At the fair.
Photo credit: Fernanda Juarez

Hi everyone, Fernanda Juarez here. I recently finished my internship and attended our county fair, and I enjoyed every bit of it! Being able to see all the 4-H kids in person and seeing them work with their animals really made me thankful to experience this internship.

From toddlers to full-grown teenagers, 4-H members were all helping each other in any way they could. It was adorable seeing the little Cloverbuds (kids from ages 5-8 in 4-H) working with their animals, which were also babies! Competitions involved kids of all different ages. In one of the biggest competitions, called “Round Robin,” kids were asked to show different species of animals and show that they are able to work with all the animals. While they did that, my team and I walked all around the arena, picking up score sheets from judges while checking and adding scores.

In 4-H, you always have a helping hand around you, because everyone is so kind to one another . This is always such a big achievement for kids in 4-H because it shows leadership in the older teens and influences the younger kids, inspiring leadership and responsibility in them as well. Introducing these qualities to kids at an early age helps them develop and learn life skills. This will help them all as they grow older and gain more responsibility.

Malheur County is small compared to other counties, so OSU Extension’s office here and the opportunities provided make a big difference to local kids. Extension’s many other local programs help our communities succeed. It’s the small things that make everything worthwhile.

Three women pose for a selfie on the shore.
Yolanda Diaz, Kiera Briner (Chief Science Officer) and Barbara Brody (Associate professor of practice, FCH) attended the Chief Science Officer National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.
Photo credit: Yolanda Diaz

My OSU Extension Internship experience has been life-changing, to say the least. It has been filled with professional development, mentorship and valuable work. My journey with Extension began as a Malheur Works intern during the first year of the program. The program strives to provide recent high school graduates with an opportunity for workforce development. MW Internship program also focuses on meeting local industry needs by fostering youth with professional skills to become equipped employees. The internship program also offers paid internships for students, enabling them to prepare for future employment or higher education.

After graduating high school, I was placed at OSU Extension Service.  At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my internship, but I ended up loving it! Thankfully, I was offered an extended internship that started the following summer after my first year of college. My time with Extension has allowed me to grow professionally, and I was thrilled to return once again in the summer of 2023. I have now completed three summer internships with Extension.

A classroom full of young people stand around two tables.
Malheur Works interns and Yolanda Diaz (center).
Interns participated in an activity prepared by Yolanda at Professional Development Day.
Photo credit: Barbara Brody

I’m beyond grateful to say OSU Extension has provided me job security during my college career. I look forward to coming home each summer to continue meaningful work in the community. During my internships, I was able to enhance my leadership skills and take on additional roles and responsibilities each year. My overarching goal includes outreach and engagement with community partners to address needs in the community. Each summer, the needs we focus on has varied. The solutions and approaches that I’ve seen to resolve the issues Malheur County is facing have been creative and culturally sensitive. My education in social work has taught me the importance of meeting people where they are and practicing cultural empathy. I’m pleased that I have gained a broader perspective on the issues affecting my county and the effective measures taken to tackle them.

Two women work on computers at a table and smile for the camera.
Nickie Shira (Director of Frontier STEM Hub) and Yolanda Diaz, working on youth workforce development.
Photo credit: Barbara Brody

This summer, I had the chance to work with the Malheur Works Internship program. My role was to help develop additional activities and provide input during the professional development days to engage the interns and enhance their learning experience. Contributing to this program was personally meaningful to me, as I had benefited from it before, and I wanted others to have the same positive experience. Through my work with the MW program, I learned about the significance of providing workforce development opportunities in rural communities. I was pleased to hear about the positive impact the program had on each intern during the marketing and promotional events.

It’s bittersweet to realize that my time as an OSU Intern is coming to an end, as I never truly realized what a wonderful journey I had begun. Nevertheless, I’m certain that my involvement with Extension won’t come to an end after this year, as it has greatly influenced my career path. I’m grateful to my co-workers, colleagues, and supervisors who have provided me with a safe and enjoyable environment to develop my skills. Being surrounded by individuals who are passionate and supportive of the work we do every day is something that never goes unnoticed. Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to OSU Extension Service for granting me an unforgettable opportunity. My passion for Extension continues to flourish as I work towards serving Malheur County every single day.

– Yolanda Diaz

A picture in picture of a woman in a room filled with tables of green books.
Working with kids’ record books and organizing them by club.
Photo credit: Fernanda Juarez

Hi everyone! My name is Fernanda Juarez and I’m currently working my second internship here at the OSU Extension office in Malheur County. Last year I worked here for the first time under a different internship program and this returning year I’m with OSU. I’m mainly working with 4-H Youth Development and helping organize our county fair.

In Malheur County in order to show at the fair, 4-H’ers are asked to do an interview about their projects that they’ve been doing throughout the year. So far during my internship we’ve been getting ready for 4-H interviews and while doing so I’ve been reaching out to parents in order to schedule a record book interview for their kids. Since 4-H offers a variety of activities for kids to do as projects it’s exciting to see what different things everyone is doing!

