Alumni Spotlight: Willie Spence

Long before he was in the spotlight as one of the top finalists on American Idol, Willie Spence was sharing his talent with Georgia 4‑H’s Clovers and Company. It was on stage that Willie found his voice, and it was through 4‑H that he developed an extensive network of friends and learned the life skills that have moved him forward in his journey.

4‑H Youth Speak with Jennifer Nettles About Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Watch this video to see Georgia 4‑H’er Kalani Washington and Georgia 4‑H alum Sophia Rodriguez lead a conversation with National 4‑H Spokesperson and alum Jennifer Nettles. In the interview, Nettles talks about the importance of using her voice and platform to speak out against injustices and start conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion.

4‑H Alumni Share a Day in the Life

4‑H alumni Jennifer Nettles, Carla Hall, Zippy Duvall and Craig Melvin share a fun-filled day with 4‑H members who are given behind the scenes look at career paths and where their 4‑H experience can take them.

4‑H Young Alumni

Russell - 4-H alum


Russell lived in a community where the pressure to make bad choices is overwhelming. He struggled in school and at home, became a target of bullying and felt there was nowhere he truly belonged and no one to turn to for help.

All of that...

4-H Alum - Jacob Shulman


Jacob Shuman struggled in school from a very young age. Frustrated and searching for answers, Jacob and his adoptive family learned that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was the cause of his learning difficulties. Jacob’s mom suggested he join 4‑H to stay motivated, gain confidence and have...

4-H'er Amelia Day


A 4‑H’er since elementary school, Amelia had experienced the support and opportunities 4‑H provides as she worked to overcome a severe speech impediment.

When Amelia Day followed her father into an appointment at the local veteran’s hospital, she was shocked and saddened by the number...

Featured Alumni

4-H alum Andrew Bosworth.

VP, AR/VR at Facebook, California 4 H

Andrew Bosworth

Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth is vice president of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) at Facebook where he leads the team building the next computing platform centered around people. He has been with the company since 2006 and invented tools used by billions of people worldwide like News Feed, Groups, and Messenger. He is an alumnus of the El Sereno 4 H Club and a proud fan of 4 H on Facebook.

Boz grew up on a farm in the rolling hills of Saratoga in Santa Clara County, where his family has lived since 1891. During his time with 4‑H, he raised sheep and pigs, and showed them at the Santa Clara County fair. It was also through 4‑H that he first learned how to program a computer, an experience that shaped his future career.

He recently made a $1M investment to 4‑H STEM to inspire more kids to discover an interest in STEM topics—bringing access to hands-on learning opportunities to youth across the country.

Read more about Boz’s story and connection to 4‑H.


4-h alum Anne Burrell.

Chef, Author, TV Personality, New York 4‑H

Anne Burrell

A renowned chef, author and TV personality, Anne Burrell is a proud alumna of 4‑H New York. She is host of the popular Food Network series Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and co-host of Worst Cooks in America.
With her trademark spiky blonde hair and “pumped-up personality,” Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy, battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and wrote a New York Times best-selling cookbook. She also started in her own right on Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs in fall 2011.

Growing up in upstate New York, Burrell’s passion for food and cooking began at an early age. After graduating with a degree in English from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, she pursued her interest in the restaurant business by enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, Burrell spent a year in Italy attending the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners and worked at a premier Tuscan restaurant. During this time, she grew to appreciate and understand the philosophy of Italian cuisine and culture, and hone her lasting culinary point of view.

Burrell loves to cook up engaging culinary lessons for America’s kids to help them understand the science behind her mouth-watering recipes. She participated in the White House “We the Geeks” Google+ Hangout, along with White House pastry chef Bill Yosses and other special guests, to help kids and their parents see that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are key ingredients for culinary success. As part of Food Network’s partnership with Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds program, Chef Burrell also stars in a PSA to promote the fun of math and science.

4-H alum Lazarus Lynch.

Chef, Author, New York 4‑H

Lazarus Lynch

I am a native New Yorker from the borough of Queens. I was introduced to 4‑H in my freshman year at Food and Finance High School in New York City. I participated in many aspects of the program in high school from urban gardening and nutrition education programs to public speaking competitions, attending county fairs, and community service. By participating in these programs, I developed a passion for service-learning. The characteristic that changed in my life because of 4‑H was the ability to think global and act local. 4‑H empowered me to believe in myself and in the great potential power of united young people.

4‑H has led me to many unique and amazing opportunities, such as the World Food Prize conference in Des Moines, Iowa, where I learned about issues related to hunger and food insecurity in the world. Because of 4‑H’s empowerment and the World Food Prize, I was selected to be a Borlaug-Ruan international intern at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, China, for three months researching with master’s students. 4‑H has taught me what it means to be not only a citizen of my community but also of the world. In my senior year of high school, I led A Hunger Symposium that collaborated inner city students with community leaders to think about hunger in the world around them. For the first time, students were thinking about issues that affected 870 million people in and outside of the USA. On the last day of the symposium, we hosted a food drive and packaged over 10,000 meals for NYC food banks to distribute to all five boroughs.

4-H alum Shannon Oleen.

Motivational Speaker, Missouri 4‑H

Shannon Oleen

In the 4th grade I came home from my city public school asking if I could join a local organization with some of my friends. My parents, who both grew up in small rural communities, said if I was going to be involved in anything, it was going to be 4‑H. My mom researched to see if she could find a local club and sure enough, there was one in my county. At first, I didn’t know what to think. None of my close friends or classmates were in 4‑H, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with new friends and the abundance of opportunities I was being given. It was in 4‑H that I was able to give my first speech at the county fair at the age of eight. It was in 4‑H that I got to take my first trip out of the Midwest – and spent two weeks in our nation’s capital and at the National 4‑H Youth Conference Center. That trip even allowed me to see New York City! It was in 4‑H that I became passionate about our country and learning more about giving back. I was fortunate enough to be elected to Missouri State 4‑H Council and have the opportunity to meet even more 4‑H’ers around my state. I became passionate about bringing 4‑H opportunities to even more inner city youth, and through all the work that I was doing, my college awarded me a grant for all of the hard work I put in. Today, I still give back to 4‑H and recognize the opportunities it provides young people, no matter where you are from.

4-H alum Elizabeth Riley.

USDA, Jamaica 4‑H Volunteer, Kentucky 4‑H

Elizabeth Riley

“My 4‑H activities and animal science knowledge led me to receive my BS and MS in Animal Science. The people I’ve met and friendships forged . . . enriched my life and made me a better person. I carry with me all the lessons I learned through 4‑H . . . as I continue my Peace Corps service in Jamaica. I don’t know what my next step in life will be, but you can bet 4‑H will be a part of it.”

4-H alum Ariel Rivers.

Pacific Region Representative, National Association of Conservation Districts

Ariel Rivers

“Many people think of me as an incredibly enthusiastic individual, constantly looking for ways to help others and make a difference. This comes from the early lessons we learned showing animals and at camp, as everything was a collaborative effort in a happy and supportive environment . . . 4‑H was such a safe environment where we could learn and grow and become the best version of ourselves.”

4-H alum Otha Thornton.

President National PTA, Georgia 4‑H

Otha Thornton

“When you’re in 4‑H, you’re exposed to so many different things and exposed to different people. That, for me, was very important. I also think about the four H’s: Managing and thinking (Head); Relating and caring for people (Heart); Giving and working (Hands); Living a healthy lifestyle (Health). Those values help. They really make a difference.”

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