Public Info

Union County Teens Attend Rutgers Science Week

Union County – Six youths from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County’s 4-H Program attended the Rutgers 4-H Summer Science Program from July 9th to the 13th where they were given the opportunity to explore the world of science and discover what Rutgers has to offer post high school graduation.

“A program like this is a great motivator for our youth,” said Freeholder Vice Chairman Linda Carter. “It exposes teenagers to the limitless possibilities that await them beyond their high school years. I’m happy that the Freeholder Board can help support engaging educational opportunities like this one.”

This year’s participants were Andrew Hall of Scotch Plains, as well as Niah Simmons, Ashley Zarrelli, Zayna Allen, Melanie Williams, and Kaiya Tweedy, all of whom are from Plainfield.  As part of the program, students had the opportunity to meet with Rutgers researchers, learn more about the application of science in daily life, and explore the varied areas of ongoing research throughout the Rutgers campus.

At the university’s Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences students had the opportunity to see Rutgers’ famed undersea glider and learn about the chemistry and biology of the sea; while at the Exercise Physiology Department those with an interest sports medicine were able to get an inside look at how Rutgers is researching how to treat and prevent injuries related to sports and exercise.

Participants in the summer program have completed their freshman year in high school and are selected based on teacher recommendations and participation in an extensive application process that includes writing an essay and interviews by their local 4-H staff.

As a condition for participating in the program, each of the selected youths has to provide a minimum of 45 hours of service to their local 4-H program. This commitment includes working with 4-H staff in their community to provide science-focused after-school and summer programming to younger children.

For more information about the Union County 4-H Program please contact Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agent James Nichnadowicz at 908-654-9854, email

The annual Rutgers 4-H Summer Science Program began in 2009, with 45 students drawn from similar urban communities around New Jersey, with the objective of encouraging youth to participate in science and research in a series of interactive activities, and gain a better understanding of opportunities available in science, engineering, and technology. The program is sponsored by the Tyco Corporation.


Caption: Melanie Williams of Plainfield at Rutgers Science Week measuring chemicals that will be used to extract DNA from Strawberry cells. (Photo by Rutgers Cooperative Extension)

For more information on any Union County press release, please contact Sebastian D’Elia, Communications Director for the County of Union, or a designee listed at the top of this press release. Please join the County of Union online at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at


“Rutgers Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. Contact your local Extension Office for information regarding special needs or accommodations. Contact the State Extension Director’s Office if you have concerns related to discrimination, 732-932-5000, ext. 584.”