Tobe named director of Michigan State University Extension children and youth initiatives

Michigan State University Extension announced the appointment of Erica Tobe, Ph.D., as director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute (CYI), the unit focused on programming for those from birth to age 19, including Michigan 4-H.

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Erica Tobe, Ph.D., was appointed director of MSU Extension's Children and Youth Institute on July 7.

Michigan State University Extension announced the appointment of Erica Tobe, Ph.D., as director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute (CYI), the unit focused on programming for those from birth to age 19, including Michigan 4-H. Tobe assumes the role after serving in the CYI associate director role since May of 2019.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Tobe take the helm of CYI,” said Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension director. “Her leadership as the associate director over the past year has been integral to the success of our children and youth programs, and we look forward to her expanded role.”

Tobe has a rich history in MSU Extension, having held varying positions with the organization over the past two decades. She began her career with MSU as a children, youth and families agent in Branch County before becoming a 4-H agent in Washtenaw County. Tobe later transitioned to a program leader role for MSU Extension’s youth and adult financial literacy initiatives and served as a specialist with the financial and homeownership education team. In 2013, Tobe was recruited as a faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in MSU’s College of Social Science. In 2016, she was appointed as the graduate program director for the department. Tobe has also been integral in helping to work with a team of MSU and community-based staff in an expansion of financial literacy programming for MSU students, a program made possible as a result of a gift from MSU Federal Credit Union.

“I’m excited to continue working with the talented MSU Extension staff in CYI in this new way,” said Tobe. “Over the past year, and especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen MSU Extension staff implement amazing and innovative educational events and offerings to support Michigan’s children, youth and their families. I look forward to this expanded role in championing those efforts and helping make a difference in the lives of Michigan youth and families.”

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Jake DeDecker, Ph.D., was appointed associate director of MSU Extension's CYI on July 7.

As director, Tobe will continue to work closely with Jake DeDecker, Ph.D., Michigan state leader of 4-H Youth Development, who was appointed the additional role of CYI associate director upon Tobe’s promotion. DeDecker began his career with MSU Extension in 2006 as the 4-H STEM program leader with additional responsibilities in small animal and agriculture education. In 2014, he became the associate state 4-H leader, and in 2017, was named the associate director of CYI until 2018 when he became the state 4-H program leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development.

Tobe’s appointment was effective July 7. She replaces Amy Bonomi, Ph.D., who stepped down from the position to focus on scholarship and her role as director of the MSU Women’s Leadership Institute.

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