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Extension > Youth Development > About > Our staff > Rebecca Harrington

Rebecca Harrington

Extension educator and volunteer systems director

Current work, research and interests

Rebecca Harrington Photo

Becky works with a team of educators and 4-H program coordinators in the northwest region and has specific regional functions related to volunteer systems, animal science, youth worker training, and supervision. She also serves on the state Volunteer Systems Team (co-chair) and Science of Agriculture Team. Becky has worked in 4-H youth development for over 20 years; the first 13 years in a county role.

In her work on the State Volunteer Systems Team she determines strategies to strengthen and develop volunteer systems to achieve desired outcomes for youth. This has included leading the volunteer orientation development, evaluation, and review, and contributing to volunteer distance learning plan and training module development. Becky also has extensive teaching experience with youth and adult volunteers, community youth workers, and Extension professionals at local, regional and national levels.

She also focuses on partnership development, forming collaboration with other universities and youth-serving organizations to provide professional development for youth workers and expand 4-H youth development programs. She currently leads the development of a partnership with a corporation to provide monetary support to local STEM programming. She collaborated with colleague, Trisha Sheehan, to conduct the Minnesota 4-H Retention Study to understand why young people join, stay in, and leave 4-H. Data analysis was used to develop tools to assist staff and volunteers in supporting 4-H members to increase retention. The study was shared with colleagues nationally through a study brief, journal article, and national presentation.

Academic degrees

Selected publications

Harrington, R.M., Sheehan, T., Blyth, D. (2011) Examining the Reasons and Relationships Between Why Youth Join, Stay in, and Leave 4-H. Journal of Youth Development, Volume 6, Number 2, Article 110602FA003.

Grant, S., Harrington, R.M., Piehl, B., Moore, D., Shafer, B. (2011). Minnesota 4-H Quality Improvement Study Research Brief. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

Harrington, R.M., Sheehan, T., & Blyth, D. (2010). Minnesota 4-H Retention Study Brief. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

Shafer, B., Moore, D., Harrington, R.M., & Freeman, D.M. (2010). Seeding Program Quality Improvement Systems in State 4-H Programs: A Concept Paper for a Training and Research Project. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

Haugen, H.L., & Harrington, R.M. (2008). Overview of Literature Review Process—Minnesota 4-H Youth Development Program Outcomes—Outcome 1: Leadership and Civic Engagement. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Extension.

Extension Regional Office, Moorhead

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