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Linda Horn, Interim Director, 4-H Youth Development Program

A good match. We all look for it in terms of college choices, jobs and partners. And a good match is how one would describe Linda Horn’s skills and her position as 4-H Director for Massachusetts.  As a former elementary school teacher with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational psychology (focused on gifted and talented development), her rich background brings a wealth of key experiences to her interactions with youth.  Linda’s involvement extends well beyond the Commonwealth’s borders through her role as reviewer for National 4-H curriculum and as a literature reviewer for the national Journal of Extension.

Her passion for 4-H is evident when she shares stories about presentation skills of club members. “Our 4-H students are well-spoken, precise in what they say, and they express themselves beautifully in different settings. 4-H experience sets them up for success by asking them to practice new-found speaking skills and by providing many great opportunities, both large and small, as well as experience in running monthly club meetings.”  In addition to many other roles, Linda is a cheerleader for 4-H’ers’ personal growth. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA.

One of many efforts Horn was involved with in Connecticut prior to joining UMass in 2014 was the founding of several FIRST Robotics Teams and she remains quite involved with this effort. In Massachusetts, she has been able to continue her passion for this topic through the UMass 4-H Summer of Science program. Among other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational options, robotics is a popular workshop.

Linda grew up outside New York City with no connection to 4-H as a child. However, her children paved the way to a long-term investment in this organization. Linda’s daughter then seven years old, began raising rabbits through an Extension program. Her son joined 4-H by raising goats and then found his passion with a dog project. Their mom pitched right in to volunteer.  These activities led her to become a 4-H program assistant which later parlayed into satisfying work as a 4-H educator from 1998-2014. Linda’s personal interest in quilting also led to her to teach several 4-H sewing classes. Always looking for ways to respond to contemporary interests, she is part of a new direction for UMass 4-H, supporting a new initiatives: Junior Fire Fighters. A pilot program is starting up in Northampton for high school students with hopes of creating future job opportunities.

Currently Linda oversees several grants and is responsible for various statewide 4-H initiatives. In the past, Linda has worked directly with 4-H clubs, volunteers, advisory groups, camp and fair boards. 4-H’ers believe in the power of young people to make a difference:  Linda’s positive approach is certainly well- aligned when she smiles and says her goal with 4-H in Massachusetts is to help 'Make the Best Better'!