Hands-on projects prove ‘Science Matters’
Sophia New (left) is one of 15 youth from Johnson County, Kansas who participated in Science Matters, a program created by Bayer and National 4-H to help youth explore science-related careers in agriculture. After a tour of Bayer Animal Health in Shawnee, Kansas recently, New had the opportunity to talk with Bayer employees about 4-H and her Science Matters project.
What we are doing
Fifteen teens from Johnson County explored potential science-related careers in agriculture when they teamed with Bayer professionals through the national Science Matters program created by Bayer and National 4-H. Johnson Co. 4-H was awarded one of five $22,500 community grants through the program, part of which was used to fund a trip for the youths – some 4-H members and some not – to participate in a National Youth Summit on Agri-Science in Washington, D.C., last January.
Once back in Kansas, the teens worked with Bayer employees to identify three science-based local challenges in Johnson County and develop solutions that address each issue. Those solutions led to hands-on projects, including working with residents of a senior living center to study food insecurity and plant vegetables. Another project had students working with a Bayer veterinarian to identify zoonotic diseases – those that can be spread from animals to humans – and developed an informational flyer that they distributed at veterinary offices and at a Tractor Supply Company store. In the third project, students developed a plan to educate third- through fifth-graders about ways to conserve water.
In June, the youths toured Bayer U.S. Animal Health, based in Shawnee. A Bayer veterinarian told the group how he works with customers to ensure that products are used correctly; a company recruiter spoke about career opportunities and the education needed to apply; and a chemist explained how products are developed; among others.
The students then explained their projects to Bayer employees and told about 4-H projects that nurture youth interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Several teens said until they participated in the Science Matters program, they hadn’t known about careers linked to agriculture that didn’t involve growing crops or raising livestock.
For more information, visit 4-H's "Science Matters" page and the K-State Research and Extension-Johnson County's home page.
Read the full story on the K-State Research and Extension News page.