Melanie Biersmith selected as Georgia's ninth state 4-H leader

Nov. 19—EATONTON — Georgia 4-H has selected Melanie Biersmith as the new state 4-H leader. Since Nov. 1, Biersmith has been working as the ninth state leader in the organization's 118-year history.

The state 4-H leader provides strategic vision in response to the changing needs of Georgia's youths and works to support diversity and inclusiveness in youth programming.

Georgia 4-H operates under the scope of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and reaches more than 240,000 youths in a typical program year.

Biersmith most recently served as the associate state 4-H leader for facilities and residential programs for Georgia 4-H, where she managed operations and personnel at all six Georgia 4-H centers, plus coordination of the Georgia 4-H Environmental Education program and summer camp program.

Her career with UGA Extension began in 2003 as the environmental education coordinator on Jekyll Island. She then served as the director of Georgia 4-H at Camp Jekyll and later as the Extension 4-H specialist for science and environmental education until 2018.

Biersmith holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Georgia College and State University and a master's degree in science education from the University of Georgia. She resides in Morgan County with her family.

"It is inspiring to see the potential in every young person," Biersmith said. "I appreciate the opportunity to watch their development and see how positive youth development experiences guide them on their journey to adulthood."

In her role as state 4-H leader, Biersmith also will oversee recruitment and development of 4-H faculty and staff, advocate for extramural funding to support faculty scholarship, and champion the success of Georgia 4-H facilities.

Her leadership will impact in-school, after-school and non-traditional delivery models facilitated by approximately 120 county extension agents, 225 educators, program assistants and AmeriCorps members, as well as thousands of volunteers.

The state 4-H leader guides Georgia 4-H toward the vision and mission of helping students thrive.

"Melanie will ensure the continued success and stability of Georgia 4-H while also providing a transformative vision for the future of Georgia 4-H," Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for extension with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said.