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National 4-H Council Names Winner of ‘Youth In Action’ Award for STEM


Thaddeus Hughes of Shirley, Illinois Will Receive a Scholarship From HughesNet® and Serve as a 4-H Spokesperson for STEM

Chevy Chase, MD  – At its 7th annual awards event in Washington, D.C on April 12, National 4-H Council named Thaddeus Hughes, 18, of Shirley, Illinois, the winner of the 2016 Youth In Action Award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Hughes will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and $5,000 for additional STEM programming in McLean County, IL, his home county, from HughesNet®, the nation’s #1 satellite Internet service, sponsor of the 2016 Youth In Action Award for STEM.

As a Youth In Action Award winner, Hughes will serve as a spokesperson for 4-H, educating youth and adults about the impact of 4-H STEM programming, discussing his personal story and inspiring youth to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. Thad is joined in his role as a 2016 winner by Jacob Shuman, who won for Agricultural and Animal Sciences; Alexandria “Lexie” Lerblance, who won for Citizenship; and Ruwanthi “Ru” Ekanayake, who won for Healthy Living.

“Out of the hundreds of submissions we received this year, Thad’s stood out from the crowd not only for his incredible talents in robotics and engineering, but for his dedication to sharing his passion and skills to make a positive impact in his community,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO of National 4-H Council. “4-H’ers like Thad show just how much positive impact 4-H youth leaders can have on their communities and the world around them.”

Through talks, demonstrations, workshops and interviews, Hughes has engaged more than 6,000 youth in the wonders of science. He has been a mentor for FIRST Lego League and the Illinois State Robotics Competition for four years. Hughes has also served as a mentor for four years and developed an afterschool program through the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, called Spinning Robots, in which he taught 50 middle schoolers basic circuitry and how to build simple robots. He is currently studying engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, one of the nation’s top ranked undergraduate schools in engineering.

“We’re thrilled to support a young man as talented and ambitious as Thad,” said Peter Gulla, senior vice president of marketing, Hughes. “He not only has a bright future ahead of him in the field of engineering, but has already established himself as a leader and a role model for other youth with an interest in STEM. Our goal through our partnership with 4-H is to empower young people like Thad so they can not only change the world, but inspire others to do so as well.”

To learn more about Thad Hughes, watch his video here.