Iowa 4-H Members Recognized for Outstanding Work in Project Areas

July 3, 2019, 9:40 am | Payton Sash

AMES, Iowa – Fifty Iowa 4-H members were recognized for their 2019 state 4-H project awards at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference during the closing ceremony held on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Thursday, June 27.

A project area is a broad topic that 4-H members can explore on their own or with the mentorship of a 4-H leader or other caring adult. Project area award applicants are asked to explain how they’ve demonstrated exemplary leadership, communication and civic engagement through their exploration of a project area over a number of years.

Each award recipient was granted a $100 award from Glen and Mary Jo Mente of Ames and the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

4-H project award recipients.4-H projects allow members learning opportunities to strengthen their skills and knowledge in topics that interest them. 4-H is the youth development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“This recognition is a great honor and testament to the dedication these young people have invested in mastering skills in a specific project area,” said Bonnie Dalager, 4-H youth program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Each year, youth from around the state share their experience in the project area over time through a resume and written application, which is judged by volunteers from related industries around the state,” said Dalager. “The recognition process provides additional skill development opportunities that help young people prepare for future college or career processes such as submitting an application or writing a resume.”  

Applications for next years’ state 4-H project area awards will open in late fall. All Iowa 4-H members who are in grades 9-12 may apply for up to two project area awards per year, with a maximum of one award per applicant. For more information on the Iowa 4-H Recognition opportunities, contact Bonnie Dalager at

4-H project award winners are listed by county.


  • Storm Hoadley, Civic Engagement. Adair County 4-H member Storm Hoadley is the son of Autumn Hoadley.  A seven-year member of 4-H, he has participated in dog, citizenship, food and nutrition, and communications project areas. Storm attends East Union High School and has been president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of his 4-H club and has participated in his county and state-level 4-H Councils.
  • Zayden Rawlings, Civic Engagement. Adair County 4-H member Zayden Rawlings is the son of Sieanna Rawlings and Rob Foss. A seven-year 4-H member, he has participated in personal development, visual arts, photography, citizenship, leadership, and dog project areas. He attends Orient-Macksburg High School and has been secretary and treasurer of his 4-H club. He is an active member in his county 4-H Youth Council and Youth Action Committee. He is also an Iowa 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador.


  • Alex Ludeking, Beef. Benton County 4-H member Alex Ludeking is the son of Theresa and George Ludeking. A six-year 4-H member, he has participated in market and breeding beef and bucket bottle calf projects as well as music, woodworking, horticulture, food and nutrition, welding, photography, communications, sewing, visual arts, and citizenship. He has been vice president, secretary and reporter of his 4-H Club. He is a member of the Benton County 4-H Livestock Judging Team and exhibited his steer in the Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair. He participated in the Iowa 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus trip to Washington, D.C.

Black Hawk

  • Ellie Brown, Sewing and Needle Arts. Black Hawk County 4-H member Ellie Brown is the daughter of Derek and Carrie Brown. A nine-year 4-H member, she has participated in food and nutrition, fashion revue, sewing and needle arts, photography, and rabbit project areas, and has been selected for state Awardrobe. She attends Hudson High School and has served as president, vice president, and treasurer of her 4-H club and is a member of her county 4-H council.
  • Megan Pezley, STEM. Megan Pezley of Black Hawk County is the daughter of Shawn and Michelle Pezley. She is a 12-year 4-H member and participates in child development, communications, sewing and needle arts, food and nutrition, and STEM project areas. She graduated from Cedar Falls High School this past May. For the past seven years, Megan has served as either president or vice president of the Cedar Falls Lucky Hawks 4-H club. She is an active member of the Black Hawk County Council, mentors the county's FIRST 4-H LEGO League team, and coaches the county's 4-H FIRST Lego League Jr. team.


  • Katie Barnes, Photography. Boone County 4-H member Katie Barnes is the daughter of Jeff and DeAnn Barnes. A seven-year member of the Luther Livewires, she has enjoyed participating in communications, photography, environment and sustainability, showing her cat, and much more. She has held many leadership positions in her club, currently secretary and co-reporter, and joined County Council this year. She attends Ames High School where she plays trombone and is involved in their recycling club.
  • Natalie Bretey, Health. Boone County 4-H member Natalie Bretey is the daughter of Eric and Melanie Bretey. A nine-year 4-H member, she actively serves on the County Council, Youth Committee, and the State 4-H Council, and is a Trustee Member on the Iowa 4-H Foundation Board. She participated in communications, health, food and nutrition, environment and sustainability, clothing and fashion, and many more project areas. She is attending DMACC in Boone this fall for Nursing.


