Omnipresent Carol Holzgrafe

Mention the word “Tech” and Carol’s ears perk up. Add the work “Trek” and she is off and running.

Tech Trek! Words and actions spill from Carol Holzgrafe’s vast stores of energy.

For years Carol has put in countless hours on the Tech Trek STEM camp for middle school girls. In the process she has given hundreds of young girls the idea and the confidence for college, and beyond that, for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through these girls, now women, she has made a mark in history, as they have gone on to make history in the sciences.

All this energy arrived on earth on April 28, 1944, in Saint Louis, MO. She was raised thoroughly mid-western, culminating after high school with planned enrollment in the University of Missouri at Columbia. But during that summer she was invited to visit her aunt in Pasadena. When she disembarked from the train she stood on the platform, looked at the San Gabriels rising above, breathed in the cool air and suddenly became a Californian. She scrapped the UofM, to the dismay of her parents. It was too late to enter a four-year college in Southern California, so she enrolled in Citrus College in Glendora, eventually ending up at UC Santa Barbara majoring in English and minoring in music. Also making music at UCSB was Jim Holzgrafe. A spark ensued and the two have been married for 58 years.

The couple, eventually joined by twin daughters, Jill and Lauren, wandered the West from Fort Huachuca to San Diego (while Jim was in the Army) to Sunnyvale (where Carol joined AAUW in 1981), and finally in 1987 arrived in Morgan Hill. AAUW Morgan Hill and the town would never be the same.

Carol, Age 3

Carol & Jim’s Wedding

So here is a list: She took the reins as president (1995-1997) when the branch was struggling to survive and “woman-handled” it into success. She has served as newsletter editor, Public Policy chair, and Wildflower Run 10K tally and greeter. She was founding member of Evening Books in 1989 and co- founder of Rowdy Outings. She attended several AAUW CA conventions and two national ones, one San Diego, the other in Washington DC.

1994 WFR 10K tally coordinator

2004 Evening Books

2015 National Convention in San Diego

2017 National Convention in Washington DC

AAUW CA Named Gift Honoree

But most important is Carol's work with Tech Trek. She worked intimately with the founder of Tech Trek, Marie Wolbach. This is from her 2015 AAUW CA Named Gift Honoree statement:

“She began as a dorm mom in 2001, and she has taken Tech Trek to new heights: coordinating, speaking, fundraising and promoting Tech Trek all over the state. She has helped find and train directors, negotiated college contracts and interviewed campers. She has strengthened CA Tech Trek to the highly honored program we have today.”

Carol was dorm mom at the Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and Sonoma State camps; camp director at Stanford, UC Davis, and Sonoma; AAUW CA Tech Trek state project coordinator; and branch coordinator for Chico and Paradise branches (after she moved to that area).

She also assisted AAUW National start Tech Trek programs in other states.

Most recently, she was assistant planner for the newest camp at UC Santa Cruz.

Carol with 2007 campers at Stanford

Carol with Jean Pinard and Joanne Rife at the symphony

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Whew! Amidst all of this, she was an award-winning reporter for the Morgan Hill Times.

She also found time to travel: Road Scholar trips to New York, Isle Royale, Alaska, New Zealand, and Yellowstone in winter. (Italy is next in November.) With other branch members, often as a Rowdy Outer, she has been to the Netherlands, Portland, (Powell’s Bookstore), bookstore crawls all over the Bay Area, Angel Island, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other adventures.

She has maintained her love of music and has season tickets to Symphony San Jose, supports South Valley Symphony, and enjoys the Bear Valley Music Festival. The trumpet is still her favorite instrument.

Carol moved from Morgan Hill to Magalia (above Chico) in 2005, where she joined the Chico and Paradise AAUW branches and, of course, became president of each. Carol and Jim were evacuated from Magalia ahead of the fatal 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise. She, obviously, lived to tell the tale, and returns to Morgan Hill several times a year to participate in branch activities and to visit with her many friends here.

Whew, indeed.

By Joanne Rife

Carol – 1999

2024 – Happy 80th birthday!