Cody Dix, Extension’s new 4-H STEAM coordinator in Clark County, aims to make science, technology, engineering, art and math education more accessible to youth by using 4-H programs to introduce them to subjects and activities that may spark further interest in the fields.
Dix is responsible for STEAM programming as part of the 4-H Youth Development Program in Clark County. His goal is to ensure youth are exposed to STEAM fields in an educational but fun way so they might develop an interest or passion for the subject and learn skills that will help them be successful in school, careers and life. Through 4-H STEAM programs, youth are learning critical life skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership.
As part of this programming, Dix recently conducted a week-long day camp for youth ages 9 – 12. With the help of community based instructors, volunteers from the Clark County AmeriCorps 4-H Grows Here Project and youth volunteers, the camp hosted activities based on natural science, computer science, engineering and natural history. The youth were able to participate in hands-on activities to work on projects such as coding and creating paper rockets.
“It was great to introduce these kids to science using fun projects,” Dix said. “While they’re participating in these activities, we’re able to explain what’s going on and how we’re using math or engineering concepts to do it.”
Previously, Dix worked as an interpretive naturalist for Southern Nevada Conservancy, where he conducted environmental education programs with families at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. As a naturalist, he was able to present in schools and career fairs, educating youth about the local ecosystem. Since he enjoyed the teaching aspect of this position so much, Dix decided to apply that experience to teaching kids about all the STEAM fields, as part of University of Nevada Reno, Extension’s 4-H Program.
“Cody’s background in the natural sciences has helped us expand 4-H program areas and involve more youth who are interested in the outdoors,” Nora Luna, 4-H Youth Development Program coordinator, said. “Cody has been a great asset to the 4-H team.”
Going forward, Dix is hosting STEAM week activities at the A.D. Guy Knowledge Center, where youth will participate in hands-on activities based around STEAM themes. As health restrictions ease up, he is also excited about reinstating in-person afterschool programs at local libraries, community centers and housing developments, with the goal of bringing STEAM education into neighborhoods directly.