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4-H Gateway Academy coming to New Richmond

University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension Chancellor David Wilson and Kern Family Foundation President James Rahn announced the expansion of the 4-H Gateway Academy to 20 sites, with the potential to reach 500 middle-schoolers around the state this summer.

The day camps inspire students going into grades seven, eight and nine to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and consider career opportunities in these important fields.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2005 STEM workers as a group earned about 70 percent more than the national average. All STEM occupations earned a median annual salary of almost $65,000, while all occupations earned a median salary of less than $38,000.

"STEM disciplines will significantly form the foundation of the global economy in the future," Wilson said. "If Wisconsin is to remain a competitive force in the economy and in education, it must provide numerous and widespread opportunities for our young people to develop their science, technology, engineering and math interests and skills. The Gateway Academy program helps develop our future scientists, engineers and technology workers. We are grateful to the Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha for partnering with the University of Wisconsin-Extension on this venture."

Additional partners for the 4-H Gateway Academy, a program of UW-Extension's Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development, include the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation and local school districts.

New 4-H Gateway Academy sites for summer 2009 include Audubon Technology and Communications Center Middle School and Wedgewood Park International School in Milwaukee, Burlington High School, Clinton High School, Little Wolf High School in Manawa, New Glarus High School, New Richmond High School, Prentice High School, River Valley Middle School in Spring Green, Superior High School and Watertown High School.

Sites hosting for a second summer include East High School in Madison, Eau Claire North High School, La Crosse Central High School, Mitchell Middle School in Racine, Northland Pines High School in Eagle River, Platteville High School, Plymouth High School, Prairie du Chien High School and Wilson Middle School in Appleton.

At each 4-H Gateway Academy, certified instructors provide expert instruction in small-group settings. Campers work together using leading-edge technologies to sample disciplines such as robotics, aeronautics and computer design. Both individually and as teams, campers construct a remote-controlled robot and program it to navigate a maze in a race against the clock. Using computer 3-D modeling software, campers design, build and test a rocket for maximum possible altitude and perfect landing.

4-H Gateway Academy enrollment information will be available beginning Jan. 5, 2009, at the UW-Extension Cooperative Extension county offices and at the host schools.

For more information about the 4-H Gateway Academy program, contact Debra Ivey, 4-H Project Lead the Way coordinator, UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension,, 608-935-0391 or 608-574-0568.