The Rutgers 4-H STEM Ambassadors program is a collaboration of seven counties throughout the state. Mercer County brings teens from the Trenton area to Rutgers-New Brunswick each summer for a week of hands-on learning alongside professors, scientists, researchers, and engineers. Our teens learn about science, community service, and college readiness. Throughout the year, the STEM Ambassadors volunteer their time giving back to the community through STEM education and community outreach. Additionally, the STEM Ambassadors are given the opportunity to continue to develop their own STEM identity by participating in other programs.
One of these programs is the 4-H STEM Equity Challenge. This program challenges the STEM Ambassadors to take a deep dive into topics within STEM and analyze the inequities that exist within STEM. The ambassadors join 4-H staff for four sessions to learn about academic research, academic writing, and presentation development. The final part of the program challenges the ambassadors to present their research to a broader audience. This past December, Mercer County 4-H Ambassadors joined other ambassadors from the state to present their research at Rutgers-Newark. Mercer County 4-H STEM Ambassadors presented on inequitable access to healthcare in immigrant communities, awareness of STEM careers in underrepresented communities, and the cost of specialized healthcare and the inaccessibility of such care for minorities. Teens in the program worked tirelessly to conduct in-depth research and present their findings professionally to their peers and a larger audience.
Given the involvement and interest of this fall’s cohort, future iterations of the STEM Equity Challenge will be incorporated into the 4-H STEM Ambassadors Program.