Barbara Byrum and Stephen Rajzer receive MSU Extension 2020 Key Partner Award

MSU Extension honored Barb Byrum and Stephen Rajzer for their significant contributions to MSU Extension during the annual Fall Extension Conference held virtually on Sept. 29

Michigan State University Extension awarded Barbara Byrum and Stephen Rajzer with a 2020 Key Partner Award on Sept. 29. The Key Partner Award recognizes those that have made significant contributions to support and promote MSU Extension programs.

Barbara (“Barb”) Byrum and Stephen Rajzer are each being honored with a Key Partner Award for their service acting as honorary governors of Michigan 4-H Capitol Experience.

Barb was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives for the 67th District from 2007 to 2012. She currently serves as Ingham County Clerk. As a 4-H member, Stephen attended 4-H Capitol Experience and Citizenship Washington Focus. These programs influenced him to give back. He currently works for Rep. Tim Walberg’s office in Jackson, Michigan.

Barb and Stephen represent different political parties, but they work in tandem to support 4-H Capitol Experience, a nonpartisan educational event that allows youth to explore real issues and political perspectives. The role of governor is rotated each year between the two. On alternate years, they interact with event participants in various ways. For at least 10 years, Barb has served in many roles during 4-H’s Capitol Experience event as both a guest speaker and a governor. Barb has also served as a guest speaker since 2017 for a 4-H Exploration Days session on local government. Stephen has served as the 4-H Capitol Experience event governor for two years. In addition, he has assisted the Michigan 4-H delegation attending Citizenship Washington Focus by scheduling the group’s federal legislative visits on Capitol Hill for four years.

As governors, both have given youth participants a realistic and empowering experience. Their participation makes the youth experience of bill writing more realistic as they relate the youth’s ideas for bills with actual policies and perspectives of elected officials. Most importantly, their participation allows youth to meet and interact with real people working in politics, demystifying policymaking and helping youth see careers in these fields as attainable.

The MSU Extension Key Partner award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to creating, improving, supporting, or promoting MSU Extension programs. Barb Byrum and Stephen Rajzer are true champions of youth and their involvement in the political process.


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