Jessica Pierson Russo
Assistant Extension professor; director, Urban 4-H Youth Development office
Current work, research and interests
Jessica provides leadership to the Urban Youth Development Office, which is part of the Extension Center for Youth Development. In this role, Jessica drives the work of the office to develop, pilot, and share successful models, approaches, and resources for improving the learning and leadership of urban young people, particularly those youth who live in at-risk conditions. Jessica is also principal investigator for the Minnesota Urban Youth Lead 4-H Mentoring Program, a grant from National 4-H and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, as well as the local project director for the St. Paul area of a five-year federal contract from the USDA Children, Youth, and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Community Project.
Jessica is a certified language arts teacher and a naturalist and has worked with youth in public, private, and alternative schools, in both formal and nonformal settings across the US since 1997.
Academic degrees and experience
- M.Ed. in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis on racial reconciliation and experiential education.
- B.A. in education and secondary education from West Virginia University.
Russo, J.P. (2012). “Big urban woods 4-H club.” In Ripberger, c., & Blalock, L. B. 4-H science in urban communities promising practices guide.
Skuza, J., & Russo, J. (2008). Capturing youth voice to assess learning in urban youth development programs. Journal of Youth Development 2 (3).
Skuza, J., Russo, J., Hurtado, G.A. (2009). WeConnect: An opening to the world. St. Paul: Regents of the University of Minnesota.
Skuza, J., Russo, J., Gates, E., Kawase, M. (2007). Urban youth lead: Becoming the authors of their lives. St. Paul: Regents of the University of Minnesota.
Skuza, J., Russo, J., & Cogshell, N. (2007). Urban youth learn: Developing effective out-of-school time programs. St. Paul: Regents of the University of Minnesota.
Urban Youth Development Office, St. Paul