied)," said Melinda Murray, who has been a member of AAUW for six years.

Applicants were all recommended by math and science teachers in Diamond Bar and Walnut.

Following recommendations, the girls submitted essays about how science was important in their lives.

It was then that Trejo realized that it had made a huge impact on her own family.

"Science is important in my life because when my sister was 6, she got diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia," the bright teen said, adding that her younger sister is now fully recovered. "So if you know science, you get the chance to make a difference in people's lives."

Although her father had studied marine biology in college and had made a ritual of taking his family to study sea creatures, the camp opened her eyes to actually pursuing a degree in marine biology.

She said that she may even want to attend UCSD.

Tech Trek was founded in 1998, through an AAUW Educational Foundation Community Action Grant.

The middle school girls stay in dorms together at UCSD, participate in hands-on experiments and take daily field trips. They are also exposed to other activities, such as yoga.

According to Trejo, her favorite part was snorkeling at a cove in La Jolla beach.

"I've never seen really bright fish just swimming so close," she said excitedly.

While she had snorkeled before, she said she really enjoyed the clear water and vibrant fish that weren't scared to approach the girls.

For Gris Trejo, who encouraged her daughter to submit the essay, the camp reinforced ideals she had been stressing to her eldest daughter for years.

"I wanted her to do this because we've always told her 'you need to go to college,' but now she knows what college is, and what being in college means. It's not only an illusion or an idea (anymore)," she said.

According to Murray, the club hopes to be able to give more than just one girl the opportunity to attend Tech Trek next year.

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