4-H Informal Education to Increase STEM Knowledge and Career Development in Underrepresented Youth

By: Noelle Guay  

Palm Beach County 4-H Youth Development Program, in partnership with the University of Florida and Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, supports research, education/teaching, and extension projects that increase participation of underrepresented minorities from rural areas and youth with disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). These youth have been engaged through Palm Beach County 4-H after school clubs and have been partnered with caring, adult mentors including 4-H leaders as well as community partners, such as the Belle Glade Youth Empowerment Center, Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and related Disabilities, and two rural public schools. These clubs focus on hands-on STEM programming and projects in the areas of robotics, engineering, food science and agricultural science. Having the opportunity to participate in hands-on, educational STEM activities year-round led by 4-H staff and University of Florida faculty enable these youth the unique opportunity to explore career opportunities, lead community service activities, interact with youth and adults outside of their neighborhoods, and have fun while developing critical life skills that will help them become productive and engaged citizens in their communities, their country, and their world. The goal is to empower, prepare, and encourage youth to pursue education and careers in STEM to meet future challenges across the world and increase technological advancement in all science arenas.

Youth, Minorities, Disabilities, Science, Technology, Engineering, Education, Agriculture, Robotics, Mentoring
Ubiquitous Learning
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Noelle Guay

4-H Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development Program, University of Florida, United States
FL, United States

Noelle Guay is the 4-H Extension Agent and County Program Leader for the Palm Beach County 4-H Youth Development Program. Noelle has led the 4-H Program for 3 years and has a Master's Degree in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University. Noelle's passion is science and education and has focused on STEM and Healthy Living for the 4-H program in Palm Beach County. As a native Floridian, Noelle also works to engage youth and adults in local Citizen Science Projects and leads the local Palm Beach County Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Citizen Science Project with Florida Fish and Wildlife and SeaGrant.