  • Eric Plagman, Swine. Cass County 4-H member Eric Plagman is the son of Mike and Kristi Plagman. As an eight-year 4-H member of the Benton-Franklin 4-H Club, he has participated in swine, market and breeding beef, and woodworking project areas. He is a recent graduate of CAM High School where he was active in FFA, National Honor Society, basketball and student manager for football. He currently is serving as president of his 4-H Club and serves on the Cass County Youth Council.
  • Katie York, Child Development. Cass County 4-H member Katie York is the daughter of Dave and Kristy York. A nine-year 4-H member, she has participated in child development, visual arts, clothing, photography, sewing and needle arts, food and nutrition, home improvement, decorators showcase, decorators showcase junior superintendent, best of Iowa, clothing selection and fashion revue, king and queen contest, working exhibits, and educational presentation. She just graduated from Atlantic and has been the historian, treasurer, secretary, reporter, vice president, and president of her club. She also participated in the Youth Action Committee and the Youth Council as photographer and president.

Cerro Gordo

  • Britta Elsbernd, Music. Britta Elsbernd, from Cerro Gordo County, is the daughter of Randy and Becky Elsbernd. As a seven-year member of 4-H, she has participated in the sewing and needle arts, communication, horse, and rabbit project areas. She attends Mason City High School, is the current president of the Cerro Gordo Explorers 4-H club and serves on the Cerro Gordo Teen Council.
  • Emily Shatek, Home Improvement. Cerro Gordo County 4-H member Emily Shatek is the daughter of Tim and Gayle Shatek. A seven-year 4-H member, she has participated in dog, citizenship, photography, visual arts and communications project areas. She attends Newman Catholic High School and serves on the Cerro Gordo County Teen Council and State 4-H Council.


  • Kristina Goth, Leadership. Cherokee County's Kristina Goth is the daughter of Jeff and Ann Goth. A seven-year 4-H member of the Tilden Tillers 4-H Club, she has participated in 19 project areas in her 4-H career with sewing and needle arts, citizenship, leadership, and communications being her primary focus.  She attends MMCRU High School and currently serves as a member of the Cherokee County 4-H Youth Council and is the secretary of the Tilden Tillers 4-H Club.  One of her greatest accomplishments in 4-H was starting a 4-H sewing club called the Thread Heads with her sister for younger 4-H members in her county.
  • Kaitlyn Goth, Leadership. Cherokee County's Kaitlyn Goth is the daughter of Jeff and Ann Goth. She is an eight-year member of the Tilden Tillers 4-H Club and together with her sister, is the co-founder and co-leader of the Thread Head's 4-H Sewing Club. She has participated in multiple static areas with leadership, citizenship, and sewing being her favorites. She attends MMCRU High School and currently serves on Cherokee County 4-H Youth Council and is the president of the Tilden Tillers 4-H Club.


  • Ruth Marth, Communication. Emmet County 4-H member Ruth Marth is the daughter of Tom and Bobbie Sue Marth and is homeschooled and dual-enrolled in ELC High School. During her eight years in 4-H, Ruth’s favorite project areas have been communications, horse, dog, sewing, and welding. She has held the offices of president, vice president, secretary, reporter, and historian in the Horsin’ Around 4-H club, is the secretary of County Council, and serves on the 4-H and Youth Committee.


  • Justine Jordahl, Child Development. Franklin County 4-H member Justine Jordahl is the daughter of Justin and Tiffany Jordahl. A seven-year 4-H member, she has participated in child development, health, food and nutrition, vet science, animal science, dog, sewing, consumer management, visual arts, and horse. She is homeschooled and has been president, healthy living director, secretary, and reporter of her club. She has participated in Clover Kids Council, Animal Quiz Bowl, and is on the County Council. Her activities include horses, basketball, volleyball, trapshooting, violin, viola, guitar and piano.


  • Abby Ervin, Communication. Abby Ervin is a six-year 4-H member of the Clear Lake Sailors 4-H Club in Hamilton County. She is the daughter of Scott and Paula Ervin. She attends South Hamilton High School. In 4-H, Abby is involved in the communication, photography, clothing, and food and nutrition project areas. In her 4-H club, she is the vice president and actively serves on the Citizenship Committee.


