ST. LOUIS — Bayer announced its support of National 4-H Council’s National Youth Science Day by supplying engaging STEM education kits for students in rural areas whose schools have limited internet access and resources.

NYSD is a month-long initiative that began Oct. 1. This year, Bayer is supplying 650 Game Changers kits designed to teach computer science skills.

Additionally, Bayer hosted an event Oct. 12 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where nearly 200 students in grades sixth to 12th completed challenges in the Game Changers kit.

The kit, designed by Google and West Virginia Extension service, leverages computer science to create games, solve problems and engage students on topics they are passionate about.

During the event at the University of Arkansas, students used the kit to learn about computer science fundamentals through physical activity and puzzles.

The kit teaches kids important CS concepts and problem-solving skills, creating real-world connections between CS and civic engagement, healthy living and agriculture.

Students also participated in a college and career fair, including a tour of the Agriculture, Aquaculture/Fisheries and Human Sciences departments at the university.

“There has never been a more important time to invest in the future,” said Lisa Safarian, North America president of the Crop Science Division of Bayer and National 4-H Council trustee.

“As the need for skills in digital technologies and data science increases in STEM industries such as agriculture, it’s more important than ever to empower students from all communities and socioeconomic backgrounds with the skills they need to explore areas of interest.

“Bayer is proud and excited to support 4-H’s NYSD programming in communities where access to computer science education is scarce and schools lack the resources necessary to fund STEM curricula.”

According to a recent Science Matters survey, despite nearly 80% of high school students reporting that they think agricultural science education is important to future success, only 19% said that they are likely to consider a career in agriculture.

This disconnect may be because only 36% of surveyed students reported being familiar with agriculture career choices beyond working on a farm.

“In 4-H, we know that schools can’t meet demand alone and it is imperative we work together to provide the tools and resources needed to learn computer science skills in order to take advantage of future career opportunities in agri-science,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council president and CEO.

“4-H NYSD brings hands-on computer science learning opportunities within reach for thousands of young people each year. The skills they learn along the way — problem solving, digital fluency, perseverance — will provide a strong foundation for success today and in the future.”

Bayer’s longstanding support of National 4-H Council through the Science Matters initiative extends beyond 4-H NYSD. Through Science Matters, Bayer and 4-H have committed to equip at least 250,000 students from rural, urban and suburban communities with the tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science.

The program contributes to youth development through curricula provided by 4-H to its network of local club leaders, creative initiatives to heighten young people’s awareness of the role science plays in their everyday lives and scholarships to attend the 4-H National Youth Summit on Agri-Science.

For more information on Science Matters, visit 4-H.org/Bayer.

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