We believe that these interviews are beneficial for the kids as they are able to show and demonstrate their responsible and social skills towards themselves and their project. They speak on topics such as how they grow their animal, sewed a dress or painted a picture. These kids are able to identify what they have been able to learn and how they can apply it to their everyday lives.

Once the process for interviews is over, we then take the kids’ record books and double check their scores after the judges finish scoring them in order to make sure everything is correct, while organizing the books into their club groups so we could return them to the club leaders.



A woman teaches a young girl at a table outside under an Oregon State University canopy.
Yolanda Diaz teaching new generations in Malheur County.
Photo credit: Sierra Dobson

Hello everyone! I am Yolanda Diaz, a Family and Community Health intern for Oregon State University Extension Service in Malheur County. This is my second year as an OSU intern, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have this wonderful opportunity. Currently, I attend George Fox University where I am majoring in social work. As a social work student, I am always eager to discover ways to empower families and communities. This internship has provided me with a glimpse into the resources, events and opportunities that Eastern Oregon has to offer as well as the areas that require additional support. I am grateful that my education has taught me the importance of meeting people where they are and using appropriate methods to assist them. This internship has significantly enhanced my ability to respond to various situations.

As an intern this year, I’ve been helping to address the issue of food insecurity in Malheur County. Last year, I attended a meeting of the Western Treasure Valley (WTV) Food Systems partnership. We discussed how food systems operate, the underlying causes of obstacles within these systems and the WTV team’s proposed solutions. During this discussion, there were suggestions for building a connection between community members and food systems partners. Although I missed some important updates and conversations while I was away at school in 2022-2023, it was amazing to come back this year and see the progress my colleagues have made.

This month, I was involved in the planning process for a food systems partnership “community center.” With the help of local professionals and the Oregon Food Bank, we were able to come up with a vision for a future location. It’s been rewarding to have been a part of this project from the beginning to where it is now and where it’s heading. I feel a strong connection with my community now more than ever. Being involved in the different stages of addressing food insecurity in Malheur County is an experience I never expected. I’ve now witnessed the hard work and dedication that goes into creating a healthy and meaningful environment for families in our community.

I have consistently developed and shared information on at farmers’ markets, educating community members of all ages. I’ve also assisted with delivering cooking camps in rural towns in Malheur County. It is valuable to connect with people in the same county because one conversation can have a significant impact. Promoting healthy living through research-based recipes and physical activities is essential for my community.

Being able to create meaningful work to bring recreation and life to our community is rewarding. The work I’m doing has provided me with a chance to develop my passion for Extension.

Several children and a few adults reach down to pet ducks on the grass.
Petting ducks at the Kids’ Club: Intro to the Animal World event at Harney County Fairgrounds in Burns, Oregon
Photo credit: Tayleur Baker

Hello, my name is Tayleur Baker, and this year I am an intern at the OSU Extension office in Harney County! I will be an upcoming freshman at Oregon State University in the fall of 2023. I could not be more excited! Go Beavs! As a student majoring in agriculture and communication, I have been beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with the 4-H kids this summer and work with Harney County 4-H media. These two areas of the internship are my absolute favorite, as I love working with youth and advocating for the agriculture industry.

As a fifth-generational rancher in Harney County and an eight-year 4-H member, this position is as a way to serve and give back to my community. With Harney County being a predominantly agricultural area where the cows outnumber the people 14:1, I understand the importance of the industry and strive to promote agriculture sustainability for future generations. We all have the power to change the world if we dare to take the initiative, and I am confident that changing the world starts knee-deep in the community. While serving through this internship, I hope to grow as an individual, impact my community and empower others to use their skills to make a difference and shine.

Throughout the past month and a half, I have been able to write press releases for Harney County’s local newspaper and our extension website, draft social media posts for our 4-H media outlets, speak on the local radio about all things 4-H, help prepare for fair, attend Summer Conference, and help with awesome 4-H members and their projects.

Twelve young people stand in the archway of a large brick building.
Malheur County and Harney County Kids Team at OSU during the 4-H Summer Conference
Photo credit: Yolanda Diaz, Malheur County Extension intern

Last June, I was extremely grateful to be able to attend the 2023 4-H Oregon Summer Conference and connect with Malheur County, as well as help one local 4-H member bring her community service project to life. This student is an eighth grader at Crane, and she saw a need to educate youth in our town about agriculture and livestock. Through an “Intro to the animal world” event, this student was able to connect with our local Harney County Kids’ Club and teach about agriculture through a livestock animal show-and-tell at the Harney County Fairgrounds. This event was enjoyable for me due to its connection to agriculture, its ability to bridge the gap between consumers and producers, and the chance to grow next-generation leaders.

In the coming months, I will continue to prepare for the 2023 Harney County Fair and Rodeo in September and assist 4-H members with their projects. I look forward to the coming months and the adventures that they hold. Onto more memories ahead and the chance to strive to better myself, others, and my community!

