Wednesday, May 28, 2014


by Arielle Gerstein

The 4-H STEM program consists of specialized programs designed to introduce and encourage participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math disciplines among the youth of the District of Columbia. The program is supported by the Alteria Foundation through the National 4-H Council and works collaboratively with UDC's STEM Center. Rachel Perry is the 4-H coordinator for the program.

Rachel works on many different projects, all focused on teaching kids to love and respect the environment. Focusing on STEM education, Rachel hopes to continue building relationships with robotics groups throughout the city and make UDC 4-H a central hub for these groups. Next year, with the help of these organizations, she would like to hold a robotics expo.

This summer, Rachel, along with colleague Mary Farrah, will be running an invasive plant species day camp.  This camp will teach youth to identify invasive plants and look at transects of these plants in different areas in the District. The youth will then present their findings before a group of professionals.

She runs an embryology project at the Takoma Education Campus and an after-school group at Kelly Miller Middle School.  The after-school program focuses on relief engineering, i.e., recognizing basic human needs and constructing devices like water filters and first aid kits to meet these needs. This program allows students to compare and contrast the different living situations and access to basic needs around the world.  This same program at Walker Jones Education Campus will be expanding in Fall 2014.

She also works with Martha’s Table to bring kids from their after-school programs to the UDC farm in Beltsville, Maryland. On these field trips, they learn how aquaponics works and an aquaponics design competition is scheduled to be held for the best design. 

Rachel’s love of 4-H began as a child participating in 4-H and has continued through her work at
UDC.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon and graduated from the Water Resources Management Professional Science Masters program at UDC.

Rachel is looking for science professionals and parents to lead STEM clubs around the DC area. Interested? Please contact for more information.

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