Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we are featuring Katie Smith, former OSU basketball player, WNBA standout and member of both the Women’s and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
I joined 4-H in Hocking County and was part of The Furnecettes 4-H club. I enjoyed learning how to sew, cook and eventually took steers and sheep to the fair. I even did some public speaking projects. 4-H taught me general life-skills such as sewing and cooking, but also responsibility. The day-to-day work that was involved in growing and caring for an animal was an invaluable skill that you carry on with you. I remember learning how to train a sheep that didn’t want to walk and how to groom a steer for the fair to make sure I was getting the hair just right. They are fun memories!
If I were to give current 4-H members some advice, I would tell them to invest in the projects to learn and grow. 4-H is amazingly broad and there are so many life lessons you can learn. The skills you learn by trying to finish a project are just like the skills you need to practice for a test where you want to put your best foot forward. 4-H provides the opportunity to practice important life-skills such as public speaking in an environment of supportive peers and mentors to help support growth.
I’ve got a lot of love for 4-H.
Katie is basketball icon. While attending Logan High School, Katie was awarded the National Gatorade Athlete of the Year Award. She attended Ohio State and led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship and the NCAA title game during her freshman year. She broke the Big Ten scoring record for points scored in both men’s and women’s basketball. Her hard work and talent on the court earned her two Big Ten Conference Player of the Year awards. Ohio State retired her jersey and she is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. Katie earned a B.A. in Life and Human Sciences (2008) and a M.S. in Medical Dietetics (2014).
Katie is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is one of the most decorated professional basketball players of all-time. She won two WNBA Championships with the Detroit Shock and two ABL Championships with the Columbus Quest. She was a 7-time WNBA All-Star and named to the WNBA All-Decade team, top 15 players of all time and most recently top 20 at 20.
Most recently, Katie was inducted as a first ballot member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Currently Katie is the head coach of the WNBA New York Liberty and is also an analyst for women’s college basketball for ESPN. She lives in Columbus and is always striving to empower women and grow the game she loves.
Katie Smith will be our guest speaker at the Ohio 4-H Foundation's annual fundraiser, Celebration of Youth. Come join us and support the Ohio 4-H Youth Development program. For ticket and sponsorship information contact email@example.com. Registration closes September 30.