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Katie Klosterbuer: "The 4-H program helped me prepare for all aspects of my career."


Katie and Stamp giving a 2009
Livestock Demonstration called “Safety PreCOWtions”


Katie Klosterbuer, a Rock County 4-H alum, was a proud second generation member of the Livewires 4-H Club. Her primary project areas were Youth Leadership, Dairy, and Food & Nutrition. Here’s a snapshot of our recent conversation about how every stage of her academic and professional career has been infused with 4-H.

Erin Kelly-Collins: What is one of your favorite 4-H memories?
Katie Klosterbuer: A favorite was definitely the time spent with my fellow Rock County 4-H Ambassadors to plan and create educational, hands-on and fun learning opportunities for Rock County youth. One summer we had five Rock County 4-H Ambassadors chosen to be counselors at the Southwest Regional 4-H Camp which made camp really fun!

EKC: Did you participate in any state or national 4-H experiences?
KK: I had the privilege of attending the Minnesota State Fair for 4 years as a 4-H’er. I was able to share my Youth Leadership project with others at the state fair. The other years I was able to promote my favorite project area, dairy, during Livestock Encampment.

EKC: Would you tell me about your academic & career highlights?
KK: I attended Minnesota State University, Mankato from 2008-2013 majoring in Education. During two of my college summers I was a 4-H Intern working with Watonwan County and Rock County.

Katie in 2000
at her first Rock County Fair
I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Family Consumer Science Education. I was chosen to be the commencement speaker representing the College of Allied Health and Nursing at the graduation ceremony.

In June of 2013, I received a phone call from a Principal at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, IA. He had heard of my 4-H accomplishments, leadership and experience in the Family Consumer Science field, as he is originally from Rock County. He offered me a job after a brief phone interview, and started teaching at the beginning of the school year. I taught at Lewis Central for two years, making connections and sharing my leadership, communication skills, and passion for the Family Consumer Science content areas to almost 500 students. While teaching, I was asked to be present at FACS to the MAX, a Family Consumer Science teaching conference held at Minnesota State University, Mankato with one of my college professors. I was also given the honor of being selected for “Teacher of the Month” at Lewis Central High School, just a year and a half into teaching.
Leading day camps as a Rock County 4-H Ambassador

In June of 2015, I began my role as the Nobles County 4-H Program Coordinator here in Minnesota. I loved my teaching career, but I love the 4-H program even more. I am very excited to be back in Southwest Minnesota, and hope to provide the youth in Nobles County with opportunities to enhance their leadership, citizenship, and 21st century skills.

EKC: What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field?
KK: I’m passionate about providing youth with learning opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have. I have had the advantage of working with youth of all ages, from infants to young adults and have seen how transformational it is when they are engaged in meaningful and unique learning opportunities. I love getting to build connections with the people I work with, enhancing and accentuating their leadership and citizenship opportunities, as well as the life skills they can use and reference for the remainder of their life. I hope to be a role model for youth and be a person they remember as a positive impact on their life and future.

2008 Rocky County 4-H Ambassadors
EKC: How did your experience in 4-H help prepare you for what you’re doing today?
KK: The 4-H program helped me prepare for all aspects of my career. As an Ambassador, I learned how to present ideas and work with youth effectively. While presenting demonstrations and leading club meetings I learned public speaking skills and self-confidence. Working in the dairy project area helped me make connections with industry leaders and allowed me to build a patient and calm demeanor during stressful situations. These are all skills I use on a daily basis and without them I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.

EKC: What advice do you have for current 4-H'ers?
KK: Step out of your box and take part in any sort of leadership role that you can! You’d be surprised how many of us fell in love with a topic or project or idea through participating in a 4-H event. No matter what career choice you choose in your future, 4-H can provide you with hands on experience and 21st century skills that will help you to be successful. As alumni, we use our 4-H experiences to our advantage, many employers recognize the dedication and the skills that 4-H program develops in our members.

EKC: Tell me about your family and what you like to do for fun!
Katie with dairy cow Stamp
Winter, 2015
KK: I grew up on a small dairy farm in southwest Minnesota, with my dad Steve, mom Sandy, brother Casey, and my 11 year old dog Gertie. My hobbies include figure skating, band, 4-H, peer helping and spending time with my friends and family.

I currently live in Luverne, MN. When I have time, I love spending time on my family farm, as the dairy industry is a passion of mine. I try to stop by and see my 4-H cow Stamp, who I took to the Minnesota State Fair for my last show as a 4-H’er in 2009. Stamp is currently 9 years old.

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If you would like to be a Minnesota 4-H Featured Alum, please share your story using this online form. And if you'd like to nominate somebody you know please contact Erin Kelly-Collins (erinkc@umn.edu).

Erin Kelly-Collins
Alumni Coordinator
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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