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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Ohio 4-H sparks agricultural career exploration

2023 Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO campers.

In addition to county fairs, camps, and projects, Ohio 4-H is a place to build essential workforce skills for tomorrow’s thinkers, innovators, and leaders. The Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO continues to give youth the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a college student on Ohio State’s campuses.

More than 30 youth, representing 20 counties, learned about agriculture and related STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) fields from industry experts, and faculty and staff of The Ohio State University College of Evan Hines digs a golf course cup in the turfgrass management career exploration session on the CFAES Wooster campus.Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“The EXPO really opened my eyes to all the possibilities at Ohio State’s CFAES,” Evan Hines, a Pike County 4-H member, said. “I thought about careers in the dairy industry, but I never considered exploring careers in turfgrass management before!”

As part of the experience, participants visited Ohio State’s Columbus and Wooster campuses and learned from Ohio State students, teachers, scientists, and researchers across the nine academic departments that make up CFAES.

One of the career sessions allowed Spark participants to explore flavor profiles with animal protein. Dr. Lyda Garcia, associate professor in animal science, tasked participants to create their own seasoning mixture to enhance the flavors of the A group of Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO participants learns about welding safety and career opportunities available in the CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering.protein.

“Not all young people will find their way to a four-year college, but it is important for them to know 4-H is a space to prepare them for wherever their path may lead them after high school,” said Margo Overholt-Seckel, 4-H Workforce Development and Pathways program manager. “Spark is just one of the many 4-H opportunities that introduces them to a variety of educational and career options they may not know about.”

The 4-H Spark EXPO is sponsored by the support of the Sauder 4-H Career Development Fund and Precision Auto & Towing in Marion, Ohio.

For a more in-depth look at the 2023 Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO experience, view this year’s video here.

The 2024 Ohio 4-H Spark EXPO is scheduled for next June 12–15, and registration will open in spring 2024.