About Lisa Kaslon:
I have a B.A. in English education and M.S. in leadership education. I am currently near the tail end of a Ph.D. in leadership studies. I grew up in Crete, Neb. where my family was actively involved in 4-H. My mom and grandma were both 50+ year leaders.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?
I am currently a district 4-H coordinator, serving the program by helping staff grow and develop their local programs. In this role, we also provide support in all aspects of 4-H management (policy, financial, etc.) and in programmatic development for staff.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska?
It’s funny, extension and 4-H were something my family was highly connected to growing up, but I never even considered a career in Extension. When my husband and I moved to the Columbus area and I saw a job ad that mentioned 4-H and involved teaching programs in the school, I remember thinking, “I can do that, I know all about 4-H.” I started as a 4-H assistant in 1995. I quickly realized I enjoyed the work and went back to school to get my M.S. so I could become an extension educator. I became the 4-H extension educator in Platte County in 2004. Before I accepted the educator position I had left extension for about 8 months to serve as the executive director of the American Red Cross because UNL was on a hiring freeze. In that short time, I realized that extension and UNL were where I wanted to be and as soon as the freeze ended and the position was opened I applied and started back with UNL in January of 2004. I took on the district coordinator role as a part of my job in 2011 when the prior coordinator retired and then accepted the job full time in 2013. I have found that Extension can provide an awesome career, as I have switched roles a couple times enabling me to do new work and try new things. UNL is a great place to work and extension is innovative, always changing and focused on our state and its citizens. It’s truly a job that allows me to love what I do every day. I have been able to grow, learn and develop myself as a person and I love helping staff in my staff development role do the same.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
As I mentioned, the ability to continue learning has become pretty important to me. I never thought I would get a Ph.D., but it has been so rewarding to take classes that I can apply to my work every day. I also love the fact that we can help young people see their potential, and whether it’s encouraging them to attend college or take up something that has become their passion through their learning in 4-H, it is pretty special to see and be a part of. I love staff development, it’s so great to help others to learn to do their job better.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
This is a great question. Obviously whatever impact I have made on the lives of the young people I have worked with will always mean a great a deal to me. Through grant writing and leadership, I was able to help Columbus start and operate an afterschool program at 6 sites. Now 13 years later, I still help oversee and direct this program and it gives me great pride to say I have been a part of helping hundreds of youth have a place to be after school that provides them so much when it comes to learning and experiences they might not have had otherwise. I also think my continued education has been an accomplishment. Having a full time job, a full time family and going back to school not once but twice has been something I am pretty proud of.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I’m a pretty open book. If I think it, I usually say it, so most people know a lot about me. I know part of my job is to help staff through change and new programs but what most might not realize is that I do love it and not just because I have to do it. It keeps things new, fresh and you on your toes. I don’t want to get bored at work and change keeps that from happening. I also like trying to figure out how I can influence others to accept and move through the change. I like a challenge at work, but most probably know that too!
What is your life like outside of work?
My husband Keith is a graduate of UNL too. He works for Monsanto as a district sales manager. We have two sons, Derek, who will be a senior in the fall at UNL majoring in chemical engineering and Trevor who is a senior at Scotus Central Catholic. We enjoy being active. We love sports, both playing and watching. Time in the outdoors is important to all of us. We have enjoyed our opportunities to travel and are always thinking about the next place we want to go. Life is good and we are thankful for what we have been able to do.