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Collaborating to help youth communicate


photo of a teen boy speaking at a microphone standing in front of a red curtain

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

New York State 4-H (NYS 4-H) Youth Development is partnering with communications and theater experts from Cornell and the Ithaca community to offer a 4-H Communication Institute this summer.

The weekend-long program will offer 4-H teens the opportunity to attend workshops led by teaching assistants from the departments of communication and performing and media arts and professionals from Civic Ensemble, an Ithaca theater company. Participants will also work on their personal presentations, resumes, and participate in mock interviews. Institute organizers have three goals for the event:

  1. To have Cornell undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members share their knowledge and skills with 4-H alumni, parents, and educators;
  2. For Cornell students engage in experiential learning, applying their knowledge in a workshop setting;
  3. Finally, for 4-H members and parents to explore communications and performing arts and to take new skills back to their home communities around New York State.

Jamila Walida Simon

“This collaboration is a great one,” said Jamila Walida Simon, NYS 4-H civic engagement specialist who is helping to organize the conference. “The organizations participating in the conference are each focused on a single purpose: to be able to tell a credible story. Whether we talking about traditional communication techniques or performing arts, the lesson is in the crafting of the story.”

The idea, Simon said, is to help teens from across New York State to improve their communication skills while providing Cornell students with the opportunity to become teachers, sharing what they have learned in their studies and evaluating the work of 4-H teens.

4-H districts from across New York State will select teen members with strong presentation skills to attend the institute. In addition, Jodi Cohen, a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication, will host workshops for 4-H educators, volunteers, and parents. This year, the conference will be free to participants, although lodging is not included.

The hope moving forward is to continue the program so that New York State teens are able to improve their communications skills to serve them in college and beyond.

“I hope that we will be able to build up our communities through our work in Cornell University Cooperative Extension,” Simon said. “This is one way in which we can extend the research of the university into communities.”

(2) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    collaboration    communications    Jamila Walida Simon    youth   

Using disruptive innovation to grow 4-H

Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   CCE,   New York,   video,   youth,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Portrait of Andy Turner

Andy Turner

If you follow business news – and specifically small, up-and-coming companies – you may have heard the term “disruptive innovation.” The theory, developed by Clayton Christensen from the Harvard Business School, describes how a product or process can leap ahead of established market leaders by reducing cost, increasing convenience, and bringing new customers to the table.  Could disruptive innovation help grow 4-H?

Andy Turner, head of the New York State 4-H Youth Development program (administered through and housed in the BCTR) of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) thinks so. He is applying disruptive innovation theory to 4-H.  His dissertation, published in 2016, documented disruptive innovation at Cornell Cooperative Extension and attempted to identify the factors and conditions allowing innovation to grow and be adopted more widely.

Turner was asked to present his work at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Virtual Town Hall Meeting in Orlando Florida earlier this year.  Turner and the other panelists discussed the challenges and barriers facing innovation adoption and responsiveness to emerging issues in CCE. The presentation reached a live audience of 300 and an online audience of an additional 500 extension staff from across the country.

Cooperative Extension has existed for more than 100 years with established programs and a track record of success, Turner said. But its approaches and organizational culture may not align well with changes in our culture, demographic shifts, and the impact of the internet on all facets of education.

“As a result, disruptive innovation is particularly relevant to Cooperative Extension as its work shifts to new ways of thinking and acting that will appeal to youth with new challenges, different approaches to learning, and markedly different expectations for engaging with educational institutions,” he said.

Dr. Turner is applying his work on innovation at a critical time for 4-H. 4-H offers an experiential learning approach to reach over 6 million youth annually, with programming in nearly every county in the nation.  However, like many large youth organizations, 4-H participation levels have not been growing, and there are many communities and youth that are underrepresented in 4-H programming.

