STEM Career Exploration Opens New Doors for Local 4-H Students
At Bayer, our employees are keenly aware that science matters. But it’s not enough for us just to understand how science creates fulfilling career opportunities. As a Life Science industry leader, innovator, contributor and influencer, Bayer also has a responsibility to help educate and inspire today’s youth to become – and remain – interested in STEM-related careers. Through our Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) initiative, that is exactly what Bayer seeks to achieve through its diverse partnerships and outreach programs.
In collaboration with the National 4-H Council, Bayer has created the new Science Matters program to engage today’s youth. Its focus is to equip students with the necessary tools to deepen their understanding of science and to explore the many possible career paths in STEM fields. Bayer is accomplishing this through the active participation and leadership of our passionate MSMS volunteers. Since its launch in late 2017, employees across the country have been breathing life into the Science Matters program by spearheading their own events for local youth. At our Shakopee, Minnesota manufacturing site, Josh Betcher is leading the way.
Making Science Matter in Local Communities
If you ask Human Resources for Josh Betcher's official job title, you’ll hear Engineering and Quality Assurance Manager. However, the majority of his peers in Shakopee have gifted him the title of Head Agvocate. Josh and his team spend much of their time teaching and advocating for agriculture not only among fellow Shakopee employees, but also in the community. Josh even shares his passion as a leader in the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) program.
Bayer's Science Matters partnership with 4-H sparked the momentum for Josh and his team to implement the program among local 4-H chapters. At our Shakopee site, Josh and his fellow Making Science Make Sense volunteers recently hosted a STEM exploration event for 45 4-H students representing chapters from four neighboring counties. The students had the chance to learn about 3D printing, robotics and other exciting mechanical engineering concepts. "Thank you for the tremendous visit you planned for our 4-H youth,” said Extension Educator Kathryn Sharpe. “They were truly lit on fire, and it was so exciting to watch them discover new potential career paths for themselves."
This was the first event of its kind, but Josh is confident that it won’t be the last. The feedback he received after the event reinforced the value and impact of these outreach efforts. The interest and engagement was so inspiring that Josh and his team are currently exploring the idea of hosting quarterly Science Matters events for 4-H chapters in the surrounding area of Shakopee
"Our MSMS team was presented with a need to support and enhance the local educational system in doing a better job of effectively transitioning high school students into the workforce," said Josh. "Programs like Science Matters provide an opportunity to introduce our youth to engineering, manufacturing and developing technology. This is our chance to make a difference and help children reach their fullest potential.”
As an international company, Bayer often focuses on STEM education at the big-picture level. We understand that global efforts are essential. But, we also know the significant role Bayer can play in our own backyards. The Shakopee MSMS team’s involvement with Science Matters perfectly demonstrates the value and importance of taking time to educate, engage and inspire those in local Bayer communities – especially our students and future STEM leaders.
Photos are courtesy of the Scott County 4-H Chapter.