On Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4-H Afterschool students at Cochrane-Fountain City and Mondovi Community Youth Center students joined millions of young people across the nation to become scientists for the day during the tenth annual 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD). This annual event seeks to spark an early youth interest in science and future science careers, and to reclaim the nation’s position of leadership in scientific exploration.
In Buffalo County, 4-H members engaged in a science experiment that utilized the hydrogels inside diapers to learn about the potential environmental applications for such substances. The youth set a hypothesis and tested how much water a set of hydrogels could store.
“Our nation is falling behind other countries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” says Annie Lisowski, Buffalo County 4-H Youth Development Educator. “However, participation in high-quality positive youth development programs like 4-H NYSD offers youth and adults the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and work together to build the next generation of our nation’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”
To combat a national shortage of young people pursuing science college majors and occupations, and to enhance the nation’s contribution to the sciences, 4-H National Youth Science Day demonstrates that science, engineering, math and technology are fun and attainable options for college degrees and future careers. Currently, more than eight million young people across the nation participate in 4-H science, engineering, technology and applied math year-long programming.
Research has shown that participation in 4-H programs like 4-H NYSD makes a positive difference in the lives of youth. Youth development scholar, Dr. Richard Lerner, works with researchers at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University to conduct The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. The longitudinal study has found that, when compared to other youth, young people involved in 4-H are:
- Two times more likely to be more engaged in school;
- Two times more likely to plan to go to college;
- Three times more likely to make positive contributions to their communities; and,
- Nearly two times more likely to participate in science, engineering, or computer technology programs (STEM) learning programs during out-of-school time.
Overall, the study found that the advantages of 4-H participation include higher educational achievement and higher motivation for future education.
4-H’s robust, university research-based science curriculum, combined with new initiatives like 4-H National Youth Science Day, will arm young people with the necessary technical skills to help America maintain its competitive edge in the global marketplace.