Each month we highlight a 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Cindy Folck PhD, 4-H alumna from Michigan, and the State Program Leader for Agriculture & Natural Resources at Central State University Extension.
Dr. Cindy Folck grew up in the Michigan 4-H program, but her experience was much like that of Ohio 4-H’ers. “I was in 4-H for 10 years in Livingston County, Michigan. My main projects were beef cattle and sheep, and I also took livestock judging, meats judging, public speaking, sewing, food and nutrition, small engines, beekeeping, and others. I was involved with the statewide 4-H livestock projects team as a youth representative, involved with Michigan 4-H Livestock Expo, and was honored to represent Michigan in the beef project to the National 4-H Club Congress and National 4-H Conference.” Not only was Dr. Folck busy with 4-H, so were her parents. “My mom and dad were 4-H leaders for 50 years, so they were very involved.”
During Dr. Folck’s time in 4-H, she learned a lot from the many projects she took. It taught her skills she has used in her life and career. “4-H gave me the confidence to take on new projects and opportunities. Starting my career in agriculture in the early 1990's, I was the only woman, or only one of a few, in many of the places where I worked. 4-H gave me the confidence in myself to be successful in my career.”
“When I graduated from Michigan State with an agricultural communication degree, my experience with meats and livestock judging were key to my work in the meats industry. The knowledge and skills were vital and certainly helped my career.”
Her favorite 4-H memory took her even farther north. “I was honored to be one of six representatives from the U.S. to attend the Canadian 4-H Conference in Toronto. It was a great to experience 4-H through an international lens.”
Since graduating from the program, Dr. Folck continued her involvement with 4-H. “I'm employed with Central State University Extension here in Ohio and look forward to being involved as we work with underserved, underrepresented youth to gain leadership and skills from 4-H programming.” She shared some advice for current 4-H’ers, “Take advantage of the opportunities 4-H offers outside of just taking a project to the county fair. Being involved with statewide opportunities will give you a network of people who will be a help as you move into your career.”