Lydia Sherburne of Ogle County is among a select group of 4-H youth chosen as program ambassadors in a health data literacy project, the University of Illinois Extension said in a news release.
The other 4-Hers on the inaugural team are Taylor Woodring of Jersey County; Brayden Wilson of La Salle County; Pritika Jakka of McLean County; Sofie Heidrich of Kendall County; and Taj Dipenshah, Elizabeth Martinez and Carlos Martinez, all of Cook County.
In all, 15 teens from across the state will participate by conducting needs assessments of health topics in their communities. They also will develop and conduct data analytics projects to address any issues that arise from their assessments. University of Illinois students and faculty will serve as mentors.
The project is called Health Data Literacy Ambassadors and is led by Rachel M. Magee, an assistant professor. Associate professors Catherine Blake and Jana Diesner are co-investigators.
“Our interdisciplinary collaboration connects researchers with expertise in health informatics, data analytics, youth services and youth community engagement, with extension experts deeply experienced with positive youth development, health, nutrition and wellness,” Magee said.
She said the project will take two years.
“This collaboration has the potential to build a sustainable model for other data literacy ambassador programs for Illinois 4-H, furthering efforts to address critical issue areas across Illinois through the lens of data analytics, continuing to empower youth as change agents, highlighting career pathways, and building connections and new partnerships between local communities and the university,” Magee said.
Magee, a former librarian, is a youth advocate who teaches about and researches youth technology and information practices. She holds a doctorate in information studies from Drexel University and a master’s degree in information resources and library science from the University of Arizona.