Martin Smith

Martin Smith

Position Title
Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist

Human Ecology


Smith, an associate Cooperative Extension specialist with a split appointment in the Department of Human Ecology and in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, specializes in youth scientific literacy and science education outreach. Smith has been on campus since 1996; he accepted a shared appointment with human ecology in 2012. Smith has an M.S. in biology and an Ed.D. in teacher leadership.

Research and outreach interests:

Advancing youth scientific literacy, development of effective curriculum materials and approaches to professional development for educators, needs assessments for the California 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Initiative, science curriculum development for youth audiences, effective curriculum implementation and dissemination strategies, effective professional development methods for science educators.

Brief overview:

To advance youth scientific literacy, my applied research and extension efforts focus principally on:

  1. The development, evaluation, and dissemination of research-based science curricula
  2. The design, evaluation, and dissemination of effective professional development models for science educators
  3. Understanding what constitutes effective science programming, focusing on the elements of frequency, duration, and intensity.

Advancing youth scientific literacy helps prepare the workforce, spurs future advances in science and technology, and promotes economic growth. A fundamental understanding of scientific concepts also helps individuals address personal consumer choices, key public policy issues, and critical societal challenges.

Current projects:

  • Biosecurity proficiencies project for beginning producers in California 4-H
  • Impacts of frequency and duration of nonformal science programming on youth scientific literacy
  • Effective professional development strategies for extension educators
  • Curriculum development:
    • Animal Welfare Proficiencies Project for 4-H Youth
    • Discovering Healthy Choices
    • Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks in 4-H Animal Science Projects
    • Understanding and Applying Veterinary Science in 4-H
    • Future Opportunities Created through Academic Success (FOCAS)
    • Science Education Outreach Program (SEOP)