4-H Where Are They Now?

A standing woman smiling and wearing a Tennessee 4-H polo.

Janiece Pigg, former Oktibbeha County 4-H’er

Q&A with Rhiannon Page • Photo submitted

Oktibbeha County native and former 4-H’er Janiece Pigg has a passion for Extension and 4-H that continues to grow in her current role with University of Tennessee Extension. Her experience in Mississippi 4-H allowed her to build a career devoted to understanding different people and how culture impacts education and leadership.

Being chosen as a delegate for 4-H National Congress in high school was a life-changing experience for Pigg:

“When I was at National Congress, unbeknownst to me at the time, I met one of my best friends and future roommate, Molly Chamblee. We had never met before National Congress and were randomly chosen roommates for the entire week in Atlanta. Molly was the one friend in my life that I never saw coming. Throughout the entire week of National Congress, we just became instant friends. A couple months later, I saw on social media that she was going to Mississippi State, so I immediately messaged her to ask if she wanted to be roommates. We had the most wonderful first year together and after freshman year, we agreed that we were always going to be roommates. I will always be grateful to 4-H for introducing me to one of my best friends.”

How did 4-H prepare you for your career and professional success?

Mississippi 4-H sparked my love for learning about the amazing cultures and diverse perspectives that make the world spin around. 4-H introduced me to new people with intricate and unique perspectives that I had never considered. 4-H really allowed me to think critically about identifying and analyzing the rationale and logic behind my beliefs, decisions, and ideas. Through 4-H, I attended numerous county, state, and national events where vastly differing perspectives were shared and fully integrated into programs. As a teenager, 4-H taught me how to shift my mindset in complex situations from a perspective of cultural dichotomy to a perspective of cultural curiosity and insight.

What do you wish people knew about 4-H?

4-H truly has a program, project, or topic for anyone and everyone. Moreover, as an integral part of the land-grant system, Mississippi 4-H has the support and resources for all young people, no matter their interests, backgrounds, or aspirations, to thrive educationally, personally, and professionally.

How does 4-H influence your life now?

As a 4-H state specialist, 4-H is both my passion and my profession. I am incredibly grateful to work with young people across the state of Tennessee to truly take advantage of all of the phenomenal opportunities that were afforded to me as a youth in 4-H.

How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills?

Mississippi 4-H served as a catalyst for leadership and education in my personal and professional life. Early in my life, 4-H sparked my interest in active participation in my community.

Fill in the blanks:

Because of 4-H . . .

I have been able to build a career devoted to fostering a lifelong love of learning, the vast intricacies of intercultural relationships, and how culture affects education and leadership at all levels.

If I hadn’t been in 4-H . . .

I would have struggled to pay for college. The collegiate scholarships I earned through participating in 4-H allowed me to fully focus on my education and build an impactful foundation for a long-term career in Extension and higher education.

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