Tennessee 4-H has over 186,000 great youth across the state, and the Tennessee 4-H Foundation is excited to be able to highlight a student each month for his or her outstanding work in the organization.

This month, we profile Jerome Linyear, a Collegiate 4-H/FFA member at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. Jerome’s 4-H experience is especially interesting since he was introduced to 4-H through a college course – not a typical path for a 4-H member!

Jerome grew up in the suburbs of Pittsboro, N.C., and lived in Georgia for two years. Jerome came to Tennessee in 2017 to study at UTK and is currently a senior agricultural communications major, with an animal science minor.

Jerome’s involvement in 4-H started when he took a class with 4-H State Director and Program Leader Justin Crowe. With Crowe’s help, Jerome found a love for agriculture and youth development.

“I think farmers are heroes because of the work they do,” he says. “That’s a big reason I wanted to get involved in the agriculture program and 4-H club on campus. I had a new passion and interest and I was busting at the seams to get involved.”

Jerome wishes he could have been involved in 4-H growing up, but he isn’t missing the chance now while in college. He is the Recruitment Chair and Young Farmer and Ranchers Coordinator for Collegiate 4-H/FFA and enjoys his role there.

“We are a community service-based club and are active in 4-H and FFA on the state level,” he says. “We help at as many events as we can. To be elected as an officer is awesome for me, so I can recruit more people to be a part of our club and participate in our service projects.”

After graduation in May 2021, Jerome hopes to earn a master’s degree in animal science or find his spot in the world of agriculture communications.

“I am proud to be a part of 4-H in the way that I am now,” he says. “I plan to use the things I have learned as an officer and in the club as I move forward in my life and in my career.”

– By Hannah Nave Lewis