Gulf States Regional Office Director Rockiell Woods spent the day with elementary school students at the 4-H National Youth Science Day on October 5th at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The theme this year was “Drone Discovery” Engineering Design Challenge. This annual event is designed to “spark an early youth interest and leadership” in topics related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) including agricultural science, environmental science, and alternative energy, according to Southern University’s website.
In his presentation, Woods encouraged students to find their own leadership style. He used NBA players as examples of different ways people can lead a team, and this engaged the crowd and made them excited to raise their hands and share their opinions. The students also learned the importance of becoming leaders themselves.
This kind of training is essential to build the next generation of STEM thinkers. In agriculture in particular, the average age of farmers is nearing sixty years old (as of the 2012 census), and only six percent of farmers are under the age of thirty-three, making it critical to inspire youth to become strong leaders in these areas. It was a well-attended, well-organized conference that gave children the opportunity to explore a wide range of STEM-related subjects and activities.