  • Britt Bowersox, Clothing. Johnson County 4-H member Britt Bowersox is the daughter of Chris and Colene Bowersox. A six-year 4-H member, she has participated in citizenship, clothing, communications, extemporaneous speaking, beef, and swine. She attends Xavier High School and is a member of Graham Champions 4-H Club and serves on her county youth council.


  • Daniel Howell, Communications. Daniel Howell, son of Chris and Jenny Howell, attends Winterset High School in Madison County. During his eight years in 4-H, he has participated in communications, photography, dog, and STEM project areas. In his 4-H club, he has served as reporter, treasurer, and vice president, and is currently serving his second year as president.


  • Leah Mosher, Self-Determined. Marshall County 4-H member Leah Mosher, daughter of Jim and Brenda Mosher, is a nine-year 4-H member who has participated in a variety of non-livestock and livestock project areas. Her favorites have included beef and food and nutrition. She has served in numerous leadership roles and is currently finishing up her term on the 2018-2019 State 4-H Council. Leah has also participated in county, state, and national activities including the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, National 4-H Congress, and State 4-H Conference.


  • Sebastien Janelle, Leadership. Polk County 4-H member Sebastien Janelle is the son of Luc and Monica Janelle. A seven-year 4-H member, he has participated in jeadership, citizenship, photography, rabbits and showmanship project areas. He attends Ankeny Centennial High School and has been vice president and safety officer of his Ankeny 4-H club and has participated in Polk County 4-H county council.
  • Gabby Neddermeyer, Music. Biography not available.


  • Thea Larsson, STEM. Poweshiek County 4-H member Thea Larsson is the daughter of Gary and Valorie Larsson. A six-year 4-H member, she shows primarily in indoor projects including communications, visual arts, photography, child development, and horticulture. She has been a member of three 4-H clubs: Mighty Golden Clovers, Junior Master Gardeners, and Grinnell Robotics Club. In addition to being the secretary for the Poweshiek 4-H County Council, Thea is co-leader of her club's technology committee and serves on the 4-H Youth Fair Entertainment Committee. Thea is involved in track, cross country, swimming, golf, band, choir, and the Grinnell High School student council.
  • Parker Volkman, Music. Poweshiek County 4-H member Parker Volkman is the son of Glenn and Diane Volkman. An eight-year 4-H member, he has participated in music, photography, communications, citizenship, and STEM project areas. He attends Grinnell High School and serves as treasurer of the Mighty Golden Clovers 4-H Club and the Poweshiek County Council.


  • Logan Blum, Woodworking. Sac county 4-H member Logan Blum is the son of Nathan and Jamie Blum. A seven-year 4-H member, he has participated in woodworking, communications, baking, citizenship, and horticulture project areas. He also shows rabbits. He attends Ridge View High School where he participates in speech, basketball and choir. He is on the county council for Sac County.
  • Taylor Houska, Swine. Sac County 4-H member Taylor Houska is the daughter of Pete and Nancy Houska. A nine-year 4-H member, she has participated in swine, communication, leadership, photography, visual arts, and food and nutrition. She attends East Sac County and has been secretary and sentinel of her 4-H club and has participated in her county 4-H council.
  • Alex Movall, Civic Engagement. Alex Movall is the son of Alan and Jennifer Movall. Alex has been involved in Sac County 4-H for eight years. Alex is a member of the Iowa State 4-H youth council. Alex’s favorite project areas are citizenship, communications, and swine. Alex has participated in 4-H at the county, state, and national levels.


  • Lucy Borkowski, Food and Nutrition. A Shelby County 4-H member and member of the Northeast Sodbusters, Lucy Borkowski is the daughter of Steve and Holly Borkowski. An eight-year 4-H member, Lucy has participated in food and nutrition, visual arts, clothing, photography, and dog and dairy goat showmanship. She has been a 4-H officer for six years and is currently the FFA president at Harlan Community High School. Her interest in the area of food and nutrition led her to compete at the World Food Prize youth event in Ames recently.
  • Mallory Mulligan, Clothing. Shelby County 4-H member Mallory Mulligan is the daughter of Andy and Tiffany Mulligan.  She is a seven-year 4-H member. She has participated in food and nutrition, rabbits, clothing, communication, and photography project areas. Mallory attends Harlan Community High School and has been president and vice president of her 4-H clubs. She is also a member of the 4-H youth committee.


