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Empowering Futures: Juntos 4-H PASA at Purdue University

Summer is a time for exploration and discovery, and a collaboration with Indiana 4-H and the Office of Multicultural Programs showcased that through the Juntos 4-H Purdue Agribusiness Science Academy (PASA). This one-day summer academy offers Juntos 4-H youth throughout the state of Indiana an opportunity to explore a variety of agriculture and natural resources topics through a series of workshops. This year several Juntos 4-H youth participated from all over Indiana. For many it was their first time at Purdue University.

One of the main components of Juntos 4-H is providing summer programming to give Latino(a)/x/e youth a taste of the college experience. In Indiana, 37% of Latinos(as)/x/es are younger than 18. Several Juntos 4-H youth identify as future first-generation college students. Through PASA, Juntos 4-H provides a promising intervention to help youth explore the idea of higher education and postsecondary options. 


PASA helped me feel more prepared for college. This experience helped me explore careers in the agricultural field that I did not even know existed.”

- Jaylynn Hernandez, a Jackson County Juntos 4-H Youth

Topics ranging from Agriculture Engineering, Entomology, Forestry and Natural Resources, Horticulture, Agronomy, and Food Science were introduced at Juntos 4-H PASA, and all were facilitated by College of Agriculture faculty, staff, and students. All youth, through hands-on activities, learned about unconfined and confined aquifers by making an edible aquifer and learned more about growing plants while creating a mini greenhouse. “It was a great experience and I strongly suggest you do it,” said Diego Aguilar, a Jackson County Juntos 4-H Youth. “I learned a lot of cool things, such as the good proteins a cricket has. We also got an opportunity to eat Rice Krispie treats with crickets inside them.”

Juntos 4-H parents participated as volunteers for the summer academy. “I participated to support the students and keep them safe on the trip and support the organizers and learn about the university,” said Leslie Paz, a Daviess County parent. Ely Mendoza, also from Daviess County, said,  “I mainly participated to accompany and support my daughter on the trip, for her to get to know the university, explore more study options, and to have a new experience for her life. This was possible thanks to this program and its coordinators.”

Daviess County parent Maria Pozos said Juntos 4-H “has helped us get to know about all opportunities that it has to offer and to help motivate my sons and daughters to continue studying. For my granddaughter, this university (Purdue) is her favorite, and it was her dream to visit. Now that she was able to be there, she is delighted and convinced that this will be her university.”

Luis Santiago is an Extension Educator and coordinator for Daviess County Juntos 4-H. “I personally believe that the Juntos 4-H program gives an opportunity for Latino parents/guardians to get connected with their students and become actively involved in their academic and life success journey,” Santiago said. “By joining/volunteering at Juntos 4-H PASA, parents/guardians can get a glimpse of what the future can hold for their children, through the career exploration activities. They can also be active participants of the activities, alongside their children and have the chance to connect with other Juntos 4-H parents/guardians, helping to build a stronger and more supportive network for our youth participants.”

Juntos 4-H PASA ended with a lot of smiles and plenty of learning. For many counties, PASA marks the end of the yearlong Juntos 4-H program. The opportunity to learn and explore at Purdue University can help the Juntos 4-H youth prepare for their future. Perhaps they will carry with them not only  newfound knowledge but also a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and readiness for future endeavors – one of the main missions of Indiana Juntos 4-H.

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