June 22-24: WSU hosts state 4-H conference

4-H-national-logo-2012-80pPULLMAN, Wash. – Robotics, identity theft, cheese making and paying for college will be among the workshop topics at the annual statewide 4-H Teen Conference, to be held June 22-24 at Washington State University Pullman.

Student peer educators will make some of the presentations, including three from the WSU Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center. They include a high school team that created an award-winning bread experiment and a graduate student who developed a garden-based education program for elementary schools.

Sponsored by WSU Extension, the conference brings together students in grades 8-12 to explore life skills and educational and career opportunities. They participate in interactive, hands-on workshops and programs geared toward their future goals.

Learn more about the conference at http://4h.wsu.edu/conferences/teenconf/documents/WorkshopDescriptions6.pdf.

Mount Vernon teens teach peers

Susanna Andrews, left, and Sophia Romanelli display the awards presented to them by Megan Leifson of the Puget Sound Institute of Food Technologists for their first-place entry in this year’s state science and technology fair. (Photo courtesy of Susanna Andrews)

Nationally known speakers; WSU faculty, staff and students; and community and 4-H members lead activities. Many workshops are organized by WSU and extension specialists who invite teen peer educators to make presentations to fellow students.

Sophia Romanelli and Susanna Andrews were invited by King County Extension Educator Susie Craig to present at two of her 90-minute workshops: “Great Globs of Gluten” and “Exploring Careers in Food Science.”

The two young scientists’ bread-making experiment, conducted in the WSU Mount Vernon Bread Lab with faculty and graduate student mentors from the plant breeding program, earned them first-place honors at the 2014 Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.

“After reading about your gluten project in the WSU newsletter, I thought you would make great teen presenters with me,” Craig wrote to the girls. “Hopefully, it will be an opportunity for you to share your work and your enthusiasm for science with other teens, too.”

Garden teaches science, math

WSU Mount Vernon graduate student Kelly Ann Atterberry also will lead a workshop. She and her faculty advisor, vegetable horticulture program leader Carol Miles, have developed a school garden-based nutrition and science education program as part of Atterberry’s master’s thesis.

Atterberry has been giving lessons to local fourth-graders this spring in celebration of the Whatcom County Farm-to-School program’s “Dry Bean Month” and its focus on nutrition. At the 4-H conference, she will lead the “Full Of Beans!” workshop, in which students will explore the dry bean life cycle, from seed planting through harvesting and eating.

“Our curriculum combines nutrition education with math and biology activities that get the students excited about trying something new outside the traditional classroom setting,” Atterberry said.


Susie Craig, WSU King County Extension educator, BSusie.craig@kingcounty.gov, 206-205-3161
Kelly Ann Atterberry, WSU Mount Vernon graduate student, kelly.atterberry@wsu.edu, 206-819-9844.
Nancy Mordhorst, WSU Pullman 4-H program coordinator, nancym@wsu.edu, 509-335-2981