4-H program teaches teens about animal science careers

4-H sheep competition
4-Hers and other teens are allowed to participate in the 4-H ExCEL program. (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)

Students learn about options beyond veterinary medicine

When kids imagine a career working with animals, being a veterinarian often comes to mind. They don't always realize there are other possibilities.

So OSU Extension developed the 4-H ExCEL program in cooperation with the Oregon Zoo in Portland. The initiative aims to increase teens' knowledge about the variety of post-secondary education options and employment in animal sciences. Over the course of the 20-hour training, teens develop job and leadership skills, visit with OSU faculty during field trips and learn about ways to fund their education.

Since the program began in 2012, more than 65 youths in grades 10-12 have explored careers in fish and wildlife biology, animal research and control, conservation, zoology and education. In a follow-up survey, participants said they are now more confident in selecting careers that fit them and in applying for college and jobs.

Source: Maureen Hosty

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