4-H State Leaders
North Carolina 4-H State Leader
Mitzi Downing, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695
Dr. Downing teaches five courses in the Family Life and Youth Development program at NC State University and provides statewide leadership to the NC 4-H Youth Development's "Futures that Work: School to Career Initiative " which includes STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program areas. Dr. Downing serves as the NC 4-H marketing & public relations director and is responsible for all federal reporting procedures. Mitzi has a doctorate in higher education administration and training and development from NC State University. Mitzi also holds a master's degree in public administration with a concentration in organizational development and bachelor's degree in political science and marketing form East Carolina University. Mitzi is an avid runner and hiker. She enjoys yoga, pilates, reading, and she loves to enter chili cook-off's (she's even won a couple). Mitzi is married to Clay Downing and they have a vivacious 7-year-old boy named Noah.
TechXCite Program Locations in North Carolina:
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base - Goldsboro, NC
- Wayne County 4-H, Goldsboro, NC
- Wilson County 4-H, Wilson, NC
- Mecklenburg County 4-H & Parks and Recreation Center(s), Charlotte, NC
- Iredell County 4-H, Statesville, NC
- Cumberland County 4-H, Fayetteville, NC
- Fort Bragg Army Base, Fayetteville, NC
- Moore County 4-H, Southern Pines, NC
- Person County 4-H, Roxboro, NC
- Yancey County 4-H Burnsville, NC
- Craven County 4-H, New Bern, NC
- Cherry Point Marine Base, Havelock, NC
- Carteret County 4-H, Beaufort, NC
- Guilford County 4-H, Greensboro, NC
- Northampton County 4-H, Roanoke Rapids & Easton, NC
- Vance County 4-H, Henderson, NC
- Wake County 4-H, Raleigh, NC
North Carolina 4-H was a pioneer in the after school program area. In the early 1980's, North Carolina 4-H worked with our state's Department of Health and Human Services to build a comprehensive "Out-of-School-Time (OST)" framework that designed statewide competencies and a professional development plan for after school / OST professionals. Over the past thirty-plus years North Carolina 4-H has played an influential role in both the quality and quantity of after school / OTS programs across North Carolina. In 2012, North Carolina 4-H reached over 7,000 youth through our after school 4-H club programs, and our 4-H Agents reached over 8,500 youth in childcare centers (before and after school programs). North Carolina 4-H believes that after school / OTS programs can play an important role in the development of a young person and that by infusing quality STEM efforts (like TechXcite) in these sites we can enhance a young person's academic skills and foster a passion for STEM.
TechXcite is a wonderful program that provides a variety of STEM opportunities (via several curriculum pieces) and tools for their usage. The online format makes it easy to access each curriculum piece and its companion training video (plus on site training can be provided by staff members). *It's important to note that many after school / OTS professionals do not feel competent in teaching STEM and/or implementing STEM programs. Thus, it's important to have a training group like 4-H that can dispel any issues they may have about the program and /or its implementation."
North Carolina 4-H has used the TechXcite curricula to enhance our STEM efforts in both our after school and summer STEM outreach programs. Since TechXcite uses a kit model (similar to our state's 4-H STEM kits) our local 4-H agents have been comfortable in purchasing the kits and using the materials. Some of the most popular TechXcite kits from our state include: the Bionic Arm, Solar Car and Solar Oven. North Carolina 4-H will continue to have a partnership with TechXcite long after our grant ends and we plan to continue to continue to train our agents and volunteers to use TechXcite for years to come. North Carolina has engaged 2,802 youth in TechXcite since its inception in 2007.
