4-H Science and Tech Mentoring Program

For 4 years Ulster County 4-H has run a weekly STEM mentoring program, The Tech Wizards, for middle and high school youth designed to erase persistent gender and racial inequalities in STEM. By high school many girls and youth of color are already socialized away from these promising fields, so our program provides an important linkage to keep these communities interested in the opportunities high tech high schools could provide. Since beginning our mentoring programs 4 years ago, we have reached approximately 125 youth regularly in Kingston and Ellenville. Fifty-two percent of our Ellenville participants have been female and 46% identify as youth of color (Black, Latino or Asian American). We aim to provide a 4:1 Mentee to Mentor ratio. Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union’s support would be critical to continuing this effective, well-received program, with its enthusiastic youth participants, boys and girls alike.

We work with peer mentors to deliver this program in Ellenville and Kingston; this empowers high school age youth to serve as role models to younger peers and start to develop workforce skills such as time management, dependability and leadership skills and habits. We seek to engage young people in learning-by-doing; the hands-on method is fun, tangible and meaningful. Youth report back to us the power of such engagement. Examples of activities they have engaged in in the past and will engage in in the future, with your support include the following activities:

Computer Engineering: 4-H youth will learn computer engineering, including computer coding that enables youth to build websites and create new applications for phones;

Forestry: 4-H youth will learn about forestry, from tree identification, to logging, to conservation and survival and safety skills;

Technologies for Regional Planning: Teachers and youth play with drones to learn about important applications like surveying our local flood zones;

Urban Agriculture Innovations: 4-H youth took a field trip to the NYC Food and Finance Lab’s rooftop, hydroponics and aquaponics farms, to learn about creative ways to provide nutrition to communities.

3-D Printing Technology: In one past activity, our 4-H youth took a field trip to the Hudson Valley Manufacturing Center 3-D Printing Lab at SUNY New Paltz. As they learned about 3D printing, they carried out a project: they built a prosthetic hand, and then later learned about the young boy who benefited from using that hand.

Last updated February 15, 2019