Cambri Mushrush is Adding a STEM to the 4-H Experience

Coding and technology is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Tuscarawas County Fair, but if it’s up to Cambri Mushrush, that will soon change. Cambri’s passion for STEM is palpable and she’s determined to pass it on to the next generation.

A Traditional Beginning

Cambri’s journey in 4-H started in a traditional way. She grew up on a farm, admiring her older brother Joey, excitedly awaiting her turn to take on a project. In her first year, she turned her anticipation into success, winning Grand Champion with  her hog, Johnny Cash. Cambri shares that this is easily her favorite memory from the fair, but that was just the beginning.

 

Cambri and Johnny Cash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-H Camp is another traditional right of passage. Cambri’s yearning to attend camp started just like many kids, “As a kid, I admired everything about my brother. I copied everything he did and couldn’t wait to grow up and do all the cool things I saw him do. One of his most exciting activities was going to 4-H Camp. I watched him come home every year and tell crazy stories of muddy slip-and-slides, spaghetti kickball, and duct tape raft races across the lake. I wanted nothing more than to grow up and run head first into it all. Though a week away from home, in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service doesn’t sound like every eight-year-old’s dream, it was mine.”

Cambri and her brother Joey.

A New Realm of 4-H Possibilities

When she had her chance to attend camp, she took it. She began her experiences first as a camper and then as a counselor. This was when she met Michelle Moon who introduced her to a, “whole new realm of possibilities within the computer science and education fields,” and inspired Cambri’s love of coding and teaching the next generation. She worked with Michelle to plan and lead STEM sessions at 4-H camps. Cambri’s enthusiasm is infectious as she shares her experience,

“Through a grant from OSU, our older youth program received Sphero BOLTS, which are small, robotic balls that are controlled by coding or by a remote. With this technology, I taught a coding session at our STEM day camp and saw sixty faces light up. Growing up in rural, Tuscarawas County with little to no access to high-speed internet, these little robots were a novelty. Leading a session that was so foreign to these kids was difficult. But by the end, they had learned a new program, worked through many challenges and created something from scratch. They saw the results of their perseverance in the performance of their robot.

Having fun at camp

Inspiring the Next Generation

This fall, Cambi will be attending the University of Alabama, majoring in computer science and participating in their STEM to MBA track, with the intention of graduating with a Bachelor in Computer Science and a Master in Business Administration. This means she may not be able to make it home for the fair week this year, however she’ll be taking all of the passion, knowledge, and experiences she gained through 4-H with her to Tuscaloosa.

Cambri reflects, “For me, being a camp counselor was not just about participating in the classic camp antics, but about inspiring the next generation of campers, counselors, programmers, doctors, engineers, teachers, and more. I hope I had a role in broadening their perspective of technology and realizing that they’re capable of so much more than they could’ve imagined.”  In Alabama, she plans to continue participating in service projects, mentor younger children, and continue her time in the 4-H program after college. 

Making an impact on the next generation

Melding of Tradition and Technology

While the arc of Cambri’s 4-H journey was anything but typical, the consistent components of the 4-H program, camp, and Tuscarawas County Fair all contributed to her past successes and future ambitions. Family, friends, and mentors guided and supported her as she put in the hard work to find success in both traditional and innovative ways. So yes, the fair is about livestock, square dances, and fresh-squeezed lemonade, but it’s also about robots, coding, and technology. 

Cambri says, “I am so grateful for my time in 4-H because it has brought me some of my best friends. It has a way of bringing people together through experiences.” Through 4-H, Cambri Mushrush fused her array of experiences and interests to bring something new to the program, forging her path forward while introducing the next generation to new possibilities. 

A new realm of future possibilities for Cambri and her campers

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