Bayer, 4-H to Grow Tomorrow’s Science Leaders

Collaboration will fuel passion for science among young people nationwide and cultivate the next generation of innovators shaping agriculture, food an

Published online: Sep 05, 2017 Articles
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Bayer and the National 4-H Council amplified their commitment to the future of a rapidly expanding global population by launching a new effort to grow the pipeline of tomorrow’s innovators. The two organizations announced last week a nationwide collaboration, Science Matters, which will address the need for an enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce by planting a love of scientific exploration in thousands of youth in urban and rural areas across the country.

Science Matters will leverage Bayer’s more than 150 years of scientific breakthroughs and 4-H’s century of hands-on learning to equip more than 25,000 youth with tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science.

“Advancing health and nutrition is what we do best and care about most at Bayer,” says Ray Kerins, Bayer’s senior vice president of corporate affairs and a former 4-H’er. “We can’t do that unless we grow tomorrow’s innovators today and fill the critical pipeline of future STEM leaders—not only for agriculture, which is increasingly technology-driven, but for all STEM-related fields. Bayer sees this as a sacred responsibility, and we’re proud to work with 4-H, a first-class organization that shares this vision.”

Science Matters will bring together 4-H leaders with Bayer employees to work alongside young people demonstrating why science matters to all of us. In addition, Bayer will sponsor the 4-H Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C., where students will learn about modern agriculture, careers in agriculture and gain more than 30 hours of hands-on learning and problem-solving experience. Bayer will also provide as many as 200 scholarships and offer community grants to extend the program’s impact. Bayer’s continued sponsorship of the 4-H Youth in Action Award will add yet another dimension to Science Matters.

“In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people, and we are thrilled to join with a company like Bayer that also sees the potential when you equip youth with the skills and opportunities they need to be true leaders,” says Artis Stevens, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the National 4-H Council. “Science Matters will extend the reach of our hands-on STEM programming, which is proven to grow 4-H’ers who are two times more likely than others to enter STEM careers.”

The world’s need for expertise in STEM has never been more intense than it is today. Many of the millions of STEM-related jobs generated in America alone go unfilled due to a lack of relevant graduates and skilled professionals—a scarcity acute in agriculture, which is not always considered the STEM-related field it has become. Scientists who focus on plants, food and water, among other areas, are in demand as growers tackle some of the most complex challenges of our time: sustainably providing nutrition for a rapidly growing population in the face of a changing climate, dwindling natural resources, and evolving pests and diseases, to name just a few.

“At Bayer, we believe in the power of science and its ability to positively impact the health of people, plants and animals, and we know that 4-H shares this belief with us,” says Kerins. “That’s why we’re excited to be on the ground floor of a wonderful relationship that will help develop a new generation of innovators who will address some of the most critical issues facing our society today.”