Panhandle Extension professionals recognized |

Panhandle Extension professionals recognized

A half-dozen Extension professionals from the Panhandle Extension District have been recognized for excellence recently. Five Panhandle Extension employees received state recognition for their efforts at the Nebraska Extension Fall Conference in Kearney on Nov. 28. Extension Educator Jessica Grospkopf, based in Scottsbluff, received the Chester I. Walters Extra Mile Award, which recognizes Extension staff who go beyond the call of duty in carrying out their responsibilities. Groskopf provided leadership in farm bill education for 2014 and is continuing as the current farm bill is being crafted. She is developing and delivering risk-management education for producers utilizing state-of-the-art methods, such as the Marketing in a New Era (MINE) market simulator and development of the Grain Marketing Plan App. Extension Educator Connie Hancock, based in Sidney, received the Innovative Extension Educator Award. Hancock was recognized for her role in numerous education programs aimed at helping Nebraska individuals, businesses, and communities to successfully integrate into the global economy and digital age. These include regional and statewide broadband plans; one of the first Nebraska Extension digital curricula using the ZMag format; and recently with the Library Commission and Nebraska Innovation Studio to bring Makerspaces to Sidney. Her other large project is as community coach with the Rural Futures Institute Rural Community Prosperity Research Project. Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Extension community vitality specialist, received the Innovative Extension Specialist Award. Burkhart-Kriesel was recognized for her work focused on helping communities obtain the future they desire, through her leadership and involvement in programs such as the community-driven Red Carpet Service program and development of the multi-state Marketing Hometown America program. Red Carpet Service has been delivered with team members in many locations in Nebraska and South Dakota, and has evolved to include an online program, a mini two-hour version, and two program spin-offs. Marketing Hometown America is an action-oriented, community engagement program focused on new resident recruitment and retention. Terri Lemmon, Extension 4-H assistant based in Chadron, received the Innovative Extension Managerial/Professional Award. Lemmon was recognized for her tireless work in the Dawes County 4-H program. A strong believer in partnerships, she has engaged with more than 30 groups in the community. She enrolled 200 members in the 4-H program. Traditional club membership is up 60 percent since she started four years ago. She has started many special-interest programs, expanding her reach with a wide variety of volunteers. Program participation is up more than 250 percent. Lemmon took the lead in organizing the North Panhandle Animals Inside and Out Field Day. She introduced the Next Chapter to eighth-grade students and the Connecting the Dots program to help freshmen and sophomores visualize their path after high school. She also implemented the Academic Success program for high school juniors and seniors. Mitch Stephenson, forage and range management specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, received the Innovative Extension New Employee Award. Stephenson began working with Nebraska Extension in 2015. The award acknowledges his impact working with Extension teams to develop workshops and field days addressing cheatgrass management, grazing management, and crop/livestock integration. He is working with the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition on an on-farm project evaluating the use of annual forages at several locations. He also developed a Range and Forage Management website for UNL and was part of a team that developed the Range and Forage group UNL website. In addition to the Extension awards, Groskopf and Extension educator Jenny Nixon, based in Harrison, also received other recognition from their statewide peers. Groskopf also was among those recognized by UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources during annual awards in Lincoln Dec. 1. The Omtvedt Innovation Award for Team was presented to the Commodity Marketing Education group, whose members include Groskopf. The award goes to IANR faculty, or a team lead by a faculty, who has demonstrated exceptional abilities in the areas of teaching, research or extension education. At the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association conference in Kearney, Nixon received the Epsilon Established Career Leadership Award. The award recognizes that, throughout her tenure, Nixon has grown in her Extension position to develop and deliver quality education and has also provided leadership throughout the organization. She has grown local, district, and state programming, particularly in Community Vitality. In addition, she has also grown community and state commitment to Extension through her professionalism, her willingness to take on new projects, and a steady, consistent work ethic.

Extension educator hired in Box Butte County

Tiffany Rice has accepted an offer to serve as a Learning Child Educator for Nebraska Extension, based in Box Butte County. Her acceptance was announced by Jack Whittier, director of research and Extension for the Panhandle. She is scheduled to begin her duties June 1, 2018, after completing her duties as a teacher at Stapleton Public Schools. She will be based at the Extension Office in Alliance. Rice will develop and deliver educational programs and resources as part of Nebraska Extension’s Learning Child Issue Team, made up of Extension professionals and other partners. She will work closely with parents, teachers, early childhood professionals and caregivers of young children. Nebraska Extension’s Learning Child program is designed to help create environments and experiences for children ages 0 to 5 that result in improved school readiness and enhanced social emotional growth and development. In addition to teaching at Stapleton, Rice was director and teacher of the VOA pre-school at Lewellen and a substitute teacher at schools in Garden County, North Platte and Stapleton. She has a master’s degree in school administration from Wayne State College, and early childhood endorsement from Chadron State College, and a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Wayne State College.

Bogner has joined Smith’s staff

Congressman Adrian Smith, R-Neb., announced Michael Bogner has joined his staff in his Grand Island office, where he will serve as staff assistant. Bogner graduated from Wayne State College in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in English. He completed an internship in Smith’s Grand Island office last year, spending his summer break serving Third District constituents. He has also devoted his time to ministering to young Nebraskans through Young Life. “Michael did an outstanding job during his internship last summer, and following his recent graduation from Wayne State, we are pleased to welcome him back to our team full-time,” Smith said. “With his experience, Michael will be a great asset in our efforts to provide top-quality service to the people of Nebraska’s Third District.”

Shockley named to All-American Team

Ty Shockley, member of the University of Wyoming Livestock Judging team, was one of 11 college seniors named All-Americans at the 112th National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 14. The All-American program recognizes students who have made a commitment to livestock judging and have excelled in academics, university and industry activities and community service. Shockley, from Wheatland, Wyo., judged competitively at both Casper College and UW. Along with owning and managing his own cattle company, he has served as president and adviser for the Wyoming Junior Angus Association. On campus, he serves as a justice with the University of Wyoming Judicial Council and was named outstanding senior in the College of Business. Shockley is also the treasurer of Alpha Kappa Psi, accounting tutor for Beta Alpha Psi and member of UW transfer student advisory committee. Shockley served during summer 2017 as a White House intern for vice presidential operations. After graduating in May 2018 with bachelor of science degrees in accounting and agricultural business, he hopes to become a certified public accountant. His longer-term goal is to continue his education with a joint MBA/JD degree and pursue a career in politics in Washington, D.C. The University of Wyoming was one of only five universities to have a team member named as an All-American.

Goshen County 4-H educator honored

Innovative programming and working across generations are among reasons Goshen County, Wyoming, 4-H educator Megan Brittingham received the Newer Employee Award from the University of Wyoming Extension. Brittingham was presented the honor during extension’s December training conference in Laramie. She joined UW Extension in 2010. Nominators said Brittingham successfully works with teens to senior citizens and includes all members of groups in starting and evaluating programs. She worked with local businesses and the local school district to start a chick-hatching project in eight Goshen County elementary classrooms. She determined which breeds would be most successful and obtained the necessary equipment. The project extended beyond the school year with students seeing their hatched chickens at the county fair. She also spearheaded creation of the Wyoming 4-H Theater Camp. Extension educators worked with college theater departments to bring theater and arts education into the Wyoming 4-H Program. ❖


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