4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Initiative

SET Logo
4-H, the nation’s largest nonformal youth education program, has made a commitment to help address youth science literacy needs in the U.S. through its 4-H Science Mission Mandate.  This effort seeks to engage youth across the country in out-of-school time science programming that is experientially based, and uses inquiry methods.  By offering engaging science programming in nonformal settings, youth are provided with a variety of options that address different learning needs and promote excitement in learning about phenomena in the natural world.

The California 4-H Program, housed at the University of California in the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), has responded to the National 4-H Science Mission Mandate by launching a statewide 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Initiative.  These efforts aim to develop new and strengthen existing programmatic opportunities for California 4-H that align closely with the new UC ANR Strategic Vision 2025 that emphasizes the need for improved science literacy in natural resources, agriculture, and nutrition.

The learning goals of the California 4-H SET Initiative are to improve 4-H members’ understanding of science and help address the critical need for more scientists and engineers in the workforce.  The expected outcomes of the initiative are to help youth improve their knowledge and skills around science, engineering, and technology; connect learning with real-world situations where youth can adopt and use new science methods or improved technology to solve problems; and, in the long term, increase the number and diversity of youth pursuing higher education and careers in science, engineering, and technology fields.

Goals of the California 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Initiative

Goal #1: Improve youth science literacy in, and attitudes for, agriculture, natural resources, and nutrition through educational programming that use:

  1. High quality curricula identified and developed based on UC ANR initiatives and supporting National Science Education Standards and California Science Content Standards
  2. Staff, volunteer, teen, and other educators prepared using research-based professional development strategies
  3. Strategies designed to meet the needs of youth audiences
  4. Partners to strengthen programming

Goal #2: Advance the research-base of youth nonformal science education through:

  1. Developing and implementing new 4-H SET programs
  2. Evaluating existing and new 4-H SET programming
  3. Conducting new applied research
  4. Sharing outcomes

Goal #3: Support the first two goals through effective resource development.

4-H SET Programs and Activities Checklist

Flyer: CA 4-H SET Overview

Experiential Learning Cycle Diagram

Experiential Learning Cycle

After the activity, the facilitator leads youth through a period of reflection where the learner shares and processes the experience and applies new learning in authentic situations.
4-H SET Experiential Learning
4-H SET Experiential Learning Check-Off List
Resources: UC Experiential Learning Website.


Inquiry Learning using Effective Questioning

Through learning experiences, youth are encouraged to think, explore, question, and make decisions. Youth build understanding through active exploration and questioning.
4-H SET Inquiry Learning


Science, Engineering, and Technology Abilities (Processes)

Engages youth in science, engineering and technology through one or more of the thirty most important science, engineering, and technology processes.
4-H SET Abilities
Full Report: SET in the Context of 4-H Youth Development

Positive Youth Development Context

Positive youth development occurs from an intentional process that provides youth opportunities to learn new skills, experience independence and develop concern for others in a positive learning environment.  Contextualizing SET learning experiences within a positive youth development framework is critical in helping youth learn, grow, and contribute to their communities.
Positive Youth Development Connection to 4-H SET
Resources: Positive Youth Development
SET - Adult and Kids

Mentoring and Partnering with youth

Learning experiences are led by trained, caring adult staff and volunteers acting as mentors, coaches, facilitators and co-learners who operate from a perspective that youth as partners and resources in their own development.
SET - Clock

Extended Learning Opportunities

Projects offer long-term experiences to significantly increase youth knowledge, skills and attitudes. Experiences are designed for extended frequency and duration that serve to build learning over time.

4-H SET Leadership Team

Photo of Andrea Ambrose Andrea Ambrose
Title: Director Corporate and Foundation Relations
Unit: Development Services
Phone: (530) 750-1346
Email: apambrose@ucanr.edu


Sandra Derby
Unit: Youth, Families & Communities - 4-H
Email: stderby@ucanr.edu


Photo of Dr Shannon J Horrillo Dr Shannon J Horrillo
Title: Associate Director of 4-H Program and Policy
Specialty: Program Administration, Positive Youth Development, Adolescent Development, Evaluation
Unit: Youth, Families & Communities - 4-H
Phone: (530) 750-1334
Email: sjhorrillo@ucanr.edu


Photo of Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty
Title: County Director San Benito County & 4-H Youth Development Advisor
Specialty: Youth Science and Technology
County: San Benito County
Phone: 831-637-5346 x 12
Email: lschmittmcquitty@ucanr.edu


Photo of Martin H Smith Martin H Smith
Title: Associate CE Specialist, Youth Curriculum Development
Specialty: Science Education; Program and Curriculum Development.
Unit: Veterinary Medicine Extension
Phone: (530) 752-6894
Email: mhsmith@ucdavis.edu


Photo of Steven M Worker Steven M Worker
Title: 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology Coordinator
Specialty: Out-of-school time/informal learning; science and engineering education; community development
Unit: Youth, Families & Communities - 4-H
Phone: (530) 750-1341
Email: smworker@ucanr.edu

Contact the California State 4-H Office | Sign-Up for Updates
The 4-H name and emblem service marks are protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.
Webmaster Email: ca4h@ucanr.edu