Steven M. Worker PhD
1682 Novato Boulevard, Suite 150B
Novato, CA 94947-7021
- University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
- Youth Development in the San Francisco North Bay
- Youth Science Education Resource Hub
4-H Youth Development Advisor for Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties (2016-present)
Dr. Worker conducts extension education and applied research around youth development, informal STEM and computer science education, and volunteer development. Research activities focus on adapting, piloting, and evaluating youth development program models that integrate culturally relevant practices to engage culturally diverse youth, empower youth through consequential STEM and computer science learning, and support volunteer educators in improving their pedagogical practices to improve program quality. Recent projects have included youth participatory action research, developing curricula to strengthen young people’s computational thinking and positive ethnic-racial identity through computer science education, and promoting high school student college readiness through mentorships with college students and professionals. Programmatically, Dr. Worker provides academic leadership to 4-H clubs, summer camps, college readiness, teenagers-as-teachers, and youth participatory action research programs facilitated by 600 adult volunteers serving over 3,000 youth. Dr. Worker also chairs the North Bay Science Discovery Day, a free annual festival to spark young people’s curiosity for STEM learning.
Interim Assistant 4-H Youth Development Program Leader for Strategic Plan (October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023)
Facilitate the activation and assessment of the UC 4-H Strategic Plan 2018-2028. Review strategic themes and goals, prioritize actions, and develop metrics to assess progress. Convene teams, or work with existing teams, to take actions to complete deliverables.
Previous Professional Experience
4-H Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Coordinator (2009-2016): Worker managed professional and volunteer development for science educators, coordinated program and curriculum development and evaluation, and resource development. His work drew upon inquiry and experientially-based pedagogies grounded in a positive youth development approach. Worker co-authored two nationally peer-reviewed and published curricula, There’s No New Water! and Junk Drawer Robotics, along with a California curricula, iThrive: Leadership, Science & Me!
State 4-H Program Representative (2001-2009): Worker provided leadership to the 4-H State Leadership Conference, 4-H State Ambassador program, 4-H Record Book, 4-H Technology Leadership Team, and other statewide 4-H adolescent leadership development and recognition programs.
Worker is a 4-H alumni from Santa Barbara County (1991-1999). He served as a 4-H All Star (1996-1998; 4-H County Ambassador), earned his Emerald Star (1995), was a 4-H camp counselor, attended the 1998 National 4-H Conference, and served as a State 4-H Diamond Star (1998-1999; renamed now as "4-H State Ambassador"). In 1998, Worker founded the 4-H Technology Leadership Team, a group of youth and adults working to integrate technology into 4-H programming.
- ANR Academic Advancement Peer Review Committee Chair (2022 & 2023)
- Healthy Families & Communities Strategic Initiative Panel Member (2021-2024)
- ANR Peer Review and Publications Associate Editor for STEM (2019-2022)
- ANR Science Literacy Program Team Chair (2019-2025)
- California 4-H STEM Education Advisory Committee Chair (2020-2023)
- American Educational Research Association (AERA): Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group
- International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
- National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST): Social Media, Website, and Communications Committee
- National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP) and the California 4-H Association (CA4-HA)
- Western Center for Metropolitan Extension & Research Deep Dive Research Fellow 2023 - Computer science education curriculum development to support Black and Latina girls develop computational thinking and positive ethnic-racial identity
Other Service and Affiliations
- North Bay Science Discovery Day Chair (2019-2023): To spark curiosity for STEM learning (annual festival).
- IAP Book Series: Current Issues in Out-of-School Time Publication Board (2021-2024)
- Journal of Youth Development Associate Editor (2023-2025)
- 4-H Program Leaders Working Group Standing Committee on Positive Youth Development: Research and Evaluation Working Group Member (2022-2024)
- Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County (2021-2024)
- The Nature Lodge Board of Directors (2018-2023): To inspire, encourage and educate environmental stewards of today, for a more sustainable future.
