I’m Shea Wilson and I said Yes to FCS.
Growing up as a 4-Her, I learned so many valuable life skills that prepared me for adulthood. My project areas were consumer education, food and nutrition, child development, and home management. Through working in those projects, I learned skills like how to make a household budget and compare prices to get the best buy. I learned how to cook, do laundry, and iron clothes. And believe me, once I was old enough my mom made sure I helped with those household responsibilities. 4-H taught me the importance of hard work, leadership, and serving my community at a young age.
Through my involvement in 4-H, I began volunteering at a local nursing home and eventually landed my first job there when I was in high school. I really enjoyed spending time with the senior adults and leading recreational activities. But I also spent a lot of time babysitting on nights and weekends and loved working with kids. I knew I wanted a career in some area of Family and Consumer Science, but the problem was I couldn’t really narrow it down to one specific thing. I was interested in all of it!
After high school I attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and studied human environmental sciences, with an emphasis in child development in graduate school. Throughout college, I worked in a child care center and my passion for working with kids grew even deeper. Every time I sat down to discuss future jobs with my advisor, she said “I really think you belong in Extension. You would get the best of both worlds working with kids and adults.” So that’s exactly what I decided to do.
In 2006, I moved back closer to where I grew up and began my career as a Prairie County Extension Educator for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension. Half of my time is devoted to Family Consumer Science programs and half to 4-H Youth Development. What I love about this career path, is that every day is different. I have the opportunity to work with people of all ages and provide non-biased, research-based information they can use every day to improve their life. Whether the topic is food, families, fitness, or finance I work with clients to find answers that work for them. I also get to spend every day giving back to an organization that changed my life for the better.
To me, family and consumer science education has never been more relevant than it is today. If you really think about it, how many youth today have parents that are sitting them down to teach them the basics of life? The reality is that most adults are so busy juggling a million different things that they just don't have the time to stop and teach their children the skills they need to succeed. In all reality, some adults do not even have those skills themselves.
I said Yes to FCS because I believe that the foundation of our society is responsible, community-minded adults who are able to support themselves financially, can communicate well, and have healthy relationships and families.
There’s a demand for family and consumer sciences professionals to serve in educator positions in secondary education, higher education, and Extension education. If you are looking for a rewarding career path that is not only fun, but can truly help make a difference in people’s lives, consider saying Yes to FCS. I promise you won't regret it.