Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - Statistics indicate that the U.S. is falling behind in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers. With that in mind, National 4-H Council and HughesNet® have partnered to introduce more American youths to hands-on, community-based STEM learning.

The partnership is designed to demonstrate the excitement and opportunities of STEM through several programs, including “Tech Takeover Days” at national 4-H camps; science events at local fairs; and 4-H National Youth Science Day—a national science experiment that engages young scientists around the country.

The organizations recently kicked off their “Inspire a Future Scientist” contest to spark interest in STEM learning and careers. The contest encourages young people to use their creativity to connect science to everyday things they experience and enjoy.

Kids between 13 and 19 submitted 15-second videos that showed their love of science and demonstrated how science is connected to their everyday lives.

From launching spaceships and maneuvering robots to a look at science throughout history, dozens of American youths entered the contest to show how science could be creative and fun.

The top 10 finalist videos have been selected, and Americans will vote to choose the winner!

The winning child will receive a $1,000 cash prize, a 4-H science kit and a trip to participate in the 4-H National Youth Science Day event on October 8, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

If ever there were a contest where every participant is a winner, this is that contest! Through “Inspire a Future Scientist,” every participant can experience firsthand the excitement of science. Visit www.4-h.org/4hfuturescientist today to view all the creative entries and pick your favorite. You can vote once per day, and the voting ends August 1, 2014.

Why Science Education Matters

According to a recent study, 2.8 million STEM jobs will be created and ready for skilled employees by 2018. That’s an encouraging statistic for today’s youth, as they stand to benefit from their love of science.

HughesNet and 4-H serve small, local, rural and exurban communities across the country and are passionate about STEM education.

“It’s critical that we get more young people interested in pursuing STEM education and careers. We can capture and hold their interest through hands-on learning with traditional instruction,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. “For over 100 years, 4-H has used its proven, successful methods to do just that-allowing young people to use their hands, as well as their minds, to learn how exciting and rewarding a STEM education can be. We’re proud to partner with Hughes, a company on the cutting edge of technology, to help make this contest a reality.”