2017 4-H Youth in Action: A Platform to Make an Impact

By Ava Lonneman April 27, 2017

Winning the 2017 4‑H Youth in Action STEM Pillar Award is a life-changing experience. There have been so many wonderful adventures that I don’t know where to begin! The Legacy Awards dinner was awe inspiring. There were so many people who were supportive of 4‑H and its mission. Everyone was so interested in me and my accomplishments. Representatives from HughesNet, my pillar sponsor, were such great people, and I really enjoyed sitting down for dinner with them.

The few days I spent in Washington, D.C. are some of the most amazing memories of my life. I was fortunate enough to meet and spend time with the three other pillar winners — Amelia, Bryanne, and Bubba — who are amazing youth inside and out. They have a passion and genuine drive for helping those in their communities and being True Leaders. Although the time we spent with one another was short, I feel we have made lifelong friendships.

Over the past two months, I have been provided the opportunity to meet so many amazing new and influential people. From the camera crew out of St. Louis to the National 4‑H Council staff in Washington D.C., and even the Council President and CEO, Jennifer Sirangelo (I was a little star struck). The entire experience has been mind-boggling. There are times when I sit and think, “Wow, did all of this really happen!?” When first receiving the news that I had been selected as the 2017 STEM Pillar Winner, I was honestly in utter disbelief. I was so excited, I didn’t know what to do.

While the experience has been extremely rewarding and exciting, it has also been slightly overwhelming to comprehend the positive impact I can have on youth at a national level. I am looking forward to getting youth and adults involved in bringing hands-on STEM programming to their communities, and bringing awareness to learning disabilities and the lack of women in STEM fields. I am so thankful to have been chosen as the 2017 4‑H Youth in Action STEM Pillar Award winner; now I can make an impact on a much larger platform.