When Emma Gardner accepted a position with West Virginia University Extension Service, she didn’t expect her first few months “on the job” to actually take place at home. But, Roane County’s new 4-H youth development agent, effective March 30, isn’t one to let an unexpected challenge get in her way.
Gardner may be new to the Roane County community, but she’s certainly no stranger to the West Virginia 4-H program. When Gardner moved to the Mountain State as a young teen with her family, she found confidence, leadership skills and friendships, and even discovered her love of science, through the West Virginia 4-H program.
“Like so many of us, Emma was as a West Virginia 4-H’er, and her passion for the program brought her to this position,” said Brent Clark, program director for WVU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development. “I’m confident that she will be an advocate for Roane County youths and WVU Extension Service programming across the state.”
Though she remained involved with the program over the years by serving as a club volunteer for the Plane Janes 4-H Girls Who Code Club in Kanawha County, Gardner had been looking for ways to take her involvement to the next level.
“I love the 4-H program and the doors it can open for our kids in West Virginia. 4-H helped me come out of my shell and learn how to better serve the world around me,” Gardner said. “All of our programming looks a little different right now due to the pandemic, but I’m so excited to be able to provide new opportunities and experiences to our youths here in Roane County.”
Before joining WVU Extension Service, Gardner worked as a STEM educator with West Virginia State University’s Extension Service, as well as a chemist with West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and West Virginia Department of Agriculture. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Marshall University.
Gardner has an obvious passion for science and other STEM-related fields, and it’s because of that passion that she’s looking forward to incorporating more STEM education into her 4-H programming in Roane County.
“STEM is a hot topic, but it truly is something I care about. WVU Extension Service has a lot of STEM resources to offer our current 4-H’ers, but I also want to eventually bring that STEM education and other important 4-H programming into Roane County schools. It’s a great way to expose other youths to all the fun ways we learn about big topics as a part of 4-H,” Gardner said.
Beyond programming, Gardner can’t wait to meet more people in the Roane County community, even if it’s virtually, and learn how she can better support club leaders and members in her area.
To learn more about new opportunities in the 4-H program, visit extension.wvu.edu or contact your local WVU Extension Service office. Keep up with the latest in WVU Extension Service news on Facebook and Twitter by following @WVUExtension.
CONTACT: Hannah Booth
WVU Extension Service