Youth participating in 4-H are the focus of a new Iowa State University livestock education program.

Amy Powell was recently hired to help develop an online curriculum to teach youth in 4-H about raising livestock. The new Extension and Outreach position of 4-H livestock specialist will work with Department of Animal Science professors to ensure the information is scientifically sound.

"One in every five Iowa youth develops life skills by participating in 4-H programs demonstrating the importance of providing a research-based education," said Cathann Kress, vice president for Extension and Outreach. "This new position complements the governor’s STEM Initiative to boost our youths’ knowledge and skills."

Powell is a native of Tennessee and worked as an extension educator there for about 16 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1996 and a master’s degree in agricultural education and extension in 2004, both from the University of Tennessee.

"It is exciting for the Department of Animal Science to have someone of Amy Powell’s background and experience to lead a new program working with 4-H and youth livestock programs," said Maynard Hogberg, chair of the Iowa State animal science department. "Science and technology are becoming increasingly important in the production of animal protein."

Powell said the curriculum that’s developed will be online, making it available to youth outside of 4-H, such as FFA and others who want to learn about animals and the science involved in their production. The exposure to the information might lead youth to further study or to choose a career in science or animal science.

"With more than 16,000 4-H youth enrolled in animal projects, we are looking forward to bringing new ways of delivery and educational experiences to both rural and urban youth in the area of animal science and the STEM initiative," said Mike Anderson, a 4-H Youth Development livestock program specialist who will be working with Powell.