Youth invited to learn computer programming at STEM Academy

Have you ever wondered how Facebook suggests the names of friends in photos or how apps recognize the sounds of birds or the plants in your yard? STEM Academy 2021 will be looking at just those questions as we dive into the world of neural networks and machine learning (tinyML).  Students will be working with an Arduino Tiny Machine Learning Kit and Edge Impulse to train the device to recognize images and sounds. 

STEM Academy sessions this year will be June 14-18, from 10-11:30 a.m. online.  Participants will pick up a kit at the University of Illinois Extension office in Peoria prior to the sessions that will include the materials they need for the sessions, as well as some fun additional activities. 

STEM Academy is open to youth entering 6th-8th grades. Due to the limited capacity of the academy, there is an online application process.  Applications are due May 17 and selected participants will be notified by May 21.

Students will keep their project at the end of the STEM Academy and will have opportunities to continue working with the platform. 

Interested youth can learn more

STEM Academy is an annual program made possible through the collaborative work of Pearl Technology, Richwoods Township, Caterpillar, and University of Illinois Extension, 4-H.

For more information about 4-H, in addition to other youth and adult programs offered through University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit, visit our website at


About University of Illinois Extension: University of Illinois Extension is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offering educational programs to residents of all of Illinois' 102 counties — and far beyond. Extension provides practical education you can trust to help people, businesses, and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. U of I Extension offers educational programs in five broad areas: energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security, and wellness, and youth development.

About 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

Source: Judy Schmidt – 4-H Youth Development Educator, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit, 309-685-3140