For Pittsburg State University students, the skills learned in the national 4-H organization have reached far beyond the county fair.
As former members of the organization, which teaches leadership, citizenship and life skills, these students are finding more opportunities to succeed in their experiences here at PSU - and in their plans for the future.
With more than six million youth and adult members across the nation, 4-H encourages its participants to take part in hands-on learning activities and programs implemented by the USDA's Cooperative Extension System and land grant universities across the country.
Sara Kratzberg, a senior interior design major at PSU from Greeley, Kan., was involved in her club and in countywide 4-H events from the time she was 7 until her senior year of high school. When seeking out where to continue her education after high school, Pitt State was the right fit, allowing her to pursue her degree in an area of interest that she found through 4-H.
"I had friends coming to Pitt State and I saw that the interior design program here was growing," she said. "4-H taught me the responsibility I needed to succeed in my major and the communication skills to meet and easily interact with others."
Senior wood technology major Kevin Bowman spent 11 years involved in his 4-H club in DeLong, Ill. Growing up on a farm, Bowman worked on projects in livestock, aerospace, electricity, woodworking and more. Pitt State's nationally known wood technology program attracted him, and like his fellow 4-H'ers, he found that the leadership skills he learned have worked to his benefit. At PSU, he's served as president of the university's Society of Architectural Woodworkers (SAW Club).
"4-H helped me find the technical side of things," Bowman said. "The hands-on and practical experiences from my 4-H work are a great help in my technology classes. The wood technology program is very dependant on experience, and 4-H put me a step ahead."