New 4-H instructor to teach STEM, life skills

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2022

With a new school year underway, students at several schools in Lawrence County will see a new face this fall.

Zoie Clay started as program assistant for Lawrence County 4-H on Aug. 15 and will be working with local schools on youth development and STEM education.

Clay said she is originally from Lawrence County and her father graduated from St. Joseph High School in Ironton before moving to Mississippi.

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Clay got her undergraduate from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana and her masters degree in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C.

Shortly after graduation, she said the COVID-19 pandemic began as she was deciding on her next path,
eventually working as a substitute teacher.

Clay said, with 4-H, she will be using grant funding from Apple and the Ohio Department of Education to work not just with traditional 4-H students, but to target those who “aren’t being reached and are underserved.”

She said she has already visited Ironton’s elementary and middle schools and has created lesson plans, where she will teach things such as creative coding using a robotic sphere, educating students on concepts such as graphic design.

Clay, who will work with three other staff in the 4-H office, including director Rachael Fraley, will also be coordinating with afterschool programs for Rock Hill and Symmes Valley schools.

In addition to STEM, she will focus on areas such as workforce development, healthy living and mental health.

She said she also wants to incorporate the space program into her lessons, as her father works for NASA.

In the high schools, she hopes to create a “real world survival camp” for the high schools, in which she would go through needed skills.

“This would be things like buying a house and how to do taxes,” she said. “So they are getting those adulting skills.”

She plans to do things such as resume workshops and college and career fairs.

“We want to show as many possible opportunities to them as we can,” she said.