AMES, Iowa--- Nicki Cortum is no stranger to preparation and hard work. Achieving high goals are nothing new for 4-H members, and Cortum is no exception. Cortum, an Iowa State University senior and native of Norwalk, is a past Warren County 4-H member with a very important new role: VEISHEA general co-chair.
She served on the VEISHEA committee her first and second years at Iowa State and worked as the office manager in 2009. This year she went straight to the top -- general co-chair.
“The more I got involved and learned about VEISHEA, the more passionate I became about seeing it continue to be a valued tradition at Iowa State,” said Cortum.
Cortum credits many of her leadership skills today back to her 4-H involvement. 4-H is the youth development program of Iowa State University Extension dedicated to advancing the leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills of Iowa’s youth. She is not alone; research from ISU Extension shows that 72 percent of 4-H members improved their leadership skills, among others.
“I think all the presentations I gave, project goals and reports I wrote and all the judges I talked to about my projects definitely made me a strong communicator, which has helped me be successful at many things I’ve done,” said Cortum.
“Participating in 4-H gave me a sense of work ethic and taught me what it means to finish a project you start,” said Cortum. “That also taught me problem-solving skills and responsibility.”
Responsibility is in no shortage with Cortum. Along with her co-chair, Hallie Satre, she is in charge of seeing that 2010 VEISHEA showcases all that Iowa State has to offer.
Again, Cortum credits 4-H as helping prepare her for this task. In the past, she held an internship coordinating the Madison County Fair, which celebrates all the great things 4-H members have done over a year.
In 2010, VEISHEA will celebrate Iowa State by using Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Tradition for the week of April 12-18. During this week the Iowa State campus will host college showcases, entertainment, parades and much more.
Cortum encourages other 4-H members to use the skills they have learned and remain involved.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities you have to learn something new or practice what you have learned,” advises Cortum. “I know that sometimes giving a presentation doesn’t seem like much fun, but these really are skills you will use in the future.
“Also, don’t be afraid to set your goals high and pursue what you love to do,” said Cortum. “If you are passionate about a goal and are willing to work hard to accomplish it, anything is possible!”
Cortum has proved her statement through dedication to what she is passionate about and is confident that her 4-H background will continue to serve her in the future.
“Being a general co-chair has been rewarding and valuable experience that I know will continue to serve me well in the future,” said Cortum.
VEISHEA is an annual celebration held at Iowa State each spring and one of its oldest traditions. It serves as a showcase and display of the Iowa State community with a wide variety of educational and entertainment events.
About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth are involved in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact your Iowa State University Extension county office at www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices/ or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4H.
Kassi Williams, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9915, firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, email@example.com