The Iowa Alpha Mu Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach's honor society, recognized three Friends of Extension during Epsilon Sigma Phi's annual awards ceremony March 10 at the Scheman Building on the ISU campus.
In addition, ESP also honored five ISU Extension and Outreach staff and faculty members from across the state, rewarding their service.
Epsilon Sigma Phi's goals are to maintain high professional standards, foster professional relationships and sustain morale and prestige of the Extension Service. These individuals and groups did just that while promoting Extension work in their communities and across the state as Friends of Extension.
• MaxYield Cooperative of north-central and northwest Iowa has enabled members to achieve results jointly that they couldn't have achieved on their own. MaxYield's philosophy shines through with a strong partnership support for ISU Extension programs in its area. Its commitment to providing current and emerging research-based information to constituents and the region has been demonstrated in numerous ways.
For more than a decade, MaxYield has supported the 4-H program by providing $10 per member to counties it serves, offsetting the 4-H program development fee. It has supported all ag education opportunities for youth and played a major role in Extension's farm and rural safety days. It also plays a key role in education for all members of the farming community, especially women in agriculture, by funding financial support for counties and clients to participate in the Annie's Project classes that educate women in agriculture.
• The Maurice-Orange City-Hospers-Alton (MOCHA) Kiwanis Club is small but mighty, having offered excellent support for the ISU Extension Sioux County 4-H and Human Sciences programs over the last several years. The MOCHA Kiwanis generates almost $10,000 annually to distribute to children and families in small rural communities they serve. Their awards to Extension have been generous in both gift and spirit, and giving of their personal time and organizational dollars makes them true Friends of Extension.
• Cheryl Pence has lived a life supporting and championing 4-H throughout Iowa. The mother of two daughters and grandmother to five, she was a Hardin County 4-H member as a girl. As an adult, she has served as a program assistant, volunteer leader, parent, judge and supporter in Hardin, Delaware, Jackson and Polk counties. She and her late husband, David, are known for community volunteerism, establishing 4-H scholarships through the Iowa 4-H foundation to help 4-H members realize their educational goals. Pence continues to give back by judging 4-H programs, and says that most people think the kids do all the learning in 4-H. She knows she learns more from the kids, which has kept her involved for more than 35 years.
• Dennis Johnson received the Distinguished Service Award. Johnson has served as the Worth County Extension education director, agriculturalist and 4-H youth and families coordinator since June 1981 and has positively impacted the lives of Worth County residents. He has initiated, established, organized and implemented highly successful agriculture, family and 4-H programs in Worth County, securing more than $1 million in grant money to reach more than 25,000 county family members, farmers and 4-H youth members. His 4-H program leads Iowa in participation at the state and national level year after year.
• Jerry Chizek received the Mid-Career Award. Since December 2011, Chizek has served as the director for Region 7. His professional goals are similar to those of ISU Extension and Outreach: improve continuously, satisfy clients and look for programming and networking opportunities. Chizek works every day to maintain a proactive, visible community presence and deliver research-based educational programs that make ISU Extension a part of people's everyday lives.
• Lori Hayungs received the Early Career award. Hayungs was hired as a human sciences specialist in family life in 2011, and jumped into her Extension career with a "let's find the way" attitude. In just over four years of work with ISU Extension she finds ways to move barriers and encourages colleagues in meeting Iowa's constituents where they are and exceeding their expectations. "How could I get so lucky?" Hayungs asked. "Daily, I am allowed to share with my county constituents the importance of healthy families and teach and train professionals to empower families and children."
• Deb Sellers received the Visionary Leadership Award. Sellers has served as the associated dean and director of Human Sciences Extension since July 2013. Her visionary leadership has focused on the ultimate outcome of implemented cultural changes and a new direction for Human Sciences Extension and Outreach, the inspiration and realization of the community's vision of empowering people and growing lives. It is emerging as a community of people who work every day to contribute to something bigger than themselves, multiply impacts for Iowans across the state through collaborative efforts and have a little fun along the way.
• Sandra McKinnon received the Diversity/Multicultural Individual Award. McKinnon has served as a family life program specialist and now as a human sciences specialist in family finance. She recognizes that the Latino population is growing in Iowa and serves on a statewide team to expand the capacity of and support the Juntos: Together for a Better Education program. Juntos targets Latino families with youth in eighth to 10th grade, helping youth become successful in high school and discover paths to higher education. In western Iowa, McKinnon has organized multiple series in urban Council Bluffs, as well as informational meetings and facilitator training in rural counties.