STATEWIDE – The University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H is offering a new way of learning.
For students in grades seven through 12, the 4-H program usually brings student to the campus.
“We usually engage with kids in person and have them do hands-on learning. Right now we can’t do that,” said Laura Wilson, 4-H science professional.
Since the university is shut down, they came up with a new plan. A virtual science cafe.
“It’s a way to reach out and still allow kids across the state and beyond a chance to interact with a scientist doing some really cool things at UMaine,” Wilson said.
The online sessions have scientists from the university discussing their research and how they became involved in their work.
“There are so many pathways leading to so many really cool science jobs,” Wilson said.
The program kicked off Tuesday with more than 50 students participating. Scarlett Tudor, a research and outreach coordinator with the Aquaculture Research Institute, led the first session.
“It was amazing! The kids had such good questions,” Tudor said.
Tudor said 4-H had an immense impact on her scientific career.
“From the time I was 8 to the time I was 17 I was in 4-H,” she said.
Growing up in 4-H, Tudor said she was introduced to what is now her career. She competed in state fairs and learned she could turn her passion into a living.
Now she said she wants to inspire students and introduce them to new career paths.
“For me to feel like I’m giving back or helping an organization that I think was so beneficial for me, it was just sort of a no brainier,” she said.
Their website offers a wide variety of learning to interest all students, with videos from cooking to at-home DIY projects.
The virtual science cafes are happening every Tuesday at 3 p.m. Registration is free and can be found on their website here.