WELLSBORO — Debra Bieser has been named the new 4-H educator for Penn State Extension.
Bieser began her new job on Dec. 16, 2019, although her work with Extension and Tioga County dates back to 2016.
Initially, she was hired as a summer intern for the Tioga County program in December 2016, and began work in May while enrolled at Delaware Valley University. Her major was livestock science with a focus on livestock management.
After graduation in December 2017, she returned to Tioga County as a program assistant. She remained in that position until June 2018 when she was named the full-time 4-H educator for neighboring Bradford County.
Bieser grew up in Little Marsh and was a member of the Tioga County 4-H program, completing projects in sewing, crafts and livestock raising.
“I always had a strong pull to youth education,” said Bieser. “I also come from a long line of teachers and a farming background. The possibility of combining agriculture with youth education interested me because I knew it did not want to be a classroom teacher.”
The 4-H educator position combines both education, agriculture and home. The program offers traditional club-based programs, as well as an embryology program at every county elementary school and afterschool program at Clark Wood Elementary in Elkland.
While working in Bradford County, Bieser was instrumental in reviving the teen council and growing it to 12 members. The council is made up of teenage leaders who provide direction from the youths’ perspective on the direction of the county 4-H program.
“4-H is a program that is very vast, reaching a large number of age ranges and skill levels,” said Bieser. “It combines traditional education with life skills. For example, if a youth is completing a craft project, they learn not only how to make something, but also have to keep track of expenses.”
The program also has a social aspect that is appealing in a technological age, Bieser said. While working on books and hands-on learning, the youths also interact and socialize with other youngsters in the programs.
Returning to the county, Bieser expects to continue programs of the past. She hopes to meet with all clubs and volunteers to learn what they believe is needed to enhance 4-H in the county.
“Penn State facilitates the program and provides the guidelines,” she said. “We have a lot of freedom in 4-H. Our job is to make 4-H happen.”
For more information on 4-H, call 570-724-9120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.