- Author: Jill Simmons
Nathan is a 10-year 4-H member who has been involved in many projects including poultry, forestry, dogs, SLO scientists, and engineering. He is a member of the Ophir 4-H Club. Nathan's interest and leadership in 4-H Computer Science has grown through opportunities to serve as a teen leader in a Minecraft map making project, a Unity game development project, and as the teen leader in a Virtual Reality (VR) Game Development Project. In the VR Game Development Project, he taught 4-H members how to design game levels, how to program using the C# programming language, and VR-specific concepts. Nathan is inspired by the opportunity to encourage affinity for the sciences in others.
“4-H has provided the opportunity to enrich my teaching skills, practice interacting with students, and work as a team,” said Nathan. The challenges encountered were securing funding to rent spaces to hold meetings and for purchasing computers. Low project enrollment was also an obstacle. Nathan said, “In order to address enrollment, we posted our flier on various social media outlets, including Facebook and community pages, as well as handing out fliers in person. We opted to reserve meeting space months in advance at a centrally located, convenient public library.”
In 4-H, Nathan has enjoyed teaching computer science competency by fostering conceptual understanding, and by “helping others in providing an affordable opportunity to learn computer science.” Nathan said, “Members of the projects were grateful to learn new skills. Parents have expressed gratitude for their positive experience, as they were able to attend and work along with their children.” He has also found that his 4-H leadership experiences have enhanced his college and career-building opportunities. He plans to establish a VR software studio and pursue a degree in computer science./span>