Leilah Siegel, M.S., Ph.D., serves as Educator, 4-H Youth Development, for DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties for the University of Illinois Extension. In this role, she develops, delivers, and evaluates positive youth education programming and provides training and leadership to 4-H volunteers and staff. Leilah also contributes to expanding the reach of the 4-H program through community partnerships and outreach. She is a passionate believer in the power of education to empower and enrich the lives of youth.
Leilah’s goal is to offer programs that allow youth to develop a greater sense of who they are, what they want to contribute to the world, and why their contributions matter. She believes in the importance of science and health literacy, creative expression, and fostering an increased connection with the natural world. She offers programming primarily centered around the areas of nature, health and wellbeing, STEM, and STEAM.
Before joining Illinois Extension in her current role, Leilah worked in higher education and community settings, including DePaul University and Harvard Medical School. She also previously served as a STEM Educator for University of Illinois Extension Cook County, where she provided hands-on science education to children, and at the University of Illinois Chicago, where she conducted public health and nutrition research.
Leilah holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacological Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University. She is an author of several peer-reviewed publications and has presented her research at the Society for Neuroscience and World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics. Leilah is a member of the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Educators, and Illinois Extension Professionals for Youth Education. She has received training in Bioregional Herbalism from The Resiliency Institute and holds a certificate in Values-Centered Leadership from DePaul University.