West Virginia 4-H State Leader
Donna Patton, Extension Specialist
West Virginia University Extension Service
City Center East, Room 1006
4700 MacCorkle Ave, S.E.
Charleston, WV 25304
Donna Patton has thirty-two years of experience with the West Virginia University Extension Service as a 4-H Agent, Administrator and Specialist. She is currently the Principal Investigator on five ongoing grants to support 4-H and has, over the course of her career, attracted and administered grants totaling over two and a half million dollars. Ms. Patton's grant writing and coordination of activities have a huge positive impact on the WV 4-H program's ability to reach young people with meaningful programming that can truly make positive impacts on their lives. Ms. Patton was very instrumental in the development of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network which has now been in operation for over six years. She also serves as a member of a statewide cadre that has provided thousands of teachers and social service agency professionals with training workshops on understanding poverty and its impact on learning. Her areas of specialization include: Early Childhood Development, Youth Development in Afterschool, Understanding Poverty, and Health/ Healthy Lifestyles Programming.
TechXCite Programs in West Virginia:4-H Camp Programs
- Boone County 4-H Camp - Foster, WV
- Cabell County 4-H Camp - Huntington, WV
- Fayette County 4-H Camp - Fayetteville, WV
- Harrison County 4-H Camp - Clarksburg, WV
- Kanawha County 4-H Camp - Charleston, WV
- Mercer County 4-H Camp - Princeton, WV
- Preston County 4-H Camp - Kingwood, WV
- Putnam County 4-H Camp - Winfield, WV
- Roane County 4-H Camp - Spencer, WV
- Taylor County 4-H Camp - Grafton, WV
- Alpha I and Alpha II State 4-H Camps - Weston, WV
- Richmond Elementary Afterschool- South Charleston, WV
- Central Elementary Afterschool- St. Albans, WV
- Nitro Elementary Afterschool- Nitro, WV
- Boys & Girls Club - Huntington, WV
- Boys & Girls Club - Westmoreland, WV
- Playmates Afterschool - Westmoreland, WV
- Glenwood School Afterschool - Princeton, WV
- Bluefield Middle School Afterschool - Bluefield, WV
- Pikeview Middle School Afterschool - Princeton, WV
- South Charleston High School Afterschool - South Charleston, WV
- Closing the Gap Afterschool Program - Rand, Charleston and Institute, WV
- Explore and Soar Afterschool Program - Madison, WV
- Kid Reach Afterschool Program - Phillip, WV
- Bob Burdette Afterschool Program - Charleston, WV
- Playmates Afterschool - Wayne, WV
- Beckley/Stratton Afterschool Program - Beckley, WV
- Creed Collins Elementary Afterschool Program - Harrisville,WV
West Virginia 4-H was selected by the National 4-H Program to be a recipient of TechXcite resources because of the consistently low science scores of youth in the state in elementary, middle and high school. Another factor that was taken into consideration was the extremely high level of poverty in the state and isolation of many rural communities making it difficult to reach youth with programs to impact them academically outside of the regular school day.
For the past four years, WV 4-H has been working with nine Afterschool sites, CYFAR sites, to adapt 4-H and other youth materials to be more suitable for the afterschool environment. This project provided a great laboratory for training staff and implementation of the TechXcite modules. These sites have implemented at least four of the TechXcite modules over the past two years reaching 1,318 youth.
There are various reasons why West Virginia needs to continue to be a partner with the TechXcite Program. According to the WV Department of Education, 60% of all WV third grade students taking the WESTEST in 2010 did not meet the standards in science and 70% of all WV ninth graders did not meet the standards. According to the Science and Engineering Readiness Index (SERI) which was created by the American Institute of Physics, WV ranked 49th in the nation for science education, which the Institute labels as "far below average." Only Mississippi ranked lower. The ratings, first released in July 2011, could have an impact on the state. Currently there is a natural gas rush in WV's Marcellus Shale region and is expected to cause an economic boom in the state's economy. Experts say that WV could see as many as two ethylene crackers built in the state. The increase in ethylene and other natural gas byproducts will help the state's chemical industry to grow again but a factor will be attracting engineers, chemists and other workers with scientific skills to the state. WV will need to improve science education in the state if it expects to add skilled workers to the state's chemical industry.
Another factor that continues to impact WV is the high poverty rate. According to WV Kids Count data 2011, WV ranks 44th among the 50 states for well-being of the state children. The state's overall rank is determined by the sum of the state's standing on each of 10 measures of the condition of children and families. Poverty is a huge issue in WV with 71% of youth enrolled in school qualifying for free and reduced priced meals.
