Rutgers Hosts High School Students in First Urban 4-H Summer Science Program

Rutgers Hosts High School Students in First Urban 4-H Summer Science Program

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University will host 45 high school students in its first  Annual 4-H Summer Science Program for urban youths at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.


From July 6 to10, these high school students from Camden, Hackensack, Paterson, and Trenton, will learn about science and explore research in a series of interactive activities, and gain a better understanding of opportunities available in science, engineering, and technology.  Opening activities take place in the Multipurpose Rooms A, B, C of the Cook Campus Center in New Brunswick on July 6.

 “We’re really excited to work with our urban youth in this science, engineering and technology (SET) 4-H program. The Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, produced by the National Academies in 2006, highlighted the shortage of highly qualified educators and mentors who can translate and teach science, engineering, technology, and math content and skills. 4-H is doing its part to prepare and empower our youth to get involved in a career in science,” said Janice McDonnell, 4-H SET agent.

A 2007 report from the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges identifies science, engineering, technology, and math for youth as a growth area. National 4-H later unveiled SET as a critical part of its mandate and Rutgers Cooperative Extension is poised to play a vital role in creating interest and competency in these areas.

These urban youths, most of whom will be enjoying their first 4-H experience, will participate in several hands–on activities as they explore animal, marine, environmental, and food sciences alongside a number of Rutgers faculty from these disciplines.

“The students are very excited about the opportunity to spend a week with Rutgers scientists – touring their labs, learning about their research, and how their work is applicable to our daily lives. The opportunity to live on campus for a week and get a taste of university life, is an important time for them, as they think about their futures and where they want to be in a few years,” said Chad Ripberger, Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H agent, Mercer County.

Participants in this inaugural program have competed their freshman year in high school and were selected based on teacher recommendations and participation in an extensive application process that included writing an essay and interviews by their local 4-H staff. Each of the selected youth participants has agreed to provide a minimum of 50 hours of service to their local 4-H program, agreeing to work with 4-H staff in their community to provide science-focused after-school and summer programming to younger youth and children.

The program will conclude on Friday, July 10 with 4-H SET Ambassador training workshops focused on the Experiential Learning Cycle, Strategies for Working with Younger Youth and Children, and Leadership Development.

Key collaborators in this inaugural urban summer science program are 4-H of Bergen, Camden, Essex, Mercer, and Passaic counties and 4-H SET staff who have worked to expand the university’s outreach in the urban communities of the state and creating interest and competency in the areas of science, engineering, and technology.

The initial year of the 4-H Summer Science Program is funded by a Community Enhancement Award, a Rutgers Cooperative Extension grant. 

Media Contact: Chad Ripberger