Category Archives: Diversity

Here’s One Organization Bringing STEM to Both Rural and Urban Youth

Here’s One Organization Bringing STEM to Both Rural and Urban Youth

girlscoutsofamericaOver the past several years, school districts, educators, and the U.S. Department of Education have emphasized the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction. One particular area of interest has been increasing the diversity of people who pursue careers in STEM fields. As a result, many national youth organizations have begun emphasizing programs that bring STEM education to youth across the United States, including those from underrepresented groups. The Girl Scouts of America is one of these organizations, in its case bringing STEM education to girls. 4-H is another organization with a commitment to STEM education.

4-H is a national youth organization affiliated with cooperative extension offices around the country. These cooperative extension offices combine the resources of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 100 universities, and more than 3,000 county offices to reach out to youth through 4-H clubs. Founded more than 100 years ago, 4-H originally emphasized leadership and active learning for children in rural areas. While retaining these areas of focus, today the organization also works to bring STEM education to underrepresented youth, with a particular emphasis on both rural and urban areas.

4-H offers a variety of STEM programs that include activities in environmental science, alternative energy, robotics, rocketry, computer science, electrical engineering, agricultural science, veterinary science, biotechnology, animal husbandry, and forestry. These programs are offered through 4-H clubs for youth aged 8-18, with separate 4-H Cloverbud clubs for youth aged 5-7. However, 4-H also makes many of its programs available to the public through its website. Read on to learn about a few of these programs in more detail.

 

STEM Lab

STEM Lab offers a collection of activities designed to inspire an interest in science and experimentation. Activities include stringing LED lights and watch batteries into a light-up necklace, growing a bean plant in a bottle, building a robot capable of drawing abstract designs, making a foaming fountain, creating a battery out of fruit, constructing a windmill that can lift weights, and designing race cars and race car tracks. These activities are tailored to a variety of age groups, ranging from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and all emphasize active learning. 4-H and Cloverbud club leaders might introduce these activities during club meetings, or families are welcome to try them at home by accessing them on the 4-H website.

 

Tech Wizards

fourhtechwizardsTech Wizards is an afterschool 4-H club program for youth in grades 4-12. Originally started in Oregon, the program partners underserved youth with technology mentors from the local community. Mentors introduce 4-H members to tech-related skills and topics like website development, video and podcast production, GPS technology, and robotics. One key learning outcome of the program is applying high-tech skills to real-world situations. Youth participants thus give back to their communities by participating in technology-based service projects that fill a need in the local area.

In one project, 4-H Tech Wizards participants who had received tech mentoring provided assistance to older adults in the community who needed help learning how to use newer technologies like tablets and text messaging. Another service project created a mobile technology lab equipped with laptops, printers, digital cameras, and projectors to serve residents of a county where many lack access to these technologies.

 

Robotics

The 4-H robotics program is a partnership with National Geographic. Club members view videos about robotics engineering and participate in active learning activities. Using simple objects such as balloons, ping-pong balls, wooden chopsticks, binder clips, clothespins, craft sticks, and paper clips, youth build functioning robots. For those who are not 4-H members, a kit is available for purchase on the 4-H website. The main learning outcomes for the robotics program include teamwork, problem-solving, and creative thinking, which are all vital skills in the STEM workforce.

 

Youth Summits

For six years, 4-H has offered a National Youth Summit Series for high school students. These summits offer active learning opportunities and the chance to interact with leaders in a variety of fields. Three of the four summits offered during the 2018-19 school year focus on STEM disciplines. The Maker Summit focuses on innovation, experimentation, and creative building; the Agri-Science Summit focuses on agriculture, food security, and sustainability; and the Healthy Living Summit focuses on nutrition, physical fitness, wellness, and emotional health. Each summit lasts four days, takes place in Washington, DC, and features an evening tour of several national monuments and memorials.

 

National Youth Science Day

National Youth Science Day is in its 11th year of bringing STEM education to youth across the country. Taking place each October, the annual event features a different theme each year. Past themes have included water conservation with hydrogels, water quality, renewable energy in the form of wind power, robotics for environmental cleanup, rocketry, drone engineering, and wearable fitness trackers. In partnership with Google, this year’s theme is computer coding. Designed for youth aged 8-14, the event will feature both computer-based and low-tech activities. Outcomes include skills relevant to diverse STEM employment fields ranging from agriculture to technology.

How One Woman Is helping Girls of Color Learn about Technology

How One Woman Is helping Girls of Color Learn about Technology

A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the employment gender gap in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Presently, more men than women pursue and persist in careers in these areas. A similar employment gap in STEM fields exists for non-Asian minorities. For example, more whites and Asian minorities… Continue Reading

4 Inspiring Technology Leaders Who Beat the Odds to Find Success

4 Inspiring Technology Leaders Who Beat the Odds to Find Success

How can we encourage more diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM? The largest percentage of workers in these fields is made up of white males, but now, many companies are trying to achieve a more diverse workforce. One way to reach this goal is to highlight individuals… Continue Reading

You Need to Know about These STEM Programs for Native Americans

You Need to Know about These STEM Programs for Native Americans

It is an unfortunate reality that people from underserved communities are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. One minority group included in this underrepresentation is Native Americans. According to 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Native Americans and Alaska Natives comprise only .4% of the STEM workforce. While this statistic is troubling, programming exists around… Continue Reading

3 Successful Mathematicians Who Persevered Despite Hardship

3 Successful Mathematicians Who Persevered Despite Hardship

The workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) suffers from a shortage of women and non-Asian minorities. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, women are underrepresented in most STEM fields except for the health professions. Additionally, blacks make up only 9 percent of the STEM work force,… Continue Reading

Spotlight – You Need to Know about These STEM Programs at Art Museums

Spotlight – You Need to Know about These STEM Programs at Art Museums

When most people think about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), they don’t think about creativity. In fact, one of the most common myths about STEM education is that it doesn’t involve creativity. One reason for this misconception is that when people think about the typical characteristics of STEM subjects, they often think about following… Continue Reading

EHTP Benefit Gala Raises a Record $4 Million for Youth in Need

EHTP Benefit Gala Raises a Record $4 Million for Youth in Need

The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) hosted its 60th Anniversary Benefit on May 21, 2018, at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. The annual gala honors those involved in EHTP’s mission to raise college graduation rates among East Harlem’s youth. This year’s gala raised $4 million and drew 600 guests, which are both… Continue Reading

5 of the Best Ways to Become Involved with EHTP

5 of the Best Ways to Become Involved with EHTP

Since its inception in 1958, the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) has expanded from a small children’s reading group and tutoring program into an organization that has transformed the lives of children from across the East Harlem area. Led by the driving core values of service, courage, humility, originality, leadership, achievement, and reflection (SCHOLAR), the… Continue Reading

What Is the STEM Gender Gap, and What Can We Do About It?

What Is the STEM Gender Gap, and What Can We Do About It?

STEM fields are integral to the advancement of not only various industries, but also of society as a whole. Achievements in the areas of science, engineering, math, and technology enable us to solve challenges and lead lives that are safer, more efficient, and more convenient. Because of this, the pipeline of STEM scholars and professionals… Continue Reading

This Is How EHTP Prepares Scholars for Collegiate Success

This Is How EHTP Prepares Scholars for Collegiate Success

The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) is one of the Phillips Charitable Organization’s primary partners in the fight to expand educational opportunities for underserved youth. Since its humble beginnings as a children’s reading group held in the living room of a local Harlem resident, EHTP has helped students discover their best possible selves through education.… Continue Reading