Andrew Bosworth credits 4-H with driving his passion for science and technology when he was young. And it led him to a career as an executive at one of the largest social networking companies in the world. "4-H Inspires Kids to Do" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with the 4-H Organization.
4-H Inspires Kids to Do -- Andrew Bosworth
CRAIG MELVIN, NBC NEWS:
I’m Craig Melvin. As an alum of 4-H, I know when some people recall their involvement, they think of growing vegetables on a farm, or showing animals at the county fair. But one man credits 4-H with driving his passion for science and technology when he was young. And it led him to a career as an executive at one of the largest technology companies in the world-- Facebook. Now he is paying it forward and investing $1 million in 4-H, inspiring a whole new generation to develop an interest in STEM. Here’s his story.
ANDREW BOSWORTH: Ohh, what happens?
ARCHER: It lights it back on fire.
BOSWORTH: And it gets a lot brighter, look at that.
My name is Andrew Bosworth. I'm the vice president of augmented and virtual reality at Facebook. I'm a computer scientist. And I'm a 4-H alum.
I grew up in the Bay Area, on a horse ranch and a vineyard that had been in my family for a long time. As long as I can remember I've been a part of the 4-H community. I was in 4-H as long as they let me stay in, from nine to nineteen.
I was a member of the El Sereno 4-H Club. When I started out, the agricultural components of 4-H that people think about really were the centerpiece. But as I grew, I really started to expand what I saw as possible. And I started to go into things that are adjacent like marine biology and forestry, and then ultimately into things that I was just interested in like technology and computers.
One of the nice things about 4-H was it introduced me to other kids who had their own passions. And I could learn from them. And in the case of computer programming, a kid came over and on my own computer that I had at home taught me how to program it. And then when he left, I didn't stop. I kept programming and learning more about it. And so that idea that you can exchange a passion with somebody else, even at a young age and have that turn into a lifelong passion, I've always thought was really special and something that not everyone has access to who isn't in a program like 4-H that really invites kids to explore new things.
Today, I'm working on some of the coolest stuff around, augmented reality and virtual reality. I feel like I owe a lot in my career to 4-H, and not just the technology parts which it introduced me to, but also just public speaking and community service and engagement and leadership and being a part of a team.
This is three percent hydrogen peroxide. Why don’t you pour some right into here.
Science Saturday started when my wife told me that it might be a good idea for me to have some structured activities to do with the kids. So we started science Saturdays where every Saturday we spend some time in the garage doing experiments.
Dump that back in there. Good. Woah! What’s going on in there?
ARCHER: A reaction!
BOSWORTH: Archer loves the action. He loves it when there's a color change or there's bubbles or there's something big that happens.
That’s so cool. That was a big bubble.
One of the things that we've been thinking about for a while is, this is so easy to do and it's so much fun and so engaging. Is there a way to connect this to more parents and more kids? And 4-H is the first thing I thought of. There's not a better or bigger youth organization in the country. And STEM has been a focus of 4-H for a while now. So they're really well equipped to help bring this type of learning and education into the community.
4-H was such a big part of my childhood. And I've been thinking for a while of what's the best way to get the next generation of kids as excited about STEM as I am and as I want my kids to be? So my wife and I are giving $1 million gift to 4-H to start funding programs that introduce STEM to more kids in the program across the nation.
4-H isn't just cows and cooking, it turns out. It's actually bigger than that. It's really about this leadership, community and having a civic mind in terms of how you approach what you can give to a community and how you develop the skills to do just that.
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