At 9 years old, Joseph Huff from Orem, Utah became interested in 3D printing during a class at a local university. However, it wasn’t until he joined a Utah 4-H club a short time later that he realized his true passion for 3D printing. Then at the age of 13, he started using his hobby to help others. That year, while volunteering with his mentor at the 4-H STEM maker trailer at the Utah County Fair, Joseph helped print a 3-D prosthetic hand for a child in need.
With his interest sparked, after the fair, Joseph visited Shriners Hospital with his 4-H STEM club, and learned that 3-D printing prosthetics was a more cost-effective method to produce the various size hands that children need as they grow. With the support of his 4-H chapter, Joseph purchased a state-of-the-art 3-D printer and all the materials necessary to get started. He then partnered with a nonprofit to build and distribute prosthetic hands to children, both in his local community and across the country.
Joseph’s inspiring story stood out from among more than 200 candidates from across the country to win this year’s 4-H Youth in Action STEM Pillar Award, sponsored by HughesNet. The STEM Pillar is one of four pillar awards given by the National 4-H Council each year. Along with the recognition, Joseph received a $5,000 college scholarship, sponsored by HughesNet.
Joseph’s work is far from finished. Since receiving the STEM Pillar Award, Joseph has continued to work on a wrist-activated exoskeleton to help stroke victims, like his father, regain mobility in their hands. Most recently, Joseph has turned his attention to helping his community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In collaboration with a 3D printing company, he printed face masks for local law enforcement, and, on his own, Joseph created the mask bands for healthcare workers at the University of Utah Hospital.
As a strong supporter of advancing rural STEM education in the United States, HughesNet is proud to sponsor the 4-H Youth In Action STEM Pillar Award for the fourth consecutive year, and work with 4-H on STEM education initiatives like STEM Lab.
To learn more about Joseph and the 4-H Youth in Action Awards, click here.
To learn more about how HughesNet and 4-H work together to promote rural STEM education, click here.