West Virginia University Extension Service’s 4-H program, with the support of a $10,000 donation, will become even more wired and wonderful during a HughesNet Tech Takeover Day.

The event will take place Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at WVU Jackson’s Mill, allowing hundreds of 4-H’ers the opportunity to participate in activities that educate about science topics and teach important life skills like leadership and teamwork.

STEM LogoThe funding, courtesy of HughesNet, provides increased science, technology, engineering and math related activities and curriculum during two weeks of Alpha I and Alpha II 4-H Camps. July 8 serves as the official day of recognition of the sponsorship.

“The use of STEM education in camp curriculum can impact youths beyond a day or week of learning.  A camper’s spark of interest in science or math at camp can continue into college, which leads to science and math majors and career paths,” explained Jen Robertson-Honecker, WVU Extension Service STEM Specialist. “Giving them the opportunity to experience science firsthand is sometimes all it takes to change their whole perception.”

Throughout the day, campers will participate in hands-on activities in aerial robotics and engineering design. There will also be opportunities to fly unmanned drones that take aerial pictures of the WVU Jackson’s Mill campus and learning about how robots are designed and programmed.

Other activities include underwater robotics competitions and chemistry-related activities like measuring pH and dissolved oxygen content in local streams and ponds and plotting the data using Google Earth.

“Our 4-H camp activities are very relevant to many popular, emerging tech areas like ‘green’ technologies and innovative, engineering design found in solar-powered cars and in the aerospace industry,” said Robertson-Honecker. “The increased funding for STEM related activities and learning allows youths to get a firsthand look at new technology and learn how it works by way of a fun, educational camp environment.”

Statistics from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology show that science, technology, engineering and math education and careers are falling short in the United States. Tech Takeover Day allows youths to get involved and become inspired by science. This is what encouraged HughesNet and the National 4-H Council to offer this opportunity.

The HughesNet Tech Takeover Day is a the result of a national voting contest in which current 4-H’ers and 4-H alumni voted for West Virginia’s 4-H program to be awarded funding for the Tech Takeover Day.

“We have a lot of fun, science related activities and educational sessions planned for week-long 4-H camps, and for the day of the event,” remarked Robertson-Honecker.

In addition to providing Tech Takeover Days across the country, the partnership between HughesNet and the National 4-H Council also supports science education at a variety of local and national events. The joint sponsorship has a focus on small towns and communities where STEM related education and resources are limited.

For 100 years, WVU Extension Service has helped make the lives of young people better through 4-H youth development programs. WVU Extension Service, as part of WVU and its land-grant mission, continues to provide educational opportunities that allow for the growth and development of youths in all 55 counties of West Virginia.

To learn more about 4-H’s STEM program and camps, visit 4-hyd.ext.wvu.edu/stem.