Chevy Chase, MD (October 4, 2021) – In celebration of National 4-H Week, National 4-H Council today announced that Dhruv Rebba, 17, of Normal, Illinois, is the winner of the 2022 4-H Youth in Action Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) sponsored by HughesNet®. Rebba is recognized as an accomplished STEM leader and founder of the nonprofit, Universal Help, which has digitized and provided textbooks, internet access, and technology to schools in rural India. He has also created opportunities for more young people in his community to access STEM education by establishing 4-H robotics clubs at local schools. For these efforts, he will be recognized nationally and receive a $5,000 scholarship. Launched in 2010, the 4-H Youth in Action Awards honor 4-H’ers who have applied the knowledge gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their communities.
Rebba, a University of Illinois Extension 4-H’er, founded Universal Help in ninth grade with the mission of “improving the quality of life for people all over the world in innovative ways.” After visiting his father’s home village in India and witnessing their lack of internet access and digital literacy, Rebba worked with the local community to establish access to digital resources in school by providing textbooks, computers, and other technology to students. His work in this rural Indian community has continued through providing relief during natural disasters, establishing an isolation center during the recent Covid-19 Delta variant surge, and working to expand solar energy access to residents.
In 4-H, Rebba found affordable and accessible STEM education. Using the leadership and problem-solving skills he learned in 4-H, he transformed his interest in STEM into a tool to help other students in Illinois and across the world find affordable and accessible STEM education, too. He established two new robotics clubs in his community and advocated with national policymakers for increased support for after-school STEM programs for youth. He is also a founding member of the 4-H in Space and mission command team, partnering with University of Illinois STEM Extension and Lab for Advanced Space Stations at Illinois (LASSI).
“4-H gave me the confidence to know I can solve daunting problems. After conquering what seems like impossible challenges with my 4-H robotics team, I have known from a young age that I’m capable of doing a lot, and there’s a solution to be found for almost any problem,” Rebba said.
Rebba plans to pursue a career in engineering or computer science after graduating high school in 2022.
“The impact that Dhruv Rebba has demonstrated in his community and globally to advance accessibility to STEM education resources and Internet connectivity is admirable. He is the personification of a youth leader who inspires others by his actions,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president of marketing for HughesNet. “Powering a more connected future for people everywhere, no matter where they live, is central to the HughesNet mission, and we are honored to recognize Dhruv for the significant contributions he has personally made in this area.”
In addition to receiving the STEM scholarship for higher education, Rebba will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H STEM programming. He is joined by three other 2022 4-H Youth in Action Award Pillar Winners, Tashina Red Hawk of South Dakota (Agriculture), Brianna Attey Mouanjo of New York (Civic Engagement) and Kristin Osika of New Jersey (Healthy Living).
To learn more about the 4-H Youth in Action Awards and to view the other pillar winners from around the country, please visit: Here.