- 4-H Golden Clover Award (Special Events) - State Public Speaking & Communications 4-H Advisory Committee
Presented by University of California 4-H Youth Development Program, 2022
- Scholar Award (for Outstanding Research) – Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group
Presented by American Educational Research Association, 2022
- Diversity and Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Team Award
Presented by National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, 2021
- Meritorious Service Award
Presented by National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, 2018
- Distinguished Service Award
Presented by National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, 2014
- Achievement in Service Award
Presented by National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, 2006
- Distinguished Alumni Award
Presented by Allan Hancock College, 2000
SpecialtyEducational research; design and research of out-of-school (informal) learning environments; positive youth development; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education
Areas of Expertise (click to see all ANR academics with this expertise)
- Youth Development
- Community Development
- Youth Development
- 4-H Program
- Healthy Families and Communities
- Science Literacy in Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Nutrition
Smith, M.; Worker, S.; Meehan, C.; McCambridge, J.; Maille, A.; Malone, C.; Mondl, A.; Stevenson, A. (In Press). Comparisons of professional development approaches for out-of-school time educators [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Marshall-Wheeler, N., Nayak, R., Iaccopucci, A., & Worker, S. (in press). Long-term outcomes of early adult 4-H alumni. The Journal of Extension.
Marshall-Wheeler, N., Miner, G., Worker, S., Kok, C. M., Espinosa, D., & Miller, J. (In Press). The UC 4-H Volunteer Educators’ Guide: For volunteers facilitating 4-H educational experiences [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Worker, S. M., Nayak, R., Meng, Y., & Marshall-Wheeler, N. (in press). UC 4-H programs bolster youths' public speaking confidence. California Agriculture.
Marshall-Wheeler, N., Meng, Y., & Worker, S. (2022). Exploring public speaking self-efficacy in the 4-H presentation program. The Journal of Extension, 60(4). https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.60.04.12
Worker, S., McCambridge, J., Stevenson, A., Fields, J., Maille, A., Meehan, C. L., Mondl, A., Malone, C., & Smith, M. H. (2022). Sustainable Polymers: New 4-H STEM Curricula. The Journal of Extension, 60(1), Article 5. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol60/iss1/5
Worker, S.; Kok, C. M.; Vega, L.; Moncloa, F.; Fábregas Janeiro, M.; Gunn, M. (2022). Welcoming culturally diverse youth into 4-H: A handbook for 4-H professionals [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8714.pdf
Lewis, K. M., Kok, C. M., Worker, S., & Miner, G. (2021). Exploring the relationship between program experience and youth developmental outcomes. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9(3), 68-106. https://www.jhseonline.com/article/view/1137
Worker, S. M., Fábregas Janeiro, M. G., Schmitt-McQuitty, L. (2021). Latino volunteerism in the 4-H Youth Development Program. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9(3), 206-219. https://www.jhseonline.com/article/view/1125
Worker, Steven (2021). Integrating experiential education into the digital realm. Online learning fact sheet for the 4-H youth development program . University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8699.pdf
Worker, Steven (2021). Promoting positive youth development. Online learning fact sheet for the 4-H youth development program . University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8698.pdf
Worker, Steven (2021). Supporting productive educator practices for out-of-school time. Online learning fact sheet for the 4-H youth development program . University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8697.pdf
Kok, C. M., Espinoza, D. M., Worker, S. M., Go, C., & Miller, J. C. (2020). Identification of priority skill areas for volunteer professional development. Journal of Youth Development. 15(4), 51-67. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.876
Worker, S. M., Espinoza, D. M., Kok, C. M., Go, C., Miller, J. C. (2020). Volunteer outcomes and impact: The contributions and consequences of volunteering in 4-H. Journal of Youth Development, 15(4), 6-31. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2020.847
