Michael Robbins, Senior Advisor for Nonprofit Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, reflects on his visit to National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Students at the National 4-H Center testing wind turbine models
When many people hear “4-H” they think of kids competing at the county fair. In fact, 4-H is one the nation's most expansive community-based efforts focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. 4H implemented through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cooperative Extension System has programs in every state in the nation. More than five million young people across the nation participate in year-round 4-H STEM programming.
STEM education was front and center on October 5 when I joined dozens of students at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland for the fourth annual 4-H National Youth Service Day. This event was one of hundreds across the country where youth explored renewable energy production through Wired for Wind - the 2011 National Science Experiment.
I got to see 4-H youth designing, building and testing wind turbine models. I heard from them about how the experiment encouraged them to think like engineers, and to connect science to real-life challenges. They also linked the experiment to their own communities by using research data to determine the best location for a wind farm in their local area.
Jobs, innovation, and education are top priorities for the Obama administration, and it was great to see them front and center at 4-H National Youth Science Day. 4-H is a valuable national partner in helping America educate our way to a better economy.
Michael Robbins serves as the Senior Advisor for Nonprofit Partnerships, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education