Nicole Cash of Farmington receives $5,000 scholarship, sponsored by HughesNet®, and serves as 4-H national youth spokesperson for STEM for 2023
CHEVY CHASE, MD (November 15, 2022) – National 4-H Council today announced that Nicole Cash, 20, of Farmington, Minn. was named winner of the 2023 4-H Youth in Action Award for STEM sponsored by HughesNet. Cash will be recognized nationally for her leadership applying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to improve people’s lives, which began when she led her robotics team in developing a modified Power Wheels ride-on car for a toddler unable to walk. This inspired Cash to help her high school robotics team launch their own chapter of child mobility project GoBabyGo!, build more devices and create online resources for others to create even more.
Launched in 2010, the 4-H Youth in Action Awards, sponsored in part by HughesNet, recognize 4-H’ers who have applied the knowledge gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their communities while overcoming personal obstacles.
As a national winner, Cash will experience an exciting year of telling her 4‑H story, inspiring other youth and celebrating her leadership. She also receives a $5,000 higher education scholarship and opportunities to showcase her story nationally, network with prominent 4-H alumni and HughesNet executives, and serve as the official 4‑H youth spokesperson for STEM.
“4-H gave me the confidence to develop and hone my leadership skills, allowing me to spearhead the creation of something that really makes a difference,” said Nicole Cash, Youth in Action Award Winner, STEM. “My experience in 4-H inspired me to help my team start their own chapter so robotics teams can make similar devices that solve issues that impact their communities.”
Working with her Minnesota Extension 4-H club, Cash found a passion for teaching and the outdoors, as well as acceptance as an LGBTQ youth. Her involvement in 4-H equipped Cash with the confidence and skills to lead her robotics team, known as “Rogue,” to create an affordable, custom mobility device for a toddler out of a Power Wheels car. She then helped the team launch their own chapter of child mobility project GoBabyGo!, the first in the Midwest, and organized workshops and resources for other robotics teams – yielding 27 of the devices nationwide so far.
“Nicole made significant contributions to supporting the independence of youth with disabilities through robotics and engineering. She exemplifies what it means to be a steward of STEM and a pillar in her community,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president, Hughes. “Enabling internet access for people everywhere is a core tenant of our mission at Hughes. We are thrilled to recognize Nicole for her achievements in ensuring children of all abilities can live more accessible lives.”
Cash is one of four 2023 4-H Youth in Action Award Pillar Winners, including Matias Habib of Illinois (Agriculture), Norah Carter of Pennsylvania (Healthy Living), and Sruthi Sudarsan of California (Civic Engagement). The announcement was made during National 4-H Week, held October 2–8 to celebrate and showcase the opportunities and impact that 4‑H offers young people across the country.
“We are proud to honor our 2023 Youth in Action winners, a group of exceptional young people who have overcome obstacles and made an incredible impact on their communities through Cooperative Extension’s 4-H programs,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. “By empowering these stand-out youth and fostering their skills to make change, they in turn can inspire thousands of other young people wanting to make a difference. When given the tools they need to lead, 4-H’ers like Matias, Sruthi, Norah and Nicole are becoming the next generation of changemakers in their communities and for our country.”
Cash is majoring in Ecology and Outdoor Recreation at Northern Michigan University and hopes to pursue a career as a conservation naturalist.
To learn more about the 4-H Youth in Action Awards sponsored by HughesNet, and to view the other pillar winners from around the country, head to 4-H’s website: www.4-h.org/youthinaction.