Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - For nine years, Aaron Lantz actively sought out all of the out-of-school robotics programs and curriculum offered by 4-H. Beginning as early as kindergarten, Lantz has shown a love for science and has channeled that passion further into a focus specifically on engineering.

After competing in several robotics competitions, Lantz now plans to make a more permanent commitment to his passion, by majoring in electrical engineering in college.

The National Science Experiment that will be showcased at this year’s upcoming 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD), is Lantz’ favorite to date. The 4-H Eco-Bot Challenge, introduces young people all around the nation to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as issues surrounding the importance of protecting our environment.

“4-H National Youth Science Day is a great opportunity for youth to get an introduction to STEM,” said Lantz. “You can pursue many different science opportunities through 4-H, and it’s a good way for youth to preview STEM subjects if they would like to get more involved in the field, in the future.”

This October, the National Science Experiment will provide youth the opportunity to enhance their engineering skills by learning to think like a robotics engineer, assembling their own robots in order to manage an environmental cleanup.

Leading her second 4-H NYSD event for youth and adults, 17-year-old Rina Huang, president ofMaryland4-H Club, the Lucky Clovers, wishes she knew that 4-H offered science opportunities earlier. “If youth start STEM at a young age, I feel that it will help spark interest in science careers in the future,” said Huang. “It’s also great to see more girls, like me, getting into science programs like these.”

As part of 4-H’s One Million New Scientists, One Million New Ideas campaign, 4-H has been addressing the nation’s critical challenge by working to prepare a million new young people to excel in science, engineering, technology and applied math by the year 2013.

“Americafaces a future of intense global competition with a startling shortage of scientists. However, with high-quality positive youth development programs like 4-H NYSD, youth are introduced to important concepts and solutions that will ensure their contributions to their communities today, and their success as global leaders tomorrow,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO.

The 2012 4-H National Science Experiment: Eco-Bot Challenge was developed in conjunction with OhioStateUniversityand the Ohio State Cooperative Extension Program. Generous sponsor support has been provided by Lockheed Martin, Toyota, Donaldson Filtration Solutions, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Walmart and John Deere. For more information on 4-H National Youth Science Day, visit www.4-H.org/NYSD.