In response, the national leadership of 4-H has embraced an ambitious growth vision, with the goal of using concepts like disruptive innovation and collaborative design processes to increase 4-H’s enrollment to 10 million youth by 2025.  Turner will be working with national 4-H leadership and private-sector 4-H supporters over the next two years to develop a blueprint for change based on identifying promising innovations already underway within state 4-H programs.

Dr. Turner leads a team of 8 program and administrative leaders at the New York State 4-H Office in the BCTR. You can reach him at ast4cornell.edu.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    Andy Turner    CCE    New York    video    youth   

4 Postdocs add fresh perspectives to center work

Tags: 4-H,   Cornell Project 2Gen,   NDACAN,   postdoc,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

“One of our main goals in the BCTR is to help train the next generation of translational researchers in the field of human development,” said Karl Pillemer, director of the BCTR. “These emerging scholars greatly benefit our work, bringing in fresh perspectives and new models and methods of connecting research to real-life settings.”

elizabeth day

Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day is working on Project 2Gen, a new project that will serve as a hub for research, policy, and practice focused on supporting parents and children together. The mission of 2Gen is to build a vibrant research community of scholars who are focused on building programs and researching how families can fair better when support services focus on both parents and children.

“I was drawn to this post-doc because it offered the opportunity to work on a wide range of issues to find the best ways to support vulnerable families, including work on bridging research and policy,” Day said. “My background involves working at the state and federal levels of government and I have seen first-hand the need for this type of resource.

“I also knew of the high-quality work and high-caliber programs that are housed in the BCTR and was excited for opportunity to work here!”

elmore

Kristen Elmore

Kristen Elmore is working on the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement, or PRYDE, an effort to partner with 4-H around the state of New York to research programs and factors that encourage healthy youth development.

“My particular research interest is in understanding how youth think about their identities and what goals are possible for them and people like them,” Elmore said. “My work with 4-H examines how experiences in 4-H may shape how youth respond to challenges when pursuing their goals—when do they persist versus move on to something else?”

Elmore’s goal is to create programs that encourage youth from all backgrounds to pursue positive academic and health behaviors. “4-H is the largest youth-serving organization in the U.S., so it’s an ideal setting for designing and implementing programs to support healthy youth development,” she said.

Elmore was attracted to working at the BCTR because of the center’s commitment to using social science to serve the public good. “The wealth of experience and practical knowledge in conducting translational work that can be found among our colleagues at the BCTR is an incredibly rich and unique resource for postdocs,” she said.

sumner

Rachel Sumner

Rachel Sumner is also working on PRYDE, and hopes to focus her research on identity and inclusion in youth programming.

“I hope to conduct research that helps inform decisions made by youth development programs and practitioners, especially decisions related to diversity and inclusion and promoting the development of purpose and identity,” she said.

Sumner was drawn to the BCTR because she wanted to collaborate with people who are working directly with youth. “Involving practitioners throughout the research process yields questions that are more relevant to real-world contexts than questions generated by researchers alone,” she said. “Collaborating with both practitioners and researchers helps me think about the topics I study – purpose in life, identity, diversity in new and interesting ways.”

edwards

Frank Edwards

And Frank Edwards is working with the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) to develop new ways to evaluate how surveillance systems work, how casework assignments affect families, and whether immigration detention and deportation requires Latino families to use the foster care system more often.

“My work focuses on how social policy institutions affect child and family inequality,” he said. “BCTR provides an exciting combination of applied researchers engaged in improving policy for kids and families, and unparalleled access to administrative data through the NDACAN. Given my research interests, BCTR is a near perfect place to work.”

Edwards’ goal is to better understand how government institutions affect children and to “move the needle on the causes and consequences of family inequality.”

“I hope to shed light on how policy institutions like the criminal justice and means-tested welfare programs contribute to racial inequality that we see in the more disruptive interventions available to child welfare agencies,” he said. “In so doing, I hope to spur conversations about reducing inequalities that take an ecological approach to the relationship between policy environments and child and family well-being.”

