AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State 4-H Tech Team and some Tenacious Turtles are part of a new breed of Olympians – those who choose cyber defense, game design and robotics as their competitive venues. The two Iowa 4-H teams were among teens from across the state who recently competed in the IT-Olympics at Iowa State University.
The 2012 IT-Olympics were April 27 -28 in Hilton Coliseum. The three venues – cyber defense, game design and robotics – correspond to the educational materials and challenges the teams worked on throughout the year as teams prepared for the ultimate IT-Olympic challenge. To participate in the event, teams first had to place in IT-Adventures.
“The part that is exciting about the science and technology fields is that they are an energizing and fun way to engage people with different interests,” said Jay Staker, director of Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET) youth initiative, part of ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. “There are many opportunities in these 4-H STEM programs for kids to find a fit based on their interests and to develop their skills and knowledge. It’s all based on what they’re interested in and what they're wired for.”
Six 4-H members from Logan, Iowa joined forces to form the Harrison County 4-H Tenacious Turtles. Team members included Bruce De Witt, Austin Ettleman, Ellen McGrew, Sarah Riley, Braden Rosengren and Sarah Stueve. The team placed third overall in the robotics venue at the IT-Olympics.
“I was amazed at the creativity of the kids,” said team coach David Seilstad, regional 4-H program specialist for Harrison County Extension and Outreach. “They worked together as a team with very advanced technology.”
As part of the IT-Olympics challenge, the team completed a community service project. They worked with the local GPS GIS manager to map properties at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge.
Four Iowa youth made up the Iowa State 4-H Tech Team. Team members include Alex Campbell, Ames, Kyle Clausen, Sioux Rapids, Kyle Rohlfing, Sioux Rapids and David Runneals, Nevada. The team “met” online to discuss issues of security weekly with their adviser, Iowa State 4-H Tech Team alum, Daniel Stiner.
“The team really worked well together, considering they were from all over the state,” Stiner said. “The youth took the initiative with the cyber defense and did an amazing job. I was amazed at their ability and how well they did considering they met for the first time at the actual IT-Olympics.”
The Iowa State Tech Team placed third overall in the cyber defense venue.
IT-Adventures is an innovative program that is dedicated to increasing interest in and awareness of applying technology and creative problem solving among high school students. The program is a partnership of Iowa State University College of Engineering, Iowa State University Information Assurance Center, Union Pacific Railroad, Principal Financial Group, Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership, Technology Association of Iowa, the Iowa Chapter of InfraGard, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), ACT Inc., Hy-Vee, Dice Tech Job Career Hub, FBL Financial Group Inc., Internet Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment, Electronic Crime Institute at DMACC, Pearson Education Inc. and ELSEVIER Sciences and Health News.
For more information on IT-Adventures or the IT-Olympics, visit http://www.it-adventures.org. To join an Iowa IT-Adventures team, contact any local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office.
*Note: The photo is of the Harrison County 4-H Tenacious Turtles holding their robot.