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UA going full STEAM ahead in Yuma
Yuma’s economy is powered by STEAM — science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics.
The University of Arizona is generating STEAM as we execute our three-fold mission of fostering access, quality and discovery, and fulfill the abiding purpose of education and research — to enrich lives of others. We are we proud of our outreach and academic presence here.
UA is the state’s university, a land-grant university established by the Morrill Land-Grant Acts, which put a focus on the practical outcomes of education. This year we celebrate the UA’s 125th anniversary and, as many of you know, Tucson originally did not want a university. It wanted the insane asylum and the related $100,000 of state funding.
From the very earliest years, UA had a prominent statewide presence. In 1887, the Hatch Act established agricultural experiment stations, and UA founded stations in Yuma as well as Tucson, Phoenix and Tempe. These stations studied soils, climate, and the care, propagation and marketing of plants.
Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, which complemented the Morrill Act by establishing the Cooperative Extension Service in state land-grant universities and enabling use of federal funds. The Arizona Legislature accepted Smith-Lever the same year and approved counties to fund the extension service.
For almost 100 years, Cooperative Extension has been a conduit for bringing research-based educational programs that strengthen the local economy, youth, families, communities and the environment. Cooperative Extension serves about 26,000 Yuma County residents every year.
It is no surprise to those familiar with Yuma County’s 200,000 acres of active agricultural production that there are more than 600 farms and well over 200 agriculture-related businesses in this area or that agricultural production grosses more than $1 billion per year.
Cooperative Extension is the vital link between academia and application. Extension agents deliver the latest research findings to growers and producers in relevant areas, such as grower-level food safety, weed-control, and precision agricultural techniques.
The importance of agriculture does not diminish the impact of Cooperative Extension’s other relevant programs, such as 4-H, active in almost 30 Yuma-area schools and offering educational programs such as Tobacco Prevention and Youth Leadership.
The Extension Master Gardeners program trains residents who become a network able to answer neighbor’s questions about lawns, shrubs, trees and gardens. Extension, in cooperation with UA College of Medicine and the College of Public Health, offer classes for residents dealing with diabetes, obesity, asthma and other life-impeding ailments.
About 425 volunteers – your neighbors — help make Cooperative Extension here a success.
We are extending our academic presence in Yuma to meet community needs.
You may be aware of the Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) that we offer in partnership of the Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University. We are proud of the integrated curriculum that serves the area and the industry, and allows residents to advance in the workplace. We plan to offer a Yuma-based bachelor’s in logistics and supervision next fall and are working out the details with our academic partners.
We are mindful of Yuma’s culture that beckons its young people to remain or return to the area. Tanya Hodges, the UA Academic Programs Coordinator-Yuma who is a fourth-generation area resident, says about 85 percent of Yuma kids who grew up here want to come back.
Hodges spends three hours Mondays-Thursdays in the area high schools, talking to students about their futures and educations, helping them with college applications and essays, or discussing how what they are learning is relevant and ties to their career goals.
This summer, she took Yuma-area high school students to camps in Yuma and Tucson allowing them to explore opportunities in pharmacology and agriculture.
Notably, this fall we begin offering the introductory engineering course in high school with concurrent UA registration. Eventually, we would like to build a STEAM academy in high school where students could earn and transfer general education credits.
Yuma’s future is STEAM driven and the UA stands with the community to build and strengthen Yuma’s economic core.
For more information on Yuma County Cooperative Extension call (928) 726-3904 or visit the website http://extension.arizona.edu/yuma. For more information on the Yuma academic program visit the website http://cals.arizona.edu/yumaacademic or email Tanya Hodges at email@example.com. E-mail Robert N. Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org