Nebraska Extension presents awards at fall conference

Award
Kim Bearnes (left), president of the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association, and Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension, present Jessica Groskopf, associate extension educator at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center with the Chester I. Walters Extra Mile Award. Groskopf was one of several Nebraska Extension professionals honored for their service during extension's fall conference Nov. 28-30 in Kearney, Neb.

December 6, 2017

Lincoln, Neb. — From border to border, Nebraska Extension is making an incredible impact on the success of Nebraska’s youth, families, farms, ranches communities and economy. These efforts would not be possible without the dedication of extension’s faculty and staff.

Several innovative professionals from Nebraska Extension were honored with awards during extension’s fall conference Nov. 28-30 in Kearney, Neb.

Awards presented and recipients were: 

  • CHESTER I. WALTERS EXTRA MILE AWARD: The Chester I. Walters Extra Mile Award is intended to recognize staff members who show evidence of going beyond the call of duty in carrying out the responsibilities of their particular assignment.
    • Jean Ann Fischer, director of the Nutrition Education Program and interim human sciences program leader
    • Jessica Groskopf, associate extension educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
  • INNOVATIVE EXTENSION SPECIALIST AWARD: The Innovative Extension Specialist Award provides recognition of outstanding contributions by an extension specialist in the program area(s) relative to his/her assignment.
    • Cheryl Burhart-Kriesel, extension professor, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
  • INNOVATIVE EXTENSION EDUCATOR AWARD: The Innovative Extension Educator Award recognizes innovative programming by an extension educator.
    • Megan Burda, assistant extension educator, York/Polk counties
    • Connie Hancock, extension educator, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
    • Laura Thompson, extension educator, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension 
  • INNOVATIVE EXTENSION MANAGERIAL/PROFESSIONAL AWARD: The Innovative Extension/Managerial Professional Award recognizes imaginative and sustained leadership by an extension managerial/professional in carrying out extension programs.
    • Rebecca Vogt, survey research manager, Department of Agricultural Economics
    • Brenda Sale, extension associate, Dakota County Extension
    • Terri Lemmon, 4-H extension assistant, Dawes County Extension 
  • INNOVATIVE EXTENSION NEW EMPLOYEE AWARD: The Innovative Extension New Employee Award recognizes extension workers in their first three years of service who have exhibited an innovative program that reaches new audiences in new ways.
    • Mitchell Stephenson, range and forage management specialist, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
    • Holly Hatton-Bowers, early childhood education specialist, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
    • Justin McMechan, crop protection and cropping systems specialist, Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension 
  • INNOVATION IN TEAM PROGRAMMING AWARD: The Innovation in Team Programming Award recognizes the importance of interdisciplinary team efforts in achieving the goals of Nebraska Extension.
    • Solar Eclipse Team: Elizabeth Janning, 4-H science and agriculture in action educator; Brandy VanDeWalle, extension educator, Filmore County Extension; Amy Timmerman, extension educator, Holt County Extension; Jackie Steffen, extension educator, Cedar County Extension; and Katie Karr, education assistant, Hastings Museum. 

The Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association also presented awards at the fall conference. Awards presented and recipients were: 

  • OUTSTANDING MENTOR AWARD:  The Outstanding Mentor Award is for extension educators, specialists and assistants/associates who have mentored in a formal or informal capacity another member of extension.
    • Jill Goedeken, extension educator, Platte County Extension 
  • OUTSTANDING PROGRAMMING AWARD FOR TEAM: The Outstanding Programming Award for Team is for NCEA members who have developed outstanding programming within the past five years to address educational needs of Nebraskans.
    • Solar Eclipse Team: Elizabeth Janning, 4-H science and agriculture in action educator; Brandy VanDeWalle, extension educator, Filmore County Extension; Amy Timmerman, extension educator, Holt County Extension; Jackie Steffen, extension educator, Cedar County Extension; and Katie Karr, education assistant, Hastings Museum. 
  • OUTSTANDING PROGRAMMING AWARD FOR INDIVIDUAL: The Outstanding Programming Award for Individual is for NCEA members who have developed outstanding programming within the past five years to address educational needs of Nebraskans.
    • Megan Burda, assistant extension educator, York/Polk counties
  • OUTSTANDING PARTNER IN EDUCATION AWARD: The Outstanding Partner in Education Award is for external partners who have excelled to provide extension educational programming in partnership with NCEA members in their local or statewide programming.
    • Nebraska Association of County Officials
  • EPSILON SIGMA PHI CAREER LEADERSHIP AWARDS: ESP Career Leadership Awards are presented to deserving extension professionals who exemplify personal integrity, teamwork, program leadership and work/life balance. Three awards are based on total years of service in extension work, including service in other state systems.
    • Early Career Leadership Award (under 10 years of service): Erin Laborie, extension educator, Furnas County Extension
    • Mid-Career Leadership Award (11-20 years of service): Natalie Sehi, NEP program coordinator, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences

Established Career Leadership Award (20 or more years of service): Jan Hygnstrom, extension project manager, Pesticide Safety Education Program; and Jenny Nixon, community vitality extension educator, Sioux County Extension

To learn more about Nebraska Extension, visit https://extension.unl.edu/. 

Mike Riese
Communications Specialist
Nebraska Extension
402-472-9053
riese@unl.edu