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Creativity at 4-H National Science Day event

Tags: 4-H,   children,   media mention,   NYC,   STEM,   youth development,  

Preparing an arm band monitor

Preparing an arm band monitor

By Jon Craig for the Cornell Chronicle

A Brooklyn elementary school was transformed into a high-tech laboratory during a Cornell-led science discovery day Oct. 4.

About 300 schoolchildren jammed all corners of Public School 21 as part of the 10th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day that reached an estimated 100,000 schoolchildren in 50 states. Last fall, Cornell led the national “drone discovery” theme.

This year’s interactive learning challenge, “Incredible Wearables,” was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Youths engineered and built electronic armbands that measured their fitness while exercising. The PS 21 gymnasium was filled with “wired-up” students jumping rope, spinning hula hoops or running in place. Fellow youth scientists then monitored and measured heartbeats and number of steps or jumps taken.

In another room sponsored by faculty, staff and volunteers from Cornell University Cooperative Extension-New York City (CUCE-NYC) and National 4-H Council, the schoolchildren:

  • explored New York state’s parks using a giant geological map, led by Susan Hoskins, senior extension associate at Cornell’s Institute for Resource Information Sciences;
  • learned about hydroponics, or growing plants without soil, which wowed most youngsters, led by Philson A.A. Warner, extension associate and founding director of the CUCE-NYC Hydroponics, Aquaculture, Aquaponics Learning Lab;
  • learned about energy by pedaling a bicycle that produced electricity to power light bulbs and a fan;
  • created bird feeders from pine cones and planted fall bulbs to help pollinators; and
  • learned about sugar levels in juices, beverages and fatty foods.

The goal was to inspire youths to gain interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursue college and careers in those fields.

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Another interactive exhibit, sponsored by Google, allowed students to wear virtual reality goggles that exposed them to moving undersea images, a dairy farm in Minnesota and other science-based scenes.

Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, CUCE-NYC extension associate for family and 4-H youth development, said this year’s combination of high-tech fitness tests in one part of PS 21 as well as interactive exhibits in another part transformed the flagship Brooklyn school into a “crazy but incredible learning environment.”

“There’s a lot more to keep track of this year,” Randolph-Benjamin exclaimed as she herded gaggles of elementary pupils.

Last fall, “drone discovery” and the accompanying engineering design challenges were developed by staff and faculty members in Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Human Ecology. In addition to solving real-world problems, students were taught about safety and regulations, remote sensing and flight control – a project that continues to gain national traction.

Organized chaos spells creativity at Brooklyn school science event - Cornell Chronicle

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    children    media mention    NYC    STEM    youth development   

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies

Tags: 4-H,   media mention,   youth,   youth development,  

By Stephen D’Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

news-2017careerex-inpost

Career Explorations participants synthesizing gold nanoparticles by using gold chloride and citric acid in hot water

More than 400 middle and high school students from 45 New York state counties and extension programs made their way to Cornell’s Ithaca campus June 27-29 to investigate the mysteries of the cosmos, perform physical exams on small and large animals, understand the intricacies of food science and learn to program robots.

These activities were only a few of the many workshops taught by Cornell faculty, staff and graduate students during the 4-H Career Explorations conference, an annual event that exposes youth to academic fields and career exploration by delivering a hands-on experience in a college setting.

“Our main purpose of career explorations is to give young people a chance to get a feel for careers that they’ve never even heard of, or maybe never even considered for themselves,” said Alexa Maille, conference coordinator and New York State 4-H science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, a research and outreach branch of the College of Human Ecology.

“This is the first college experience for a lot our participants and we receive a good amount of feedback from these youth, both during the conference and after, saying that they are now interested in pursuing future studies or a career in one of the subject areas that they were exposed to here first,” Maille added.

Dozens of scholarships were made available through the New York State 4-H Foundation and Cornell University.

