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4-H clover Anoka County alum researches cure for apple disease working toward 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

Related topics: 4-H YD News
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