WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, thousands of youth across the nation will participate in 4-H National Youth Science Day (4-H NYSD), the world's largest youth-led science challenge. Cornell University developed this year's challenge, Drone Discovery, which will have kids learning about unmanned flight and drones through three hands-on activities. More than 100,000 youth are expected to participate at hundreds of local events in all 50 states.
Television host and STEM advocate Kari Bryon will co-host the flagship 4-H NYSD event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of D.C., Maryland and Virginia-area youth will gather to complete the challenge. Brett Velicovich, U.S. Army veteran and renowned drone expert, will deliver a keynote address about the future of drones and give a demonstration on drone technology. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith will give an address encouraging youth around the country to pursue STEM education and use these tools to collaborate on solving local and national challenges.
"Programs like 4-H NYSD and Drone Discovery are important because they empower students through active, hands-on STEM learning and real-world problem-solving," said Megan Smith. "Research shows that many more students engage when teachers use active STEM methods. Continuing U.S. leadership in STEM depends on effectively engaging our youth, which is why this has a priority of the Administration."
"I know from personal experience how incredibly rewarding, fun and exciting STEM careers can be," said Kari Byron. "The problem is that there are so many kids across the country who don't see the connection between their textbooks and the world around them. 4-H NYSD is all about hands-on problem solving that relates directly to the real-world. That's what makes it so exciting to kids, and that's what makes it such a powerful learning tool."
The flagship event will also feature an interactive DJI Drone Zone; a dynamic panel discussion; STEM exhibitions; and inspirational talks from 4-H NYSD's national partners and sponsors, DJI, HughesNet®, U.S. Cellular and Lockheed Martin. Drone Discovery was developed by Cornell University Cooperative Extension and teaches youth to use the engineering design process to understand the world of drones. First, youth will learn about aircraft types by designing and flying simple fixed and rotary wing aircraft; next, youth will discover how they can use drones to gather data with a foam glider and keychain camera; and finally, youth will explore the basics of coding as they program virtual drones to solve real-world challenges.
"There has never been a more exciting time in the field of unmanned flight," said Brett Velicovich. "The pace of innovation is so fast, right now we are just scratching the surface of the kinds of life-changing applications drones will be capable of five or ten years down the line. All this innovation and untapped potential make drones a hugely effective and attractive learning platform for kids. 4-H NYSD brings that excitement about drones to thousands of kids across the country."
Activities in Washington, D.C. will begin with a "STEM Future Forum" breakfast panel discussion. This year's discussion, Breaking the STEM Barrier: A Youth-Led Perspective, will feature 4-H youth and renowned STEM professionals drawing on their personal experiences to think of ways to make STEM more interesting and accessible to youth of all backgrounds. The panel will feature Alexa Maille, 4-H STEM Specialist at Cornell University; Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition at the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Scott Paddy, Product Development Engineer at Ford; Thaddeus Hughes, 2016 4-H STEM Youth in Action winner; and Xavier Harding, Technology Editor at Popular Science magazine.
"4-H NYSD is all about getting youth excited about STEM through youth-led and hands-on STEM challenges that relate to the real world," said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council. "It is our philosophy that when youth are given the opportunities and resources they need to lead, not only do they learn, they innovate. That is why this year's STEM Future Forum will bring 4-H youth together with STEM professionals to find solutions to the challenge this country faces in attracting kids to STEM careers."
All youth are invited to participate in 4-H NYSD. For information about how to get involved, please visit: www.4-h.org/nysd. Follow Drone Discovery events around the country with #4HNYSD.
The national partners of 2016 4-H NYSD are HughesNet®, Lockheed Martin and U.S. Cellular; DJI is the national sponsor.
4-H, the nation's largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
SOURCE National 4-H Council