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Steven M. Worker PhD

4-H Youth Development Advisor
Cooperative Extension Marin County
1682 Novato Boulevard
Suite 150-B
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 761-1020
smworker@ucanr.edu Create VCard

Also in:
Sonoma County
Napa County
Program Council
Youth, Families, and Communities Statewide Program



4-H Youth Development Advisor for Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties (2016 to 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 August 31, 2024)
Facilitate the activation and assessment of the UC 4-H Strategic Plan 2023-2028. 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.

UC ANR Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative Leader (November 1, 2023 to December 31, 2026)
Provide leadership for healthy family and community efforts, program teams, and workgroups, to improve communication, help unify, and advocate to promote the science and impact of the work of UC ANR. Convene a strategic initiative panel and serve on program council

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. 

4-H Alumni
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 co-founded the 4-H Technology Leadership Team, a group of youth and adults working to integrate technology into 4-H programming. 

University Service

Professional Affiliations


Other Service and Affiliations


Ph.D. Education (Learning Sciences), University of California, Davis. 2016
M.S. Community Development, University of California, Davis. 2007
B.S. Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University. 2001
A.A. Liberal Arts, Allan Hancock College. 1998


  • 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


STEM youth education


Educational 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)


Peer Reviewed

  • Worker, S. M., Nayak, R., & Moncloa, F. (in press). California 4-H computer science education pathway. Journal of Extension.

  • Worker, S., & Marshall-Wheeler, N. (in press). Out-of-school time educator fact sheet series: (1) Science festivals: Very short science engagement; (2) Making and tinkering; (3) Youth participatory action research; (4) Environmental education; (5) Computational thinking; and (6) Public speaking. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Smith, M.; Worker, S.; Meehan, C.; McCambridge, J.; Maille, A.; Malone, C.; Mondl, A.; Stevenson, A. (2023). Comparisons of professional development approaches for out-of-school time educators [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8725 

  • 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 [2013]; National 4-H Council [2023]. https://shop4-h.org/products/ithrive-ichampion-facilitators-kit 

    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 [2013]; National 4-H Council [2023]. https://shop4-h.org/products/ithrive-leadership-science-and-me 

  • Marshall-Wheeler, N., Nayak, R., Iaccopucci, A., & Worker, S. (2023). Long-term outcomes of early adult 4-H alumni. The Journal of Extension, 61(2). https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.61.02.02 

  • Marshall-Wheeler, N., Miner, G., Worker, S., Kok, C. M., Espinosa, D., & Miller, J. (2023). The UC 4-H Volunteer Educators’ Guide: For volunteers facilitating 4-H educational experiences [Curriculum]. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8724.pdf 

  • Worker, S. M., Nayak, R., Meng, Y., & Marshall-Wheeler, N. (2023). UC 4-H programs bolster youths' public speaking confidence. California Agriculture, 77(1), 30-35. https://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.2023a0003

  • Worker, S. M., Espinoza, D., Kok, C. M., Neas, S., & Smith, M. H. (2023). Youth participatory action research: Integrating science learning and civic engagement. California Agriculture, 77(2), 74-82. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2023a0009 

  • Worker, S. M., Neas, S., Espinoza, D., Kok, C M., & Smith, M.n (2023). Youth science learning as/for community participation: Examples from youth participatory action research. Journal of Youth Development, 18(1). https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/jyd/vol18/iss1/3 

  • 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 [8699]. 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 [8698]. 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 [8697]. 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 [8640]. 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/ 

  • 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. 

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