By John McKain
Reprinted from Cornell Chronicle, July 5, 2011
Valerie Adams will become New York's 4-H Youth Development Program leader and assistant director of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) as of Aug. 29.
Adams will plan, deliver and evaluate 4-H, the youth component of CCE, supported by staff in 57 counties and New York City and thousands of volunteer leaders across the state. She will link extensive county-level programs with the research-based resources of Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Ecology.
A former 4-H educator in Philadelphia, she also has worked with Junior Achievement, Children's Defense Fund Freedom School, 21st Century Community Learning Center, Center for Youth Development at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and as a lecturer in Namibia.
She currently serves as research coordinator for the Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth Project at the University of Pennsylvania, where she integrates developmental theories into the design and application of culturally relevant interventions.
Adams said, "I am excited about serving as the NYS 4-H leader because it provides a wonderful opportunity to work with a dynamic group of people -- researchers, educators, volunteers and administrators who are passionate and vested in supporting and creating programs that result in positive youth development programming for 4-Hers across the state."
Adams received her B.S. from Philadelphia University, master's degree in urban education from Temple University and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies and human development from the University of Pennsylvania. She has done additional graduate study in South Africa.
Adams, said CCE Director Helene Dillard, "is clearly suited to advance the mission of Cornell Cooperative Extension and our 4-H youth development programs. Her history of moving innovative research into on-the-ground programs, and her first-hand experience working with kids in diverse settings, will make her a real asset to our programs, our educators and volunteers, and all the youth in New York who participate in 4-H."
With Adams' appointment, 4-H will relocate to the new Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Formed by the merger of the Family Life Development Center and the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center, the new center in the College of Human Ecology will bridge the gap between research and practice. 4-H will be at the vanguard of using research on youth development and learning to guide practices and programs. Practitioners, youth and other stakeholders will also engage in evaluation and other forms of research.
"Valerie is an advocate for 4-H and is highly qualified to advance youth development programs across the state," said Steve Hamilton, associate director for youth development at the Bronfenbrenner Center. "With her background and expertise, Valerie adds tremendous depth to the programs, and we look forward to a future of continued improvement."
With more than 6 million youth members, 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the United States. 4-H has been enriching the lives of youth and their families since the beginning of the 20th century. CCE staff members lead 4-H programs in nearly every county and city in New York state.
John McKain is assistant dean for communications in the College of Human Ecology.