Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Anoka County alum researches cure for apple disease working towards her Ph.D.

May 15, 2019

Having two key components can help on deciding a path to go down: confidence and curiosity. Sarah Kostick, an Anoka County 4-H alum, possesses both these traits as she is currently a PhD student at Washington State University working on her research project.

She is focusing on identifying sources of genetic resistance to fire blight, a disease that causes structural damage to apple trees, as well as identifying areas of the apple genome that are associated with fire blight resistance/susceptibility. Learn more about Sarah’s research as she is featured in this Washington State University article.

4-H had a large impact on Sarah’s choice of career. “4-H provided me with opportunities to explore areas that interested me. As a result, I discovered agriculture and the many associated STEM careers,” she comments.

Deciding on a career for the rest of one’s life can be difficult.

Encouraging curiosity

Growing up in Ham Lake, Minnesota, Sarah’s ideal end goal is a career as a plant breeder who works to improve horticulture crops.

Sarah’s family found Anoka County 4-H when they were looking for an organization for the whole family. They found the values to be strong and signed up.

Sarah became curious through many different aspects of 4-H.  Competing on the county and state levels, she was involved in the projects areas of shooting sports, livestock demonstration, rabbit, poultry, and a variety of others.  She also competed in the rabbit and wildlife project bowls.

sarah analyzing

Building confidence

Sarah stresses one of the most valuable skills she learned in 4-H is learning from failure.  “Failure is a part of everyday life and it is important that we respond by learning from it. 4-H provided me with a safe environment to learn from not only success but also – I think more importantly – from failure,” she states.

“Throughout my years in 4-H, there were many projects, competitions, and presentations that did not go well. However, these little failures pushed me to work harder and to learn from my mistakes.”

Why 4-H?

Sarah stresses the impact that 4-H has on youth. “4-H exposes young people to areas of study/interest that they otherwise may not have been exposed to and allows them to purse their interests,” she recently reflected.

Sarah added, “4-H prepares young adults for successful, impactful, and fulfilling lives after high school graduation. Once a 4-Her, always a 4-Her.”

Interested in developing these skills in your own family? Learn more about joining.

Bailey Ruen
University of Minnesota student
Fillmore County 4-H member

*Photos by Robert Hubner, Washington State University

Share this page:

© 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.