  • Carla Edleman, Sheep. Carla Edleman is the daughter of Marty and Kristi Edleman. An eight-year Story County 4-H member, Carla is involved in both livestock and static projects. Carla has shown sheep and swine at county, state, and national livestock shows, including AKSARBEN, the American Royal, and the North American International Livestock Exposition. Carla enjoys sewing, food and nutrition, and home improvement projects. She serves as secretary of the Palestine Peppy Pushers Club and as part of the Story County Council. Carla will be a senior at Ballard High School in Huxley this fall.
  • Dillon Hanlon, Communication. Story County 4-H member Dillon Hanlon is the son of Eugenia and Jeff Hartsook. A six-year 4-H member, he has participated in swine, poultry, child development, clothing, home improvement, photography, visual arts, and communications project areas. He attends North Polk High School and is a member of the Palestine Peppy Pushers 4-H club and serves on the Story County Youth County Council.
  • Claira Miller, Horse and Pony. Claira Miller, a Story County 4-H member, is the daughter of Todd and Eileen Miller. As an eight-year 4-H member, she has participated in horse, photography, animal science, food and nutrition, and visual arts. Claira has held the office of vice president in her club in addition to serving on the Story County Youth Council and the State 4-H Council. She will be a senior at Nevada High School.


  • Eric Keller, Leadership. Eric Keller, Tama County, is the son of Ryan and Melissa Keller. As a nine-year 4-H member, Eric exhibited many livestock projects and completed projects in communications, leadership, woodworking, animal and veterinary science, food and nutrition, photography, and 4-H Shooting Sports. Eric is homeschooled and has served as both an Iowa and National 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador. Highlights throughout Eric's time in 4-H  include National 4-H Conference, representing Iowa at 4-H SESS Nationals in Nebraska, and his 4-H Leadership project -- The Tama County Swine Grant. Other highlights include receiving state projects awards in communications, poultry, and veterinary science.
  • Abigail Sandvick, Communications. Tama County 4-H member Abigail Sandvick is the daughter of Shaya and Bryan Sorensen and A.J. and Ashley Sandvick. A four-year 4-H member, she has participated in communication, poultry, leadership, and many other project areas. She attends South Tama County High School and has been secretary and president of her 4-H Club. She has served on Tama County Council and Youth Advisory Committee. She has also had many leadership roles as an ambassador for the state of Iowa.


  • Tyler Loudon, Beef Award. Tyler Loudon has been a Union County 4-H member for six years. He is the son of Tim and Karen Loudon of Creston, Iowa. He is very active in his beef project, being on the junior boards of both the Iowa Maine Anjou and Simmentals. Tyler participates in at least two National Junior Shows per year where he excels not only with his cattle, but also in the contests. He is also active in other livestock projects as well as the dog project. He is a member of the Union County 4-H Youth Council.

Van Buren

  • Josiah Westercamp, Communication. Van Buren County 4-H member Josiah Westercamp is the son of Steven and Christine Westercamp. A seven-year member of the Jolly Trio 4-H Club, he has participated in project areas including communications, clothing, horticulture, rabbit, and swine. He has been treasurer, historian, and reporter for his club. He is homeschooled and plays football for the Van Buren Warriors.


  • David Hora, Agronomy. Biography not available.


  • Hannah Groos, STEM. Warren County 4-H member Hannah Groos, is the daughter of Jennifer and Christopher Groos. A six-year 4-H member, she has participated in STEM, communications, healthy living, leadership, and citizenship project areas. She attends Norwalk High School, has been a healthy living officer for her club, is part of Senior 4-H, and is a healthy living state ambassador.
  • Gabby McCoy, Civic Engagement. Warren County 4-H member Gabby McCoy is the daughter of Tim and Kathy McCoy.  An eight-year member, she has participated in communications, photography, leadership, clothing, foods, and citizenship project areas. Gabby attends Carlisle High School and is the president of her 4-H Club and vice president of her County Council. For two years she was the president of the Warren County Intermediate 4-H Leadership Team. She is very active in community service and so far has completed over 475 hours during high school. For the past two years, she has worked as 4-H Staff at the Iowa State Fair.


