Emily Leerhoff

Emily Leerhoff plans to teach family and consumer sciences in a middle or high school after graduation. When she has free time, Emily enjoys spending it outside with family and friends.

Emily Leerhoff develops community outreach skills through Rising Star Internship

Emily Leerhoff loves to teach, and she learned the importance of the community surrounding a school this summer as a Rising Star Intern for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The Rising Star position Emily applied for is one that aids communities by educating families about nutrition and local foods. Emily was instead offered a position that deals with economic development — and looking back, she’s happy that she didn’t get her first choice.

“I think that [the economic development position] challenged me more,” she said. “I wasn’t excited about it at first, but I’m glad I got it in the end. Our projects made a huge impact.”

Emily’s favorite large-scale project she worked on with Iowa State Extension was helping further develop the childcare system in Sheffield, Iowa.

Emily and the Region 3 Extension and Outreach team — which covers Worth, Mitchell, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, and Floyd counties — worked to ensure that the Sheffield community had all their day care options laid out and the knowledge to choose the best fit.

As a family and consumer sciences education and studies major, Emily values the impact the classroom has on kids, but this summer taught her that the environment around the school is just as influential. The Rising Star Internship inspired her to have future students possibly complete small community outreach projects in the future.

“I value the community around the school,” Emily said. “If something is not right in the community, that’s going to affect kids and their learning. Knowing that the community is in a good place can benefit the students and the community both.”

Whether she’s learning how to effectively guide students in the classroom or helping to develop Iowa communities, Emily takes what she learns and applies it to her passion of helping others with her role as a family and consumer sciences educator.

“I’ve latched on to [teaching], and I love the idea of helping people. I think I could reach a lot of kids that way,” she said. “I know more about FCS now and how it can help people. Knowing how much it helps people, that’s what I like.”