"4-H gave me the confidence to relax and talk to a crowd. The confidence I gained from speaking and giving demonstrations at 4-H meetings has served me well in life."

Years in 4-H

B.S. '70 Plant Sciences, University of Illinois; M.S. '71 Plant Breeding & Genetics, University of Illinois; Ph.D. '78 Plant Breeding & Genetics, University of Wisconsin Madison


Retired, Self-Employed, Global Plant Breeding Consultant

Favorite 4-H Projects:  Sheep, Cattle, Crops, Electricity, Photography, International Programs

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

Mentoring and Continuing Education are critical. Being an officer helped me gain leadership skills.

Share the Fun contests helped me to interact and have fun.

One of the greatest experiences I had as a 4-H member was standing in front of an audience and giving a speech or a demonstration. I can still remember vividly assisting my older brother Ed as he gave one demonstration. It was summertime and we were meeting at the Talkington Township building in Sangamon county. Ed’s demonstration was on the danger of dust explosions. He attached a short hose to a funnel that was then filled with wheat flour. My job was to hold a lit candle at the edge of the funnel as he blew. Fortunately the demonstration had been moved outside; the flame shot up from the funnel at least 6 feet in the air. A huge gasp came from the 4-H members and their parents. The danger of dust explosions did not need any further discussion. Sixty years later, I’m sure I could repeat the exact same demonstration. We had numerous other experiences, and fortunately (I think) everyone survived. The confidence I gained from speaking and giving demonstrations at 4-H meetings has served me well in life.

Did 4-H instill a career path for you?

I worked my entire career in Plant Science Research.

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

Failure is required to learn how to grow and improve. Get a summer job/internship that an lead to an entry level job. Learn from those who have experience.

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

Get out of your comfort zone!!

Why should young people join 4-H today?

Learn, Meet new People, have Fun.