Maya Hayslett Named Crop Sciences Youth Educator for Iowa State University

New educator to enhance science-related educational opportunities for K-12 Iowa youth

June 23, 2017, 12:20 pm | Cayla Taylor

AMES, Iowa – Maya Hayslett has been hired as the new crop sciences youth educator and will be working closely with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development and Agriculture and Natural Resources programs to provide leadership and direction for the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Crop Science-STEM priority topic area. She will guide development, implementation and evaluation for K-12 Youth Crop Science programming.Maya Hayslett

“I’m looking forward to being more involved in the curriculum design aspects of crop science education,” said Hayslett. “I want to help design programs that are fun and help youth learn more about science and agriculture.”

In an effort to strengthen agricultural educational programs for youth, Hayslett will also join a newly formed agricultural product development team, comprised of 4-H extension program specialists with expertise in agricultural programming to identify, develop and provide training on agricultural educational products to 4-H staff, volunteers and youth statewide.

“This new position bridges the ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development Program and Agriculture and Natural Resources educational areas to expand crop science learning resources and experiences for K-12 youth throughout Iowa,” said Cayla Taylor, program manager for Iowa 4-H Educational Opportunities with Iowa 4-H Youth Development. “Maya will work to provide crop sciences programming to youth through in school and afterschool programs, camps, 4-H clubs and events.”

Hayslett holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Iowa State, and a master’s degree in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota. Her prior work experience includes more than one year at the USDA-ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit, and 10 years as an instructor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she assisted in teaching biology for non-majors and introductory plant pathology courses. Her experience in science education includes traditional lab and lecture instruction as well as lab activity design, online courses and educational research.

“I think science and agricultural literacy are very important, and I’m excited to work with and educate youth across the state about crop sciences,” said Hayslett.

As the newly appointed crop sciences youth educator, Hayslett will work closely with members of ISU Integrated Pest Management and Department of Horticulture to help educate Iowa youth about these specific areas of agriculture.

“It’s crucial that we introduce horticulture and agriculture at a young age to inspire enthusiasm, curiosity and encourage learning,” said Daren Mueller, extension plant pathologist and coordinator for the ISU Integrated Pest Management program. “We’re excited to have someone with Maya’s experience and expertise in this important position, and we look forward to working with her.”

For more information, contact Cayla Taylor, program manager for Iowa 4-H Educational Opportunities with Iowa 4-H Youth Development, at 515-294-1877 or

Photo: Maya Hayslett is the new crop sciences youth educator.

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