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Purdue Extension honors educators, specialists at annual Professional Development Conference

December 11, 2018

More than 350 Purdue Extension educators and extension specialists gathered at the Purdue Memorial Union for the annual Professional Development Conference, an event that recognizes individuals for outstanding service and offers educational and collaborative opportunities.

Jason Henderson, director of Extension and associate dean of Purdue Agriculture, welcomed guests and recognized several individuals for their achievements, including Marcos Fernandez, associate dean and director of academic programs and professor of animal sciences. Henderson presented Fernandez with the 2018 Director’s Award.

“Marcos is tremendously supportive of Extension,” Henderson said. “From day one, he has sought to strengthen the integration of academic programs and Extension, to the point of investing in our summer internship program. Personally, I am deeply appreciative of his vision, leadership, counsel, and passion for education and agriculture.”

Angie Abbott, associate director of Purdue Extension and program leader for Health and Human Sciences Extension, presented the Paul B. Crooks Award to Carla Kidwell, director of Purdue Extension Warrick County. Kidwell’s advocacy of healthy living programs led the first group of Indiana 4-H teens to deliver health programming to the residents of Warrick County. Her effort garnered national recognition, sending her to the national 4-H Healthy Living Summit in Washington, D.C. 

Renée McKee, program leader for Indiana 4-H Youth Development and assistant director of Purdue Extension, said Kidwell has been a driving force in Indiana 4-H for nearly 30 years.

“We are all so grateful for Carla’s ongoing, devoted service,” McKee said. “Her success shines through her dedication, leadership and innovative methods of teaching and instruction, which have benefitted so many.”

The Outstanding Extension Faculty/Specialist Award was given to Amanda Deering, clinical assistant professor with Purdue Extension and specialist in Produce Food Safety, who many refer to as the “go-anywhere specialist” for her work locally and globally. Deering’s tireless efforts were particularly invaluable after the Indiana cantaloupe illness outbreak in 2013, educating growers and assisting them with potential FDA inspections. After this, she helped secure funding for the Food Safety Education Hub, currently under construction near Vincennes.

Awards were presented to numerous individuals for their significant contributions, including the areas of Indiana Extension Educators Association (IEEA) and Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association (PUCESA) awards. 

Kara Stewart, assistant professor of animal sciences and PUCESA chair, announced the following awards:

Hancook: Barb Beaulieu and educators.

Team: CCA Crop Conference Planning Committee.

Early Career: John Orick.

Mid-Career: Maria Marshall.

Career: Larry DeBoer and Keith Johnson.

Spirit of Extension: Barry Fisher.

Student in Extension: Brooke Stefancik.

Leadership: Tamara Benjamin. 

Melessa Wiesehan, Indiana 4-H Youth Development educator for Purdue Extension – Jennings County and IEEA chair, presented the following awards: 

Friend of Extension: Wayne and Janice Robinson, Elkhart County.

4-H Youth Development Bob Amick: Robert Kelly, Elkhart County.

4-H Youth Development Individual: Rebecca Wilkins, Harrison County.

Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Individual: Elysia Rodgers, Dekalb County.

Community Wellness Coordinator (CWC) Individual: Mindy Duckett, Hendricks, Putnam and Parke counties.

HHS Individual: Molly Hunt, Delaware County.

International: Cultural Immersion Team, Ikaria, Greece and the program, “Lessons from Ikaria, Greece” with team members Jean Akers, Naomi Bechtold, Meagan Brothers, Jennifer Cannon, Molly Hoag, Jane Horner, Kelsie Muller, Demarcus Sneed, Christina Bautista Swathwood and Stephanie Woodcox.

4-H Youth Development Team: Teri Hornberger and Elisabeth Smith

ANR Team: Indiana Small Farm Conference Committee with team members Ashley Adair, Roy Ballard, Tamara Benjamin, Kamille Brawner, Phil Cox, Jodee Ellett, Steve Engleking, Sarah Hanson, John Hawley, Karen Mitchell, Michael O’Donnell, Tiffanie Stone, Amy Thompson, Emily Toner, Andrew Westfall, and James Wolff. Former members include Mark Kepler, Paul Ebner, Mike Hornbach and Corinne Alexander.

Community Development Team: Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing with team members Jennifer Allen, Gina Anderson, Naomi Bechtold, Jennifer Cannon, Roberta Crabtree, Curt Emanuel, Christina Ferroli, Mary Foell, Melinda Grismer, Vickie Hadley, Karen Hinshaw, Teri Hornberger, Patty Keating, Annette Lawler, Terri Newcom, George Okantey, Kris Parker, Janet Reed, Katie Whiteford, and Steve Yoder.

CWC Team: Animal Science Day Camp with team members Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross, Kelly Heckaman, and Robert Kelly.

HHS Team: Master Food Preserver with team members: Harriet Armstrong, Linda Curley, Brenda Hagedorn, Jane Horner, Nancy Hudson, Annette Lawler, Joni Muchler, Monica Nagele, Karen Ritchey, Atina Rozhon, and Janet Steffens.

Years of Service Awards also were given to individuals with 10, 25, 30 and 45 years working with Extension. Curtis Campbell, Hans Schmitz, and Andrew Westfall were recognized for 10 years of service; Eugene Matzat, Davis Osborne, and Denise Schroeder for 25 years of service; Julie Gray for 30 years of service; and Polly Gettinger for 45 years of service.

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