Colleen Murray and Sean Flynn Recognized as 4-H Youth Innovators of the Year for Excellence in STEM

By National 4-H Council July 28, 2015

Chevy Chase, MD (July 28, 2015) – National 4‑H Council and HughesNet, the nation’s #1 satellite Internet service provider from Hughes Network Systems (Hughes), announced Colleen Murray from Delaware and Sean Flynn from New York as the 4‑H Innovators of the Year. This recognition distinguishes teens who display a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), showcase the influence that 4‑H has had on their lives and demonstrate leadership and impact in their communities. On top of the $500 award the teens received for winning their state’s competition, they will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. this October to participate in the flagship 4‑H National Youth Science Day, the world’s largest youth-led science experiment.

“4‑H youth are continually using science and technology to enrich their lives, and both Colleen and Sean have gone above-and-beyond in pursuing their passion for STEM and using that passion to better their communities,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO of National 4‑H Council. “Their resilience to finding innovative solutions to real-world problems will guide them as they continue on their path towards careers in STEM.”

Colleen Murray, an 18-year-old veteran of 4‑H, fell in love with STEM during a University of Delaware (UD) engineering camp in the eighth grade. Since then, she has gone on to complete projects in leadership, engineering, technology, biotechnology and forensic sciences. She currently serves as teen mentor for the X2 Factor Robotics Team while also completing her second year as a summer intern for UD’s Center for Composite Materials. In the fall, Murray is set to begin her degree in mechanical engineering from UD.

Sean Flynn is a 15-year old 4‑H’er with well-rounded experience including projects in livestock, photography, cooking, fishing, etiquette, public speaking and gardening. He is a member of his county’s STEM Teen Leaders group, and has participated in a NASA Space training workshop, won a state fair award in Lego Robotics, is currently training to compete in the National Cyber Patriot Competition and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. Flynn has found creative outlets to express his passion for STEM including movie production, audio engineering, set construction and volunteering as a community instructor for amateur radio.

“Colleen and Sean are great examples of how engaging youth in STEM activities can enrich their lives and prepare them for sought after careers in science, technology engineering and mathematics,” said Mike Cook, senior vice president, North America Division at Hughes. “By helping to connect 4‑H’ers to real-world applications of STEM, Hughes is committed to preparing the next generation of innovators.”

The teens will join hundreds of other youth in Washington D.C. October 7, 2015, for 4‑H National Youth Science Day. The theme this year is Motion Commotion, where participants will combine a speeding car collision and a distracted driving demonstration in a simulated activity that investigates the physical and human factors of motion. For more information on the event, please visit 4‑H National Youth Science Day.

About 4‑H

4‑H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for career tomorrow. 4‑H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4‑H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4‑H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4‑H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

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