This summer internship has had such a positive impact on me so far. My time spent working for OSU Extension in Malheur County is exciting and significant. It’s been illuminating to become aware of certain issues my county faces and how I can help meet their needs. Learning about different local partners in my county is very important to me as well because it expands my worldview.

Yolanda Diaz (left) helps with the makerspace event.

I’ve gotten to work with youth for makerspace events at summer school and with community partners. Makerspace is a program of the Frontier STEM Hub. It includes 3D printing, laser engraving, vinyl cutting for stickers, and heat-press for making T-shirts. I help students in our county by fostering their technology skills, spreading entrepreneurship awareness and expanding creativity.

The most recent makerspace event was in partnership with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. Interacting with youth through their designs and creations was a great way to learn about their stories and cultures. The makerspace builds a career-connected learning opportunity for youth and families within our county. One thing I love about Extension in Malheur County is that it does its best to be culturally responsive in diverse and effective manners.

Another valuable event that I’ve had the opportunity to help with is a literacy walk. We had about 30 different stations where leaders implemented physical activities to get from one “page” to another. The books that we use for walk-an- read events encourage students in regards to physical activity. I highly enjoy delivering this activity to create an action-oriented experience for children. One of our upcoming walk-and-read events will be Ontario Municipal Airport where families can meet with pilots and learn about different helicopters or planes. It will be a great experience!

Children participate in the walk-and-read literacy event in Malheur County. Photo by Yolanda Diaz.

Being a leader for 4-H participants has also been an eye-opening experience. I enjoy getting to know each student individually and am always impressed by their outstanding skills and service. Chaperoning for the state 4-H Summer Conference at OSU in Corvallis was a good time for me to learn the role of an adult in a different setting and be able to create the best experience possible for 4-Hers. I can’t wait to be a chaperone (and returning alumni) for the state Chief Science Officers Leadership Institute at East Oregon University.

This internship has also taught me to set boundaries and maintain a professional relationship with students who are close to my age, which will be important for my future profession. I also have the opportunity to document and establish fun activities for the Malheur Works internship program in their professional development days. My internship has exposed me to new roles and experiences that help me become more responsible as I’m adulting.

We still have so much planned for this summer, such as county fair and summer camps. I have such an amazing supervisor in Barbara Brody and can’t wait to continue learning with her help. I’m thankful for having such a positive work environment and I thank OSU Extension for giving me this great opportunity.

Hello everyone, my name is Yolanda Diaz, and I am from the town of Nyssa in Malheur County. I’m a student at George Fox University, on my way to a bachelor’s degree in social work. I aspire to pursue a master’s in social work and then become a licensed clinical social worker. One of my main goals is to have my own counseling practice for families and children.

I’ve been involved in OSU Extension 4-H Teens as Teachers and other programs where I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and network with many STEM professionals. This summer, I’m working alongside my supervisor, Barbara Brody, associate professor of practice and 4-H educator. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to plan cooking camps for youths, learn about aviation services, promote physical activity around our county, and develop engaging activities at the farmers market.

Yolanda Diaz poses for a picture in front of an Oregon State University Extension Service farmers market booth with coloring supplies and coloring sheets available for youth
Yolanda Diaz at the OSU Extension table at a farmers market.

The process of planning and delivering “Kids in the Kitchen” was a new and exciting experience for me. I’m grateful that our team is able to host summer camps in order for youths to gain essential skills regarding cooking and baking. Seeing them understand concepts and apply them to their work throughout the summer is truly rewarding. Our team has also gotten the chance to visit different schools in our county and teach lessons related to food and nutrition.

Yolanda Diaz handing out sliced fruit to a little girl for making smoothies.
Yolanda Diaz (right) hands out ingredients for making smoothies.

One of my favorite parts of this internship is working in makerspace events. I contribute by helping students learn the process of laser engraving, vinyl cutting, T-shirt and sticker-making, and 3D printing. With the rapid advancement of technology, I believe it’s crucial for youth to learn 21st-century skills. One of the best things about makerspace is that it provides a chance for students to stay determined and creative through the process. The makerspace even won a national teamwork award this year!

Planning educational activities for families at the farmers market is one of the most rewarding parts of this internship. It’s an exciting time to meet families and share resources with them. This year, all of our activities are focused on bringing awareness regarding what bees do for our environment. Engaging with youth about this topic, while building fun crafts, is a beneficial way to inform children about the agricultural setting we live in and how it contributes to our daily lives. The farmers market really helps Extension reconnect with our community and remind them what we are all about.

A valuable lesson I’ve gained from working in Extension this summer is the importance of community partnerships. Involving different organizations is very beneficial. Networking with professionals that may have a different background than yours brings another insight into the subject matter and it also strengthens our community. I’m looking forward to the upcoming events that we have planned. I am thankful to be doing such meaningful work in my community and to grow as a leader, student and intern.