The conference’s 30 programs focused on healthy living, STEM, civic engagement and leadership and were facilitated by the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering and Information Science, as well as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Museum of the Earth. The event connected youth to academic fields including engineering, animal science, astronomy, environmental science, food science, nanotechnology and human development.

A program titled “A Tour of Human Development across the Lifespan,” organized by the Bronfenbrenner Center’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), introduced human development to students with interests in sociology, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, education, public health or social work.

“We really wanted to expose the youth to both the idea of lifespan human development, showing them that development continues at all ages, and to different research methods,” said Jennifer Agans, PRYDE assistant director for research on youth development and engagement. “For us, this was really an amazing opportunity to work directly with youth and teach them about social science, as well as to align to our mission in connecting 4-H programs with campus research.”

Students heard from professors about their research, visited the fMRI lab and saw how brain scans can provide insights into human behavior. They also participated in career-related activities including interviews and focus group to better understand research methods.

And students discussed academic directions and personal career pathways with graduate students, lab managers, program assistants and postdoctoral fellows, who shed light on the transition from high school to college to career.

Skyler Masse, 16, from Niagara County, participated in the human development program and is interested in a career in medicine and health.

“Working hand-in-hand with the professors and students allowed me to be able to see that it’s okay not to have a direct route to college; there are many options, and a lot more options, than you may think there are,” she said. “Interviewing graduate students and postdocs, and hearing directly from them, helped me realize that it’s okay to change what you’re doing, even in college. You don’t have to have a set major, and that they went through the same thing.”

Meghan Stang, 17, from Cattaraugas County, is considering physical therapy as a career. She said the experience has given her more confidence in her future academic and professional life.

“Just listening to all of the graduate students and undergraduate students who came and spoke to us, they were in a similar situation when they were my age, and now they are succeeding in life,” she said. “It makes me think that even though I don’t know exactly where I want to go or what I want to do around physical therapy, I’ll be okay. I will succeed.”

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies - Cornell Chronicle

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4-H intern on The Chew with Carla Hall

Tags: 4-H,   mentoring,   video,  

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

news-4h-carlahall-inpostA 4-H intern from Brooklyn spent the day learning about cooking and entertainment from chef and TV personality Carla Hall thanks to a national 4-H mentoring program.

4-Her Jasmine Roberts is a dietician student at Brooklyn College. She spent a day shadowing Hall – a finalist on the cooking reality show Top Chef and co-host of the talk show The Chew – through the National 4-H Council's “Day in the Life Experience,” which connects youth with 4-H alumni.

Roberts is an intern with 4-H in New York City. She is currently mentoring high school students about the importance of nutrition and health through the 4-H Choose Health Action Teens program. She spent the day shadowing Hall at The Chew television set and then visiting Hall’s restaurant in Brooklyn.

Hall, herself, participated in 4-H cooking competitions as a youth, and said she appreciated the opportunity to give back to the program.

“Some of the skills I learned in 4-H that have helped me in life are being adventurous and trying something new,” she said. “Now, it’s about opening up the 4-Hers eyes to where they can go, and to the potential and to have no limitations.”

About 190,000 youth ages 5-19 participate in 4-H programs throughout New York each year. The program – housed in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research – serves as the youth outreach component of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

A major focus of 4-H is to help youth experience hands-on learning opportunities in science and technology, healthy living and civic engagement that help them grow into competent, caring and contributing members of society, says Andy Turner, New York State Leader for 4-H at Cornell University.

“Jasmine’s experience highlights core elements for 4-H,” he said. “It was hands-on and empowering.  You can see a powerful connection developing that could make a huge impact on how Jasmine thinks about her future goals.  That process of youth and adult partnership and mentoring lies at the heart of the 4-H program. “

The Chew’s Carla Hall Is Thankful for 4-H - Parade Magazine

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NY 4-H student shadows MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin

Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   media mention,   video,   youth,   youth development,  

John Gabalski at MSNBC studios, NYC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

John Gabalski at MSNBC studios, NYC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

A 4-H student from Orleans County learned about broadcasting last month from an accomplished role model: NBC news anchor Craig Melvin.

