Emily Schoenfelder recently joined the 4-H team at University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit as a unit-wide 4-H youth development educator.

Emily Schoenfelder recently joined the 4-H team at University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit as a unit-wide 4-H youth development educator. She came to Illinois after working with California 4-H, where she focused primarily on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and is excited to continue this focus here.


“I think that increasing STEM education opportunities for youth is vital to their success in their own lives, and in their ability to contribute to society. Kids have to be prepared to enter an increasingly competitive workforce,” Emily explained. “Plus, some of our biggest issues as a global community will only be solved by a STEM literate population-food safety and security; climate change; medical advancement; energy solutions-all of these huge issues are based in STEM areas. And 4-H has the unique opportunity to take these topics and infuse them with positive youth development to create really well-rounded young people.”


4-H strives for positive youth development by fostering belonging, independence, generosity, and mastery in its youth. Emily plans to encourage positive youth development throughout the area by building partnerships with other youth-serving organizations, and by helping grow the multi-project clubs, special interest clubs, and various programming that 4-H already does so well.


Before joining Extension, Emily received a Master of Science degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa and worked in residential camping for the YMCA.


As the unit youth development educator, Emily will take on program leadership for the unit 4-H team that includes a metro youth educator and five program coordinators. “She is bringing a wealth of knowledge and new perspectives to the 4-H program,” noted Earl Allen County Extension director. “I am excited for Emily to join our team. Her experience will be an asset for the 4-H team and our unit as a whole.”


Emily is beginning her U of I Extension career based out of the Tazewell branch office in Pekin. Her role will take her to many programs and meetings throughout the four counties. She can be reached at eschoe@illinois.edu or 309-347-6614.