"4-H taught me how to develop friendships and work with people of all ages and backgrounds. I can't think of anything more important, as I use these life skills everyday."

Years in 4-H

B.S. '04, Ag Leadership Education, University of Illinois; M.S. '08 Ag Education, Oklahoma State University


4-H Youth Development Specialist, K-State Research and Extension

Favorite 4-H Projects: Foods & Nutrition, Clothing Purchase, Beef & Swine

How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills today?

4-H taught me at an early age how to express my thoughts and ideas, and most importantly, that all voices matter. I learned that not all of my ideas would come to fruition, to work through obstacles, and to set goals for myself.

Did 4-H instill a career path for you?

My entire 4-H experience instilled my career and passion for Cooperative Extension work. However, I should add that my foods project leader really taught me well and inspired my love for all things cooking and baking- we had so much fun in her kitchen learning and laughing together

What advice do you have for someone interested in your career path?

Pursue a degree from a land grant university. Take courses from professors who value and understand the mission of teaching, research and extension. Much of the work I do is very adaptive. There usually isn't a step by step way of accomplishing something, and often, there is no tangible, finished product. Developing innovative programs and resources to help youth thrive in adulthood is a lengthy process. You might not see the impact for many years, but it is oh so worth it!

What advice would you give a current 4-H member?

Never stop learning! Find something that you're passionate about, surround yourself with people who care about you, and seek out opportunities to make the best better.

Why should young people join 4-H today?

4-H will help you discover what you're passionate about and connect you with caring adults who will teach and guide you through your childhood and adolescence. 4-H will also introduce you to some of the best, lifelong friendships you'll ever have.