In 2012, through working with the WVU 4-H program and the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network, we reached 1318 youth with TechXcite in 2012. It is anticipated that during the summer of 2013, we will reach an additional 390 youth. The TechXcite modules are excellent materials to promote science and engineering concepts with youth. They have been very well received by youth in both 4-H camps and afterschool programs. The solar oven and solar cars modules were two of the ones that youth talk about the most.
Michigan 4-H State Leader
4-H Program Coordinator, Michigan State University
Extension 551 Courthouse Dr, Suite One
Charlotte, MI 48813
Kristy Oosterhouse is a 4-H Program Coordinator with the Michigan State University Extension Children and Youth Institute. Since 2012, she has coordinated statewide efforts with the TechXcite curriculum that have reached over 3,000 youth through a combination of short and long term experiences. Together with Michigan 4-H Youth Development staff, Kristy has worked to develop over 30 partnerships with organizations using the curriculum through 4-H sponsored afterschool sites, including schools, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and other afterschool organizations. Her tremendous passion for introducing youth to science and life skill development has led Kristy to focus on purposeful, experiential, and inquiry-based approaches to youth development.
TechXCite Programs In Michigan:
- 4-H Discovery Camp, East Lansing, MI
- 4-H Exploration Days, East Lansing, MI
- 4-H Mentoring Weekend, Tustin, MI
- Alcona Middle School AfterSchool Club, Alcona, MI
- Alcona Elementary AfterSchool Club, Alcona, MI
- Arenac County 4-H Science Brains, Standish, MI
- Barry County 4-H, Hastings, MI
- Birch Run Schools, Birch Run, MI
- Bright Futures Adams Upper Elementary, Westland, MI
- C2 Pipeline Cody School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
- C2 Pipeline Detroit Northwestern High School, Detroit, MI
- C2 Pipeline East Detroit High School, Eastpointe, MI
- C2 Pipeline Ecorse Community High School, Ecorse, MI
- C2 Pipeline Oak Park High School, Oak Park, MI
- Clinton County 4-H, St. Johns, MI
- Crawford County Operation Military Kids, Grayling, MI
- Crawford County 4-H, Grayling, MI
- Crystal Falls District Community Library, Crystal Falls, MI
- Deford Dazzlers 4-H STEM Club, Deford, MI
- Eaton County 4-H Science Club, Charlotte, MI
- Educating for Freedom in Schools, Kalamazoo, MI
- Hillsdale County 4-H Science Day, Hillsdale, MI
- Hillsdale Preparatory School, Hillsdale, MI
- Kearsley Community Schools, Flint, MI
- Lenawee Christian 4-H Science Club, Adrian, MI
- Lincoln Park High School, Lincoln Park, MI
- Lincoln Park Middle School, Lincoln Park, MI
- Life of Lake Superior, Munising, MI
- Macomb County 4-H Tech Wizards Seminole Academy, Mt. Clemens, MI
- Macomb County 4-H Tech Wizards Detroit Arsenal Child Development Center, Warren, MI
- Oakland County 4-H Tech Wizards Anderson Middle School, Berkley, MI
- Ogemaw County 4-H Boys and Girls Club, West Branch, MI
- Ogemaw County 4-H St. Joes, West Branch, MI
- Ottawa County 4-H Tech Wizards, Zeeland, MI
- Oscoda County 4-H Tech Wizards, Mio, MI
- Presque Isle County 4-H Community Garden, Rogers City, MI
- SEEDS AfterSchool Brethren Middle School, Brethren, MI
- SEEDS AfterSchool Forest Area Middle School, Fife Lake, MI
- SEEDS AfterSchool Kalkaska Middle School, Kalkaska, MI
- SEEDS AfterSchool Suttons Bay Middle School, Suttons Bay, MI
- Surline Elementary School, West Branch, MI
- Wayne County 4-H Tech Wizards, Detroit, MI
- West Iron District Library, Iron River, MI
Michigan 4-H Youth Development was chosen to participate with the TechXcite program due to our history of delivering quality after-school science based programs. This quality, coupled with our interest and capacity to attain the objectives of the program made Michigan 4-H a well-suited partner to implement the TechXcite curriculum.