Fifteen-year-old John Gabalski was selected to spend the day at NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center with Melvin, who anchors MSNBC Live on weekdays and co-anchors the Today Saturday edition. The visit was part of the National 4-H Council’s “Day in the Life Experience,” which connects youth with 4-H alumni.

Gabalski, who is interested in a career in journalism, had the chance to watch Melvin’s one-hour broadcast live and learn about what it takes to work at a major news network. “It was very interesting to see how everything works behind the camera, the way they handle the cameras and the lighting,” Gabalski told his local newspaper, orleanshub.com.

Gabalski is a member of the Orleans County Rabbit Raisers and Outback Orleans 4-H Clubs, and is also a member of Orleans County 4-H Senior Council.

John Gabalski with Craig Melvin on set at MSNBC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

John Gabalski with Craig Melvin on set at MSNBC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

About 190,000 youth ages 5-19 participate in 4-H programs throughout New York each year. The program – housed in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research – serves as the youth outreach component of Cornell Cooperative Extension.  

A major focus of 4-H is to help youth experience hands-on learning opportunities in science and technology, healthy living, and civic engagement that help them grow into competent, caring, and contributing members of society, says Andy Turner, New York State leader for 4-H at Cornell University.

“One of the core foundations of 4-H is to connect youth to caring adult mentors who can help them explore interests and potentially help them shape their college and career pathway,” he said. “Although John’s experience with Craig Melvin was unique and exceptional, it represents the ideals and goals we are seeking for all youth involved in 4-H.” 

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    Andy Turner    media mention    video    youth    youth development   

New systematic translational review on outcomes for 4-H youth


What is the quality of empirical evidence for youth outcomes as a result of their participation in 4-H? The BCTR's Research Synthesis Project addressed this question in their latest systematic translational review (STR).

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States, providing programming to over six million youth. Despite its reach, very little research has been conducted to assess youth outcomes within 4-H. To better understand the body of evidence for 4-H youth
participant outcomes, the Cornell Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) requested an STR to describe the quality, type, and focus of available evidence from both peer-reviewed and grey literature.

The Evidence for Outcomes from Youth Participation in 4-H STR finds that while there is some evidence suggesting 4-H participation provides some positive outcomes, most of the available studies lack rigorous research designs, which reduces confidence in the validity of these results.

The BCTR Research Synthesis Project supports the development of high-quality evidence summaries on topics nominated by practitioners and faculty within the Cornell Cooperative Extension system to illuminate the evidence base for their work.

To meet this need, the Systematic Translational Review (STR) process was developed to provide replicable systems and protocols for conducting timely and trustworthy research syntheses. STRs include the systematic features of a traditional review, the speed of a rapid review, and the inclusion of practitioner expertise to help guide search parameters and identify appropriate sources. By drawing upon both practitioner wisdom and the best available empirical evidence, the STR process supports the translation of evidence to practice in real-world settings.

A full listing of past STRs can be found here.

Doing Translational Research podcast: Jennifer Agans, Monday, July 16, 2018

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Doing Translational Research podcast: Jennifer Agans

Research/Community Partnerships
Monday, December 5, 2016

Jennifer Agans
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University

Tags: 4-H,   Jennifer Agans,   podcast,   PRYDE,   youth,   youth development,  

Research/Community Partnerships
Monday, December 5, 2016

Jennifer Agans
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University

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Talks at Twelve: Jennifer Agans, Monday, July 16, 2018

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Talks at Twelve: Jennifer Agans

The Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE): Integrating Research and Practice
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jennifer Agans
BCTR, Cornell University

Tags: 4-H,   Jennifer Agans,   PRYDE,   video,   youth,   youth development,  

The Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE): Integrating Research and Practice
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jennifer Agans
BCTR, Cornell University

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    Jennifer Agans    PRYDE    video    youth    youth development   
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