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Joseph Huff: Using Passion for STEM to Help Others


One of the many joys of having a passion you love is sharing it with others around you and using your skills to help your community. Joseph Huff, this year’s 4-H Youth in Action STEM Pillar winner, sponsored by HughesNet, has done just that during a year in which support – no matter how big or small – goes a long way. The YIA Awards program recognizes 4-H’ers who use the knowledge they gained through 4-H to create a lasting impact in their communities.

At the onset of COVID-19, Joseph learned from his aunt, a local nurse, that healthcare workers were having trouble getting the personal protective equipment they needed. Upon hearing this, Joseph partnered with a local workspace company, Kiln, to produce 1,000 ear-relief bands for frontline workers at the University of Utah Hospital. The bands eased the strain that workers had around their ears after wearing masks for hours. In addition to ear-release bands for frontline hospital works, Joseph also 3D printed face masks for local law enforcement.

But his pursuits of helping others by using his STEM knowledge didn’t stop there. Most recently, Joseph used his technical acumen to help fix a laser cutter at the Utah County 4-H extension office. While he had never used a laser cutter like that personally, he was confident he could successfully repair it with hard work and dedication – plus approximately 10 hours of YouTube tutorials.

Joseph also had the opportunity to deliver closing remarks at this year’s National 4-H Youth Summit on STEM through his ambassador role. At this event and throughout the year, Joseph has candidly spoken about the positive impact 4-H had on him, especially with providing access to the support and resources he needed to nurture and pursue his passion for 3D printing.

“My local 4-H helped me out so much. It’s incredible the power of what 4-H can do.” – Joseph Huff, 4-H and HughesNet Youth in Action STEM Pillar Award winner

Joseph’s accomplishments this year are a testament to his signature can-do attitude, innate curiosity, and genuine desire to help others, which all contributed to his 2020 YIA Award win. Despite the pandemic, the 17-year-old Utah Valley native successfully found ways throughout the year to support his local community with his flourishing STEM expertise.

While December marks the end of his role as STEM Pillar Ambassador, 2021 will be a year of new beginnings for Joseph. He will embark upon the next phase of his STEM education, majoring in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. There, he looks forward to broadening his 3D printing horizons to include computer numerical control (CNC) and laser cutting. Still, his ultimate goal remains the same.

“I hope I can continue to help people in the future,” he says. “It really makes me happy and I love doing it.”

As for Joseph’s advice to 2021 YIA STEM Pillar Award winner Aidan Spencer and his fellow 4-Hers, he says to “Give it your all but, most importantly, be yourself.”

To learn more about Joseph and his experience as the 2020 YIA STEM Pillar award winner, check out our blogs from March and August.

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