Urban 4-H STEM Clubs
Igniting youth interest in STEM while preparing them for higher education
Minnesota 4-H Youth Development provides leadership the Minnesota CYFAR Project, which is funded by CYFAR's Sustainable Communities Project (SCP) grant cycle. Led by principal investigator Jennifer Skuza and Extension educator Joanna Tzenis, this project supports Urban 4-H STEM Clubs which provide young people with opportunities to explore STEM topics, imagine their future in higher education and to set and achieve educational goals together with their peers, program leaders and parents or guardians.
The CYFAR SCP grant cycle aims to build long-term programs and partnerships with a five-year federal grant.
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
Many young people aspire to go to college, but there’s a gap between aspirations for higher education and actually enrolling. This is an important gap to address because lower levels of educational attainment are associated with higher levels of poverty.
Here are the numbers: In the U.S. in 2011, a higher percentage of young adults without a high school diploma (31 percent) were living in poverty than those who had completed high school (24 percent) and those who had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree (14 percent) (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). Read more.
To what extent does skill development matter for youth and their futures? What else do they need to follow their dreams in education?
In a past blog entry, I used the capabilities approach as a framework to understand the various conditions that may influence whether or not a youth may translate his or her STEM knowledge into a STEM career. I offered that scenario as an example, but this doesn't mean we expect all youth in STEM clubs to pursue STEM professions. If we measured the effectiveness of STEM programs by the number of engineers we produced, we'd be painting an incomplete picture. Read more.
See all Urban 4-H STEM Club blog posts
Urban 4-H STEM Clubs program design
Urban 4-H STEM Clubs are intended to ignite middle school aged youths’ interests in learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) while preparing them for higher education. In the clubs, youth solve practical and scientific engineering problems by learning how to ask questions, imagine solutions, plan things out, create new ideas, optimize designs and improve practices. Youth will also engage in a sequence of activities that equip them with the mindset and personal leadership skills needed to pursue higher education and careers. Throughout the program, youth develop a portfolio that captures their growth over time and present it at public showcase events.
Campus Immersion Program
Each summer youth participate in a University of Minnesota campus immersion where they learn about student life, explore academic interests, identify the steps toward college readiness, and meet faculty and students in STEM fields.
- Youth will exhibit growth in knowledge and interest around STEM subjects.
- Youth will demonstrate growth in critical thinking and decision making skills that form habits that can lead to educational and career success.
- Parents/guardians will engage with their children on setting and obtaining common education goals.
- Youth will demonstrate growth in technological literacy.
- Youth will create a personal plan for higher education and career development related to STEM subjects.
- The youth programs will be sustained by the community members and community organizational partners.
Northeast Middle School
Youth across Minnesota, from families who have been a part of Extension 4-H for generations to first-generation 4-H'ers, are engaging in 4-H in new and vibrant ways. Today, 4-H programs are as diverse as the interests of the youth they serve. More
Demonstrates, using program theory, how the previous round of CYFAR programs were sustained in their communities. More
Jennifer Skuza, PhD. 1-612-624-7798
Joanna Tzenis 1-612-625-9771