New “Science Matters” Initiative Aims to Boost Education and Interest in Agricultural Science to Meet Demand {Interview}

New “Science Matters” Initiative Aims to Boost Education and Interest in Agricultural Science to Meet Demand {Interview}

Beyond the farm and solutions for feeding a growing population, advances in agricultural science improves our daily lives from the cars we drive to the cosmetics people apply.

As our nation commits to making STEM a top priority in classrooms, an upcoming study(by Bayer and National 4-H Council in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association) reports only 22 percent of high school science teachers include agricultural science in at least some of their lesson plans; even though more than 80 percent think it is important. One reason might be fewer than half of the teachers surveyed say they feel qualified to teach agricultural science*.

Just as alarming, nearly 70 percent of study* respondents do not believe their children will pursue a career in agricultural science, even though data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows tens of thousands of jobs each year in agriculture go unfilled by qualified candidates.

As National Ag Day comences this week, join me in an interview with Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and first African American female to travel in space, and Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO, National 4-H Council, as they discuss the need for greater focus on agriculture science in schools and raise awareness among parents and students about careers in this field.

View the entire interview here:

Other Advances in agricultural sciences include**:

–       Insulin for diabetics is made from a chemical produced by the pancreas in swine and beef animals

–       Books in our classrooms are printed with printer’s ink made from soybeans and held together with glue made from the hide and hair of a cow or pig

–       Band-Aids stick to our skin because of proteins found in milk

For more information on the Science Matters initiative, visit



Jennifer Sirangelo, President & CEO, National 4-H Council, Chevy Chase, MD

Jennifer Sirangelo is a believer in young people and their capacity to change the world. She leads National 4-H Council in its mission to increaseinvestment and participation in high-quality, 4-H positive youth development programs.

Sirangelo, who joined Council in 2006 to grow support for the 4-H movement, is focused on supporting growth and leadership development for nearly six million young people through 4-H programs in science, agriculture, health and citizenship. She is currently leading the largest brand and alumni activation initiative in 4-H history, the Grow True Leaders Campaign, in partnership with America’s land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension System as well as the United States Department of Agriculture.


In 2017, Sirangelo was selected to represent 4-H in Fast Company’s annual list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business for its outstanding work to empower youth with the skills needed for life today and all kinds of careers tomorrow. Sirangelo and 4-H were also featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy publication for the Grow True Leaders campaign.

A Missouri native, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and political science from William Jewell College, a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse University and attended St. Peter’s College at Oxford University. As an undergraduate, Sirangelo was recognized as a Harry S. Truman Scholar.

She currently serves on the boards of AgriCorps and Imagine Science.

J Sirangelo President & CEO Nat'l 4-H Council.jpg

Dr. Mae Jemison

Astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, physician and educator, Dr. Mae Jemison is a leading voice for science, social responsibility and education. Now, she’s paving the way for human interstellar travel.


Audacious and pioneering, polymath, Dr. Mae Jemison is at the forefront of integrating the physical and social sciences with art and culture to solve problems and foster innovation. Jemison leads 100 Year Starship®, an independent, non-profit global initiative seed funded through a competitive grant from DARPA to ensure the capabilities for human travel to another star within the next 100 years while transforming life on Earth.

Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut and was the first woman of color in the world to go into space aboard a joint space shuttle mission with the Japanese space agency. Trained as an engineer, social scientist and dancer, Jemison, a medical doctor, was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. As a professor at Dartmouth College, Jemison focused on technologies designs for sustainability for both industrialized and developing nations. She founded two technology companies and the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence which designs and implements STEM education experiences impacting thousands of students and hundreds of teachers worldwide. She is member U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Fortune 500 companies’ boards, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In September 2017 Jemison spearheaded Look Up to connect people to space, Earth and each other.

Dr Mae Jemison HW official Headshot.jpg






*2018 Bayer/4-H Science Matters Teacher Survey & 2018 Bayer/4-H Science Matters Parent Survey   **Agricultural Issues Revealed, Auburn University, March 7, 2014           Interview courtesy of Bayer and National 4-H Council


Cynthia Tait

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