Last week we celebrated the tenth anniversary of TechTest at its traditional Survivors’ Breakfast held each spring at Tofanelli’s in Grass Valley. TechTest is a four-hour merit scholarship examination, sponsored by the Sierra Economics and Science Foundation, used to award cash prizes to Nevada County seniors headed for STEM careers. The awards are based solely on the examinees’ test scores. Qualified juniors are invited to take the test, usually given in March, for practice. More information is available on www.sesfoundation.org where you can also examine copies of all past exams.
TechTest is administered and scored under the supervision of its academic committee which in the past was chaired by Mr John McDaniel, former award-winning physics teacher at Nevada Union High School. Last year Mr McDaniel left teaching for a career in software engineering, and the administration of the test this year was assumed by the Nevada Union Joint High School District under the leadership of Superintendent Dr Louise Johnson. The NUJHD scholarship chairman, Ms Barbara Ross, is the new TT academic chair. The photo collage is from the breakfast showing the three high scorers who attended (several had conflicts in taking other tests and visiting college open houses). All attendees received their coveted TT Survivors t-shirts.
Several years back SESF was asked to also start TechTestJr for eighth graders. This year marks TTJr’s fourth year. It will be given on 19 May at the Telestream facility. Telestream is one of the community sponsors of the TechTests. Plans are afoot to develop yet an earlier version of TTJr for students in the early grades. Mr David Pistone, SESF board member, is the developer of TTJr and coordinates its administration with the various participating middle schools. (My role has been as the author and SESF coordinator of TechTest, and I also conduct the January/February TT seminars which test takers may attend before tackling the test itself.)
The students’ response to SESF’s annual merit scholarship tests over the years has been heartening, and all of us involved with this project to promote young people’s interest in STEM careers are grateful to our county’s schools and teachers for preparing their ‘elite to compete’.