Today kicks off the 11th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day–the start of a month-long celebration to challenge kids and educators excited about computer science (CS) through hands-on projects—and for the first time, Google.org is supporting the effort.
I’ve been involved in 4-H since I was nine. I joined because I wanted to show horses (just like my big sister), which I did as an Iowa 4-H member for 10 years. Now I use some of my time at Google to support 4-H students around the country. Alongside other Googlers, I was on the NYSD activity design team with National 4-H Council, West Virginia University and MIT Scratch to create a series of activities to help students learn about core concepts of CS while having fun. In a free online activity from CS First called Animate a Name, kids can choose any name they want and make the letters change colors, spin or even dance to a favorite tune.
Last week I caught up with Fiona Reyes, a 4-H teen leader from Santa Clara, CA and the star of the CS First Animate a Name videos. We chatted about NYSD, her involvement this year and more generally, what computer science means to her.
Curtis: Tell me a little bit about your participation in 4-H over the years.
Fiona: I’ve been a member of 4-H since I was five years old. While I can’t remember everything about the first projects that I did (baking and flower arranging), I do remember feeling very welcomed by the youth leaders of my 4-H club. I’ve done projects like poultry (chickens), sewing, cavies (guinea pigs), which have helped me learn important life skills like public speaking and organization. Last year was also the beginning of my involvement with computer science in 4-H. As a part of the California Computer Science Pathway Team, I lead a computer science project for youth in Santa Clara County.