ISU Alumni John and Janelle Rohrbaugh (College of Engineering) coach a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team that includes their two sons in Colorado. FLL sponsors an annual competition for kids ages 9 – 14 in some area of science or engineering; the 2011 Challenge is Food Factor with a focus on food safety.
While visiting Iowa, they decided to take advantage of ISU’s reputation in food safety research and outreach by visiting with HRIM Extension Specialist Catherine Strohbehn.
David and Joshua (ages 10 and 12) interviewed Dr. Strohbehn on July 6th and discussed potential food safety issues from farm to fork. Both boys had prepared for the interview by researching the ISU Food Safety Project and the Local Foods – From Farm to Foodservice websites. John and Janelle explained the FLL Challenge process and competition.
ISU College of Engineering sponsors the state competition in Iowa through its ISEK program. Participation in robotics tournaments and science research projects such as FLL is one of the fastest growing topics in 4-H clubs.
Holly Bignall, a Youth Extension Specialist works with 4-H FLL clubs throughout the state. Partnering with the College of Engineering through FLL provides a great opportunity to share Extension expertise with Iowa’s young people through 4-H.