CHEVY CHASE, Md. — National 4-H Council has announced that Clyde Van Dyke, 17, of Johnson City, New York, is the winner of the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Van Dyke will be recognized nationally for his resilience and commitment to using technology to spark community change.
Van Dyke, a New York 4-H’er, faced many challenges in his childhood, including losing his mother at a young age. He was further disheartened in elementary school when school leaders told him that most kids from his economic background wouldn’t succeed. This feeling of defeat led him to put forth little effort in school. But everything changed when a friend invited him to a 4-H technology club meeting. Not only did the program bring him access and exposure to technology, it also brought a wealth of resources and life skills from 4-H that altered his perspective and motivation. Clyde is now excelling in school and on track to graduate with both his high school diploma and an associate’s degree in May 2019.
“Without 4-H, I would’ve slipped through the cracks. 4-H gave me the motivation and resources I needed to overcome the mindset that I couldn’t succeed,” said Van Dyke. “4-H taught me to communicate with others – especially teachers – so I could ask the right questions and get the help I needed. Now, I show other kids the path for success and what they can gain in 4-H, too.”
Sensing his interest in technology, Van Dyke’s 4-H educator, Kelly Adams, encouraged him to get involved in Broome County 4-H’s Geospatial Mapping Club, a program that teaches youth to create maps to visualize data. Clyde took the club to the next level by creating maps that help people visualize important community issues and envision a pathway for community action.
Van Dyke’s most meaningful geospatial map visualizes the drug overdose epidemic in New York, charting the increase in drug overdose deaths from 2008 to 2016 along with the potential factors that contribute to this growing epidemic. Van Dyke showcased this map at the Esri International Conference and routinely teaches workshops to educate others to use geospatial mapping to enact community change. He hopes this map motivates others to make a change.
Van Dyke will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H STEM programming. He will be officially recognized as the 2019 4-H Youth in Action Pillar Winner for STEM, sponsored by HughesNet, at the 10th Annual 4-H Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. He is joined by three other 2019 Youth in Action Pillar Winners, Addy Battel of Michigan (Agriculture Pillar Winner); Elisabeth Watkins of California (Healthy Living Pillar Winner); and Mason McClintock of Georgia (Civic Engagement Pillar Winner).
The 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by HughesNet, began in 2010 to recognize 4-H’ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community.
“Clyde’s passion for using technology to help change the world inspires all of us at Hughes to continue promoting STEM leadership among our youth,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president, North America Marketing, Hughes. “We are proud to sponsor the Pillar Award for STEM and equally proud to support young people everywhere in accessing quality STEM education. It is important for the development of our youth…and our future.”
To learn more about 4-H Youth in Action and to view the other pillar winners from around the country, please visit: www.4-h.org/youthinaction.
–New York State 4-H Council
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