ST. GEORGE — The Utah State University Extension Washington County 4-H program has been making news recently, including being awarded a grant for a new “makerspace” and having a member win a Super Bowl LI video contest.
The 4-H program received a $25,000 grant from the technology company Cognizant to purchase equipment and supplies for a new makerspace on the Dixie State University campus.
A makerspace is a place where students and community members can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials.
USU Extension associate professor Paul Hill said these types of activities fit with the 4-H slogan of “Learning by Doing.”
“Makerspaces are important because they are changing the way students learn today and potentially how they live and work in the future,” Hill said. “While we use 3D printers, laser cutters and sewing machines to learn new skills and make stuff, it’s not about the ‘stuff’ we can make; it’s about the process of making and why we choose the things we make to express ourselves and serve others.”
The grant is part of Cognizant’s “Making the Future” initiative. Cognizant works to better prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s opportunities, while ensuring that future generations will have the skills needed to compete and thrive in the global economy.
The makerspace will be located at Dixie State University’s new Innovation Plaza, a resource center for student and community entrepreneurs and innovators. The Washington County 4-H program will be offering afterschool maker activities when the space opens up later this year.
Hill said Washington County is overdue for a makerspace.
“Our community has waited long enough for access to the tools of innovation,” Hill said. “Over the next several months and years, the impact of this space will manifest itself both socially and economically and we will wonder why we didn’t start one sooner.”
Washington County 4-H member wins Super Bowl video contest
A Utah State University Extension 4-H member from St. George recently won the “Zero Fatalities Teen Video Contest” for his PSA about safe driving. The PSA aired during Super Bowl LI in Utah on the Fox station.
Sterling Jones created a video titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Be Stupid” and was selected out of more than 70 other entries.
“We wanted to send a message that you can be a good influence on your friends,” Jones said. “Everyone already knows the rules, but we don’t always follow them. If you can be the one to remind your friend to buckle up, you could help save their life.”
Jones is an 18-year-old Utah 4-H member from St. George who has a passion for entrepreneurship. He founded a digital media agency called Teen Made that allows teens to get their start in the business world by using their technical skills to create graphics, animations, websites and more for clients.
Since the launch, they have worked with Grammy Award-winning bands, national organizations, multimillion-dollar companies and emerging startups. Jones’ next goal is to win business from Utah tech companies like Qualtrics, Vivint and Domo.
“Our goal is to give skilled teenagers the power and the connections to do real-world work,” Jones said, adding that much of his success is due to the influence of the 4-H program.
“The 4-H program is the key,” he said. “None of this would even be possible without 4-H. We have the knowledge and resources we need because of this amazing program.”