Writer: Ms. Linda M. Breazeale, MSU Extension Service
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H offers a unique way to celebrate the unofficial Star Wars Day, May 4, by encouraging support of the state 4-H Robotics Program.
May 4 is recognized for its connection to the famous movie line, "May the force be with you."
"May the Fourth has become a day to celebrate science, technology, engineering and math," said Mariah Morgan, an assistant Extension professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach.
“Mississippi 4-H has some of the most active and successful robotics clubs in the world,” Morgan said. “Two groups with connections to Mississippi 4-H just took part in world competition, and one was a member of the winning three-team alliance. They both qualified by participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge in March, which was held in Oxford.”
Morgan oversees the 4-H Robotics Program for the MSU Extension Service.
“Successful programs need great leaders and financial support,” she said. “Robotics club volunteers often have no previous experience with robots or even much of a technology background. They jump in and learn right along with the 4-H members. Additionally, every club needs money to buy robots, laptops, iPads, batteries and snacks.”
“The biggest reward is watching the kids grow and expand their skills, not just with robotics,” said Tommie Rodgers, who coaches Challenge Accepted in north Mississippi. “The program also promotes public speaking, decision making and leadership skills.”
Morgan said the MSU Foundation is accepting donations to support the promotion of hands-on learning, digital literacy, an appreciation for science and a sense of belonging.
To make a tax-deductible donation to support the program, call the MSU Foundation at 662-325-7000 and reference the 4-H Robotics fund number, 312935. For more information on Mississippi 4-H Robotics Clubs, go to http://4hrobotics.msucares.com/.