TechXcite's engineering curriculum is a versatile asset for afterschool youth programming. The curriculum provides quality activities to teach youth about various science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts. In an era where understanding STEM concepts is critical to the success of today's youth, TechXcite provides an important function for afterschool staff. The curriculum includes guided instruction that allows instructors with or without a STEM background to be able to effectively guide youth through the concepts.The curriculum aligns well with the 4-H concept of 'learning by doing', allowing youth the opportunity to learn through hands-on activities that encourage and spark ideas to explore beyond the set activities found within the curriculum.
"We have enjoyed the TechXcite curriculum. The youth in our group are really enjoying the activities we have done. However, at times we wish the directions of the activities had a little bit more explanation that we could use with the group." -Christine and Arden Heverly, site instructors with the Eaton County 4-H Science Club, Charlotte, MI
"The TechXcite curriculum showed the students how they could use their knowledge and inquisitiveness to actually build something to help other people. The hands-on approach enabled them to put their thoughts into action. There are so many types of engineering that I am not familiar with, these classes help students know what is 'out there' and how they can use their interests and skills in particular fields of study. Thanks!" -parent of a student from West Iron District Library, Iron River, MI
Missouri 4-H State Leader
Amanda Meek, 4-H SET Educator
University of Missouri Extension
10650 Gateway Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
Amanda Meek is the 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Educator for the University of Missouri Extension, headquartered in the St. Louis County office. She has worked in this position since April 2011, coming with an education background. Amanda continues to teach homebound students for Special School District and previously taught high school math in Chatham, Illinois. Her formal education includes a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Illinois College and a teaching certificate in math and science from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is currently obtaining her Master's degree in Online Educator from the University of Missouri. Besides serving as the lead for Missouri on the TechXcite project, she also manages the Tech Wizards, Cargill, and GEAR-Tech-21 grants. Amanda also strives to expand the 4-H Robotics program in St. Louis and the surrounding area. Her educational background and passion for working with youth fit well in this position as she encourages students to "learn by doing." We have reached 1,730 youth with the TechXcite program.
TechXCite Programs in Missouri:
- 4-H Aerospace Camp at Missouri S&T in Rolla, MO
- Challenger Learning Center in St. Louis, MO
- Meramec Valley Middle School in Pacific, MO
- PAKT 4-H Robotics program in St. Louis, MO
- Ferguson Middle School 4-H Tech Wizards program in Ferguson, MO
- Warrenton 4-H Robotics Club in Warrenton, MO
- Homeschool group in Troy, MO
- Homeschool group in St. Charles, MO
- Washington County 4-H Robotics club in Potosi, MO
- Strength and Honor Boys Summer Camp in Ferguson, MO
- Sherwood Forest Camp in St. Louis and Lesterville, MO
- Word of Life Lutheran School in St. Louis, MO
- St. Louis County 4-H
- Ste. Genevieve County 4-H
- Franklin County 4-H
- St. Francois County 4-H
I feel very honored and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the TechXcite program. Giving our partners the opportunity to use the TechXcite curriculum has been very rewarding. The leaders and kids love the program and always look forward to the next set of modules. I have been able to present the TechXcite curriculum at a couple conferences, and the participants have been eager to learn more about the program and how to get involved. It has become a very important piece of our science program in Missouri 4-H.
The TechXcite curriculum is great for all leaders, those with a science background and even those without one. That quality and its flexibility make it very appealing.
"We have several kids in 4-H, but they have never done anything like this." -Kendra Beck, homeschool group leader.
"This makes me want to be a scientist." -a student during a TechXcite module conducted by Angie Keyes
"This is amazing!" - a student realizing that switching the leads on a motor changes the direction during the Solar Car module conducted by Amanda Meek.
