What is the program?
A week-long residential experience on UVM campus June 23 - June 29, 2024, followed by group work and research and then required participation in the AgroTek Slam.
How much will it cost?
Thanks to funding from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the program is completely free for participants.
What will students be learning?
In the "Culturing Cells for Healthier Soils" Summer Academy, students will spend the week with Dr. Eric Bishop von Wettberg and his team. They’ll head into the lab and into the field to learn about the root systems and associated microbes of the “three sisters,” beans, squash, and corn, which are the foundation of much Indigenous agriculture. And they’ll learn valuable laboratory skills, including a variety of histochemical approaches and how to extract microbial DNA and evaluate a greenhouse experiment with diverse accessions of beans, to assess variation in root traits and rhizobial association.
In "Shifting the Waste to Value Paradigm," the group will spend the week with Steve Kostell and his team to learn about ways to turn agricultural waste into sustainable products and sources of income for local farmers. Participants will engage in hands-on Design Thinking, a process where they can use humility, reflection and critical thinking. Together they’ll practice the skills needed to respond to community needs, and to assess an innovation’s impact (positive and negative) and revise as needed. Our emphasis will be on the human processes needed for successful design innovation across approaches of waste-to-value bioproducts.
In “More Precise Agriculture”, students will spend the week with Scott Merrill and the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation Laboratory team, exploring how computer tools can be used to make decisions for both farmers and in a community. Spending time in a computer lab as well as out on a farm, participants will experience how to apply tools like augmented reality, artificial intelligence and more while also applying these tools in an agricultural setting to support societal resiliency, farm management and more. Interested in figuring out ways to mitigate the agricultural challenges brought on by climate change, this academy is for you!
What about equity and inclusion?
Our goal is an event in which young people can experience fun, learning and a sense of belonging. We will focus on safety and comfort, community-building, and plenty of downtime for students to get to know each other and to take care of themselves. Depending on the group, we will offer affinity space for any who might wish it.
How will they spend their time?
Each day will include meals together, group activities in the lab or in the field, some down time, project work and an evening program. (See the draft)
What are the sleeping arrangements?
Our plans are for each student to have either a single or double room in a UVM dormitory.
Who will be supervising the students?
Professional, trained 4-H staff who have all undergone background checks, in addition to UVM teaching faculty and their graduate students.
My student would benefit from disability-related accommodations or has other needs to be able to fully participate and succeed. Who can I talk to about accommodations?
We will do everything we can to help all participants have a successful and fun experience. Contact Liz Kenton to set up a time to discuss your family's needs.
What's the application deadline?
April 5, 2024
What is the total time commitment for the students and their families?
In addition to the full week June 23 - June 29, students will engage in virtual group work and then return to campus for the AgroTek Slam to present their projects. These are all part of the program and required for participants.
What about Covid safety?
Residential participants will need to be fully vaccinated. If a medical or religious exemption is desired, please email email@example.com. We will follow state and campus guidelines and make any necessary pivots to keep our participants, instructors and staff safe.
We're interested but would like to learn more before committing. What's a good way to learn more about these topics?
Check out the recordings of the VTeen Science Cafes (Cells to Society from 1/27/22 here, and Waste to Value from 2/9/22 here) to learn more about the topics and what will be offered.