Worker, S. M., Janeiro, M. F., Lewis, K. (2020). Youth in 4-H Latino Initiative programs achieve similar outcomes to youth in 4-H community clubs. California Agriculture, 74(1), 148-150. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2019a0027
Worker, S. M. (2019). Development of an artifact-based evaluation framework for assessing 4-H learner outcomes. Journal of Extension, 57(1). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol57/iss1/14
Schmitt-McQuitty, L., Worker, S. M., & Smith, M. H. (2019). Lesson study model of 4-H professional development: Data-Driven improvements to educator practice. Journal of Youth Development, 14(1), 131-154. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.693
Worker, S. M., Iaccopucci, A. M., Bird, M., & Horowitz, M. (2019). Promoting positive youth development through teens-as-teachers programs. Journal of Adolescent Research, 34(1), 30-54. https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558418764089
Fabregas janeiro, M. G., Worker, S. M., Soule, K. E., & Mariscal, D. (2019). Toolkits for engaging Latino youth in 4-H programs [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources . https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8640.pdf
Worker, S.M., Fabregas Janeiro, M. G., Diaz Carrasco, C. P., & Soule, K. E. (2019). University of California 4-H Latino Initiative: Experiences of bicultural and bilingual staff. Journal of Youth Development, 14(3), 31-44. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.667
Horrillo, S. J., Bird, M., & Worker, S. (Eds.) (2018). Camp activities with a science twist: Enhancing your camp program with fun STEM experiences [Curriculum]. Healthy Learning (American Camp Association). https://www.acacamps.org/book/camp-activities-science-twist
Smith, M., Worker, S., Meehan, C., Schmitt-McQuitty, L., Ambrose, A., Brian, K., & Schoenfelder, E. (2017). Defining and developing curricula in the context of Cooperative Extension. Journal of Extension, 55(2). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol55/iss2/22/
Neelon, M., Brian, K., Iaccopucci, A. M., Lewis, K. M., & Worker, S. M. (2017). Development of a health survey instrument for 5- to 8-year-old youth. Journal of Extension, 55(1). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol55/iss1/2/
Worker, S. M. (2017). Volunteer educators bring their own ideas about effective teaching to a 4-H curriculum. California Agriculture, 71(4), 208-213. http://calag.ucanr.edu/Archive/?article=ca.2017a0021.
Worker, S. M., Schmitt-McQuitty, L., Ambrose, A., Brian, K., Schoenfelder, E., & Smith, M. H. (2017). Multiple-methods needs assessment of California 4-H science education programming. Journal of Extension, 55(2). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol55/iss2/10/
Smith, M. H., Worker, S. M., Schmitt-McQuitty, L., Meehan, C. L., Lewis, K. M., Schoenfelder, E., & Brian, K. (2017). Prevalent approaches to educator professional development in state 4-H programs. Journal of Extension, 55(4). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol55/iss4/17/
Worker, S. M., Ouellette, K. L., & Maille, A. (2017). Redefining the concept of learning in Cooperative Extension. Journal of Extension, 55(3). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol55/iss3/27/
Worker, S. M. (2016). Examining tensions among youth, adults, and curriculum as co-designers in 4-H STEM learning through design programs. In C. K. Looi, J. L., Polman, U. Cress, P. Reimann (Eds.), Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2016, Volume 1 (pp. 322-329). Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences. https://repository.isls.org/handle/1/132
Worker, S. (2016). Volunteer educators’ influence on youth participation and learning in 4-H STEM learning by design programs [Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Davis). PQDT Open (10165795) https://www.proquest.com/openview/4cd4bccb6eb2ac40804877c814bb135c/
Lewis, K.M., & Worker, S.M. (2016). Youth and adult perceptions of a new technology in California 4-H: The online record book. Journal of Youth Development, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2016.447
Lewis, K., & Worker, S. (2015). Examination of attitude and interest measures for 4-H science evaluation. Journal of Extension, 53(3). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol53/iss3/26/
Worker, S.M., Hill, R.D., Miller, J.C., Go, C.G., & Boyes, R.J. (2015). Exploring the effectiveness of a retreat method for Extension staff. Journal of Extension, 53(6). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol53/iss6/12/
Smith, M.H., Worker, S.M., Ambrose, A.P., & Schmitt-McQuitty, L. (2015). Including civic engagement as a competent of scientific literacy. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal, 7(2), 23-27. https://new.seceij.net/articletype/pov/including-civic-engagement-scientific-literacy/
