PULLMAN, Wash. – Some come from bustling cities. Others from tiny towns. But all students at the recent state 4-H teen conference wondered about the same question: What does life hold after high school?

More than 330 Washington teens sampled workshops, heard dynamic speakers and attended a college and career fair to help find answers and begin developing plans during the three-day Washington State University Extension 4-H event in Pullman.

“I want to be an elementary education teacher, so I know I’m going to college,” said Courtney Hoyle, 16, who attended seminars on cheese making and wheat research.

“I’ve learned how to talk more with other people,” said the Colton resident. “It’s so good for communication.”

More than 50 workshops offered teens a sampling of physics, budgeting, self-defense, animal sciences and environmental stewardship. Campus tours, dorm overnights and access to university instructors provided a preview of the college experience as students explored their post-high school paths.

Erich Scriven, 17, from Moses Lake plans to enter nursing. He spoke with an emergency medical provider and “it helped me figure out what I want in a job.” He also took a workshop on how to pay for college and not go into debt.

Learning how to communicate with others, developing good decision-making skills and respecting others’ backgrounds is integrated throughout the event.

“We want teens to picture themselves succeeding in whatever avenue they pursue,” said Jan Klein, WSU Extension 4-H adolescent teen specialist. “We are a springboard providing resources and opportunities for them to live an intentional, fulfilling life.”

“Teen conference is empowering,” said Hoyle. “It’s amazing to hear other people’s stories and perspectives. It makes me want to get out in the world and try new things.”