Oklahoma 4-H State Leader
Jeff Sallee, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
4-H Youth Development
Oklahoma State University
205 4-H Youth Development Bldg
Stillwater, OK 74078
Dr. Jeff Sallee serves as an assistant professor and extension specialist for Oklahoma State University where he received his bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees. Since 1991, Sallee has been dedicated to Extension and 4-H programs in Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma. Sallee has an extensive background as a County Extension Agent, Extension Assistant Specialist, and Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist. Sallee focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and has been successful at implementing service learning by applying youth voice and inquiry based educational techniques to integrate STEM elements into the Oklahoma 4-H program.
TechXcite Programs in Oklahoma
- Jackson County - Gary Strickland OCES Educator
- Washita County - Mary Peck OCES Educator
- Oklahoma County - Kyle Worthington OCES Educator
- Creek Nation (3 sites) - Rick Clovis OCES Educator
- Delaware County - Barbara Denney OCES Educator
- Tulsa County - Leslie Lewis OCES Educator
- Stillwater Middle School - Janita Cormell Science Teacher
- Carter County - Gerri Ballard OCES Educator
- Johnson County - Tony Johnson OCES Educator
- Seminole County - Megan Logan OCES Educator
- Pittsburg County - Greg Owen OCES Educator
- Garfield County (2 sites) - Cindy Connor OCES Educator
- Texas County (2 sites) - Arleen James OCES Educator
- Beaver County - Loren Sizelove OCES Educator
- Marshall County - Sara West OCES Educator
- Pushmataha County - Tom Smith OCES Educator
- Creek County - Wendie Clubine OCES Educator
- Haskell County - Rachel Lockwood OCES Educator
Oklahoma 4-H is just getting started with the TechXcite program. We received our acceptance letter last May (2013). Since that time we have been locating sites, assembling the kits and training educators. The educators who have taught modules have been very complimentary of the materials and excited about the program. We have several county programs that will be presenting the lessons as part of their summer camping programs. I am very excited about this. Seven locations will teach a module for their campers and give them a solid STEM experience. I have been asked to present this program as part of our Oklahoma Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in August. During this presentation a large portion of our 4-H Educators will be exposed to the program and given the opportunity to use the kits this fall and next spring. We have appreciated the opportunity to add TechXcite to our STEM curriculum offerings and plan to keep it going for years to come. TechXcite is proving to be a true enhancement of Oklahoma's STEM program.
California 4-H State Leader
4-H Science, Engineering and Technology Coordinator
University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Youth, Families, and Communities, 4-H Youth Development Program
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Steven Worker is the California 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Education Coordinator for the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program. He coordinates statewide professional development, program planning, evaluation, and curriculum development efforts to increase science, engineering, and technology literacy of California's youth. His work is focused on strengthening 4-H STEM programs using inquiry-based, experiential education the context of positive youth development. He co-authored two national 4-H reviewed and published STEM curricula, Junk Drawer Robotics and There's No New Water! He earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (2001) and a Master's degree in Community Development from the University of California, Davis (2007). He is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of California, Davis School of Education to study youth learning in informal/out-of-school environments.
TechXcite Programs in California
- Afterschool programs administered by the Butte County Office of Education (6 sites)
- Afterschool programs in Siskiyou, Shasta, Glenn, Lassen, and Tehama Counties, hosted by Butte County Office of Education (6 sites)
- 4-H Clubs and Countywide 4-H Projects in Humboldt, Merced, Inyo/Mono, Riverside Counties (8 sites)
- Youth Programs, 4-H Groups, and Youth Centers in Santa Cruz County (7 sites)
- 4-H Clubs/Afterschool Programs on Military Installations at Beale AFB and Travis AFB (2 sites)
TechXcite contributes to the growing field of informal science education by recognizing that youth can learn science while engaged in designing and making. Engineering education utilizing design-based pedagogies are relatively rare, both in and outside of school TechXcite is a tremendous asset in getting youth to design, build, and make. California 4-H is pleased to partner with NSF, Duke University, National 4-H Council, local afterschool programs, County Offices of Education, and 4-H groups to offer young people an opportunity to engage in scientific and engineering practices while having fun. California has reached 1,733 youth with its TechXcite implementation.