Lewis, K., Horrillo, S., Widaman, K., Worker, S., & Trzesniewski, K. (2015). National 4-H Common Measures: Initial evaluation from California 4-H. Journal of Extension, 53(2). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol53/iss2/7/
Smith, M., Worker, S., Ambrose, A., & Schmitt-McQuitty, L. (2015). Scientific literacy: California 4-H defines it from citizens’ perspective. California Agriculture, 69(2), 92-97. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v069n02p92
Worker, S.M. & Smith, M.H. (2014). Curriculum and professional development for OST science education: Lessons learned from California 4-H. Afterschool Matters, 20, 21-27. https://niost.org/Afterschool-Matters-Fall-2014/curriculum-and-professional-development-for-ost-science-education-lessons-learned-from-california-4-h
Worker, S. (2014). Design-based learning in a community-based youth program: Affordances for youth learning and development. In J.L. Poman, E.A. Kyza, D.K. O’Neill, I. Tabak, W.R. Penuel, A.S. Jurow, K. O’Connor, T. Lee, & L. D’Amico (Eds.), Learning and Becoming in Practice: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2014 (Vol. 3, p. 1762). Boulder, CO: International Society of the Learning Sciences. https://archive.isls.org/conferences/icls/2014/downloads/ICLS%202014%20Volume%203%20(PDF)-wCover.pdf
Chin Young, J., Manton, L.M., Worker, S.M., & Martin, A.C. (2014). Effective, efficient online training in cooperative extension. Journal of Youth Development, 9(3), 58-65. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2014.51
Worker, S., Mahacek, R., Wheeler, T., Frerichs, S. (2014). Engineering for everyone: 4-H’s Junk Drawer Robotics curriculum. In C. Sneider (Ed.), The Go-To Guide for Engineering Curricula PreK-5: Choosing and Using the Best Instructional Materials for Your Students (Ch. 13, pp. 191-202). Corwin. https://www.sagepub.com/hi/cam/book/go-guide-engineering-curricula-prek-5
Worker, S.M. (2014). Evaluating adolescent satisfaction of a 4-H leadership development conference. Journal of Extension, 52(2). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol52/iss2/9/
Worker, S.M. (2013). Embracing scientific and engineering practices in 4-H. Journal of Extension, 51(3). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol51/iss3/4/
Worker, S. M., Miner, G. M., Horrillo, S. J. (2013/2023). iChampion: Leadership, science & me. Adult volunteer guide: 4-H leadership development project [Curriculum]. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources ; National 4-H Council .
Worker, S. M., Miner, G. M., Horrillo, S. J. (2013/2023). iThrive: Leadership, science & me. 4-H leadership development project [Curriculum, youth workbook]. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources ; National 4-H Council .
Smith, M., Heck, K., & Worker, S. (2012). 4-H boosts youth scientific literacy with ANR water education curriculum. California Agriculture, 66(4), 158-163. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v066n04p158
Worker, S. (2012). History of science education in the 4-H Youth Development Program. Monograph. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. http://www.ca4h.org/files/135384.pdf
Mahacek, R., Worker, S. Mahacek, A. (2011). 4-H robotics: Engineering for today and tomorrow - Track 2: Junk drawer robotics. [Curriculum] National 4-H Council. https://shop4-h.org/products/junk-drawer-robotics-curriculum-1-give-robotics-a-hand
Mahacek, R. & Worker, S. (2011). Extending science education with engineering and technology: Junk drawer robotics curriculum. In A. Subramaniam, K. Heck, R. Carlos, & S. Junge (Eds.), Advances in youth development: Research and evaluation from the University of California Cooperative Extension 2001-2010 (pp. 46-57). University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://ucanr.edu/sites/UC4-H/files/342138.pdf
Smith, M., Worker, S. et al., (2010). There's no new water! [Curriculum]. National 4-H Council. https://shop4-h.org/products/water-conservation-curriculum-theres-no-new-water
Worker, S. M. (2007). Factors influencing risk perception: A housing development case study [Master's thesis, University of California, Davis]. UC Davis Shields Library, General Collection LD781.D5j 2007 W675.
California Agriculture Article Contributions
- Scientific literacy: California 4-H defines it from citizens' perspective
- 4-H boosts youth scientific literacy with ANR water education curriculum
ANR Workgroup Associations
- Developing Volunteer Capacities - Member
- Diversity in Youth Development - Member
- Environmental Education - Member