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On National Pi Day, Celebrate Extension’s STEM Efforts

Nifa Author
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

In 1970, women made up 38% of the U.S. workforces and 8% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. By 2019, women in STEM had increased to 27%, with women accounting for 48% of the U.S. workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

On National Pi Day, learn about Extension programs supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture that support youth pursuing interests in STEM.

Through the Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, youth across Connecticut are being introduced to STEM through educational and engaging 4-H programs. 4-H youth across the state completed 9,946 STEM projects in 2018, helping them develop college and workforce readiness and preparedness. Fourteen 4-H members note that they have benefited from participating in the 4-H Robotics Program by gaining and enhancing their skills in spatial geometry or using computer programming language.

To increase STEM interest among girls, Oregon State University Extension Service implemented Tech Trek. The week-long residential STEM camp takes place on a college campus with daily three-hour STEM core classes and one-hour workshops. The camp features a one-day STEM-focused field trip and a professional STEM women's night which campers learn about STEM careers from women in these fields. Oregon Tech Trek has served more than 250 rising eighth-grade girls from rural communities around Oregon.

In coordination with the University of Maine System, University of Maine Cooperative Extension created the 4-H STEM Ambassador program and trained 120 college students in the development and delivery of informal STEM-based educational experiences. Through this program, youth ages 8-14 come to view these ambassadors as mentors and leaders in their community while also developing skills in STEM through hands-on activities. In 2018, the program provided experiential programming to over 1,000 youth—66 community sites including schools and afterschool partners participated. 

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