Local 4-H youth compete in national STEM program event
Westport — On June 14, three 4-H youth and their coaches of the Essex-Clinton County 4-H Bio-Au Sable STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) team competed with some of the most brilliant young minds in the country.
The competition took place in Portland, Ore. for the coveted Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Matt Caito (Jay), Alexandra Rock (Keeseville) and Harrison Kyle (Hemingford, Que.) represented their team. They were accompanied by their coach, Matt Cauthorn (Keeseville) and chaperone Greg Caito (Jay) against competitors from 48 states and U.S. territories. Their goal was to capture the $10,000 monetary award as well as the opportunity to present their water quality project findings to an acclaimed international panel of scientific judges in Stockholm, Sweden.
Although they did not win the competition, they were honored to present their finding against such high caliber teams from across the U.S.
This 4-H club is no stranger to fierce competition. In order to earn the honor to represent New York State, the team competed in and won the Ying Tri Regional Science Fair in Syracuse. The Ying Tri Regional Science Fair was designed specifically for those New York students whose own regions did not host a regionally sanctioned science competition. Without this opportunity, many rural New York students would be locked out of higher level science competitions that require a win at a Regional Science Fair to qualify for other academic fairs such as the prestigious Intel Science Fair that is held in Maryland.
Last year, the team was invited to compete as part of the InVenTeam at M.I.T. The 4-H STEM Club was awarded the prestigious Lemelson award, a $10,000 prize to continue their work on bio filters to clean and purify water. This was the first time a 4-H club was invited to compete at the InVenTeam. In the past it has been magnet and charter schools whose academic focus was math, science, technology, and engineering. The club continues to expand their previous experiment on refinements on their original project.