Each month, we highlight an Ohio 4-H alum. Each individual has amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Miami County 4-H alumna Emma Eichenauer.
Emma has always had a love of animals and a passion for working with people. A senior at the University of Dayton studying environmental biology, she used the skills gained in 4-H to embark on meaningful endeavors that helped not only youth, but dolphins, manatees, sharks, and more. And it all started in Miami County.
“My 4-H experience mainly revolved around poultry projects,” said Emma. The former Miami County Poultry Queen showed market chickens for ten years, along with ducks, geese, turkey, market lambs, and a variety of non-livestock projects. Out of all her 4-H experiences, she most enjoyed fair week each year. Through showing her animals, eating some delicious food, and being with family and friends, she said the fair “was a place to have fun and showcase all the hard work I put in throughout the year.”
Emma’s hard work definitely paid off. Through her 4-H projects, she not only gained a love of animals, but also a strong understanding of responsibility, leadership, and public speaking. Those skills directly translated to her experiences while a student at the University of Dayton, with opportunities working in Florida.
At the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, she educated youth about conservation and marine animal life. While at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, she worked with common bottlenose dolphins and rehabbed manatees. She also worked with an aquarium and marine biology team at Disney, where she discovered more about aquariums and smaller species of sharks, rays, and fish. Emma said, “4-H taught me that I wanted to spend my time working with animals and it inspired me to go out and find these internship opportunities where I was able to work with animals in a completely new way.”
Emma encouraged all 4-H members to “work hard, have fun, and take in every moment, because the memories you make now will go forward with you forever.” Her 4-H experiences propelled her to toward a career focused on inspiring youth and improving our planet. She is excited to give back to 4-H by serving as a mentor, species advisor, or auction buyer. From Miami County to our world’s oceans, Emma is truly “making the best better” by creating a lasting impact on people and animals.