STEM combined with STEAM was a force that earned Albany County’s 4-H educator and University of Wyoming Coe library’s makerspace coordinator the University of Wyoming Millgate Engaged Staff award.
4-H educator Mary Louise Wood and Jane Crayton, who focuses on the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) at Coe, formed the 4-H Makerspace Club, open to the public and serving youths 16-18-years old.
The club allows kids to explore their creative side while focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects, using 3D, robotics and e-textiles.
The club works to inspire the next generation of students in STEM using project-based art and design. Many of the projects help develop social, creative and critical thinking skills. Through the new concentrated effort in the makerspace, Albany County 4-H is seeing an increase in youth membership.
“Jane engages students with STEAM to develop critical thinking and creative skills,” said Wood. “These skills will help the students to become future innovators.”
Wyoming 4-H is the youth arm of the University of Wyoming Extension, and its state offices are housed in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award recognizes UW staff members who both support learning and development through community engagement and build strong, reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community.
Crayton and Wood are working on additional outreach and engagement projects in their own fields. Wood has assisted in developing numerous projects and is participating in the UW Extension Impact Collaborative Experience, a professional development program to provide new opportunities for educators to bring innovation and capacity to their respective extension programs.
Crayton and Wood are an “energetic team” that is committed to engaging the local community and providing students with the opportunity to gain hands-on learning in STEM fields. They also are creating a collaborative and welcoming environment, said Jean Garrison, director of UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach, which presents the Millgate Awards.
“The recognition of Jane and Mary Louise for the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award acknowledges their innovative program that has quickly built strong, reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community in a model that can be emulated in other parts of the state,” Garrison said.