  • Nathan Rethwisch, Communication. Webster County 4-H member Nathan Rethwisch is the son of Steven and Mary Rethwisch. He has been in 4-H for seven years and enjoys participating in educational presentations, woodworking, photography, and sewing and needle arts. He attends Fort Dodge Senior High and is active in band, football, and soccer there. Nathan has served on the Webster County Council and has been the president, secretary, treasurer, photographer, reporter, and historian of his club.


  • Jacob McGowan, Civic Engagement. Woodbury County 4-H member Jake McGowan is the son of Chris and Cathleen McGowan. He is a six-year member of the Lucky Lassies and Lads 4-H club and currently serves as club co-treasurer. Jake attends Bishop Heelan Catholic High School where he wrestles, plays baseball, and is on student council. This is Jake's first year applying for a state award, and is very grateful for all the experience he had over a three- year period working with Opportunities Unlimited helping to write and obtain grant funds for the brain injury facility, which led to this state award.
  • Nicholas McGowan, Leadership. Woodbury County 4-H member Nicholas McGowan is an eight-year member of the Lucky Lassies and Lads. He is the son of Chris and Cathleen McGowan. Nick currently serves as his club president, is a two-year member of the County Council, and served last year as part of the State 4-H Council. This is Nick's third state award. In the fall he will be a senior at Bishop Heelan where he will continue to wrestle and serve as the student body vice president.
  • Bethany Widman, Leadership. Woodbury County 4-H member Bethany Widman is the daughter of David and Elizabeth Widman. A nine-year member of 4-H, Bethany has participated in dairy, poultry, communications, and sewing and needle arts, to name a few of the project areas. She is a member of the Bronson Rustlers 4-H club and has served as her club's president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Bethany is also a member of 4-H County Council and 4-H Recognition Team where she has served as the youth president and vice-president.
  • Haley Williams, Beef. Biography not available.


  • Tori Eckard, Rabbit. Worth County 4-H member Tori Eckard is the daughter of Herb and April Eckard and attends Saint Ansgar High School. Tori is very active with animal and photography projects. Tori currently holds the position of treasurer with the Grafton Green Clovers and co-owns Shabby Acres Rabbitry.
  • Kelsie Kinne, Clothing. Worth County 4-H member Kelsie Kinne is the daughter of Sarah and Kevin Kinne. A seven-year 4-H member, she has participated in multiple project areas including clothing, sewing and needle arts, welding, woodworking, and goats. She attends Central Springs High School and is a member of Student Council and National Honor Society. She has been secretary and historian of her 4-H club and has participated in her county council. One of her biggest 4-H accomplishments was attending the 2019 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
  • Hannah Lanphere, Communications. Worth County 4-H member Hannah Lanphere is the daughter of Robert and Melinda Lanphere. She is a sophmore at Central Springs High School, and she has been a member of the Golden Banner 4-H club for seven years. She has participated in sewing and needle arts, communication, poultry, llama, and food and nutrition project areas. She also serves on the Worth County Council.
  • Reece Nelson, Outdoor Adventures. Worth County 4-H member Reece Nelson is the son of Brad and Irene Nelson. A seven-year 4-H member, he has participated in communications, sheep, beef, outdoor adventures and safety in shooting sports, food and nutrition, and clothing project areas. Reece is an active member of two 4-H Clubs, Worth County Council, and the Worth County 4-H Livestock Judging team. He attends Glenville-Emmons High School and is in FFA, Student Council, plays the trumpet in band, and enjoys playing varsity football, basketball, and baseball.
  • Austin Patterson, Sheep. Biography not available.
  • Sydney Patterson, Leadership. Worth County 4-H member Sydney Patterson is the daughter of Jen and John Patterson. A nine-year member, she has participated in many leadership and communication projects and events. She also has participated in wood working, home improvement, beef cattle, photography, and visual arts project areas. She has been club president for four years and participates in her county and state level 4-H councils.


  • Shea Whaley, Beef. Shea Whaley is the daughter of Bryan and Allison Whaley of Eagle Grove. She is a seven-year member of the Wright Warriors 4-H Club in Wright County. Shea has provided many years of leadership to her club, serving as historian, reporter, secretary and currently the president. She has been active as a member of the county council, provided leadership for a Kid's Day Fair Activity, and enjoys working for the Wright County Junior District Fair. During her 4-H years, she has participated in beef, animal and veterinary science, photography, leadership, communications, and food and nutrition.


Photo: 2019 4-H state project award recipients

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