AMES, Iowa – Two educational programs led by Kimberly Greder from Iowa State University will receive the 2019 National Extension Diversity Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Cooperative Extension, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The award will be presented Nov. 10 during APLU’s 132nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.
The National Extension Diversity Award recognizes significant contributions and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity and pluralism. The 2019 award acknowledges Greder and the work teams who provide the “Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación” and “Abriendo Caminos” programs.
Greder is a professor in human development and family studies and a family life extension state specialist. She was the principal investigator for (in Iowa) two USDA grants, as well as for internal Iowa State grants, that substantially supported the implementation and evaluation of both programs in the state.
“Dr. Greder had the vision to bring these programs to Iowa and adapt them to meet the needs of Latino families in our state,” said Debra Sellers, associate dean in the College of Human Sciences and director for Human Sciences Extension and Outreach.
“She brought ISU Extension and Outreach staff together with their community partners to plan and implement the programs. She made modifications to the programs and created educational materials to best meet the needs of families in Iowa, and evaluated each program,” Sellers said.
Greder noted the work of her colleagues. “ISU Extension and Outreach staff, faculty, students and community partners were key to the success of both Juntos and Abriendo Caminos,” Greder said.
“Many, many people were involved in both programs. Without their efforts, implementation and evaluation would not have been possible,” Greder added.
Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación
Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación translates in English as “together for a better education.” Using this curriculum, developed by North Carolina State University Extension, and wrap around components, Greder and her colleagues helped 1,300 Latino youth and their parents gain information, develop skills, access resources and broaden networks to help these young people identify paths to post-secondary education.
In addition to Greder, the Juntos team includes the following ISU Extension and Outreach professionals: Tiffany Berkenes, Kim Brantner, David Brown, Aleta Cochran, Mackenzie DeJong, Robin (Brekke) Ertz, Lujean Faber, Megan Freel, Paul Gibbins, Rosa Gonzalez, Ann Green, Marisue Hartung, Lori Hayungs, Himar Hernandez, Nichol Kleespies, Aracely Martinez, Sandra McKinnon, Jeannette Mukayisire, Andrea Nelson, Cassie Odland, Victor Oyervides, Amy Pieper, Krista Regennitter, Susan Schmitz, Michelle Schott, Heather Schrantz, Janet Smith, Jill Sokness, Susan Taylor, Cindy Thompson, Mary Weinand, Jon Wolseth, Rachel Wonderlich, Barb Wollan, Barbara Woods, and Phyllis Zalenski, as well as former staff members Juan Ramirez and Caleb Carver. Additional ISU team members include J. Eliseo De León, Lazos Mentor for Hispanic/Latinx Affairs at ISU, members of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, and ISU graduate students Jordan Arellanes and Maria B. Alcívar Zúñiga.
Some of the many Juntos community partners include Centro Latino of Iowa in Council Bluffs, Clark College, Dordt College, Harding Middle School, Indian Hills Community College, Muscatine Community School District, Northwestern College, Perry Community School District, Rockwell-Collins, Sioux City Community Schools, Storm Lake Community School District, Waterloo Community School District, Western Tech Community College, Young Parents Network of Cedar Rapids, and Flor Romero de Slowing, formerly of Gear Up Iowa staff and now an academic adviser of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State University.
In partnership with the University of Illinois, Greder and other Iowa State faculty and extension professionals engaged 262 parents and children of Mexican heritage in an extension research study focused on testing the efficacy of Abriendo Caminos, a curriculum designed to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity risk. Preliminary findings revealed that families who participated had larger increases in good cholesterol levels, and larger decreases in bad cholesterol and blood inflammation, suggesting improved lifestyle behaviors reducing obesity risk. These efforts led to significant strides in expanding extension’s capacity to engage with and provide responsive programming to Iowa Latino families.
The Iowa State team for Abriendo Caminos includes Greder along with extension professionals Kendra Crooks, Maria Garcia, Rosa Gonzalez, Marisue Hartung, Himar Hernandez, Mary Krisco, Jeannette Mukayisire, Joy Rouse, Sara Sprouse, Jill Weber and Jon Wolseth; and former extension staff members Lisa Mikelson, Juan Ramirez and Brenda Spurgeon.
In addition, faculty members Marian Kohut and Elizabeth Shirtcliff and numerous graduate and undergraduate students were involved in data collection and analysis, including graduate research assistants Maria B. Alcívar Zúñiga, Kassandra Diaz, Shannin Moody, Andrea Tountas, and Wen Wang; former graduate research assistants Juan Bao, Brianna Routh and Greta Stuhlsatz; undergraduate students Jessica Alley, Jacob Liebman, Samuel Messbarger, and Megan Slattery; and former undergraduate students Jose Amaya, Ariadna Davis, Nayely Hurtado, Berenice Liborio, Berenice Real-Ibarra, Cassandra Murillo, Alondra Sanchez, and Jennifer Velasquez.
Some of the many Abriendo Caminos community partners include Lupita Chavez, Hispanic outreach coordinator at Dallas County Hospital; Katelin Gannon, Central College faculty member, and students; Head Start, YMCA and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Postville; River Hills Community Health Center in Ottumwa; South Suburban YMCA of Greater Des Moines; and Rosario Garcia, Citlalic Hurtado, Angie and David Lopez, Griselda Rodriguez and Anabel Vega.
“Their work stands as an exceptional example of the impact of Cooperative Extension for the people in all 50 states and five U.S. territories where more than 32,000 Cooperative Extension professionals serve,” said Ed Jones, associate dean and director of extension at Virginia Tech, and chair of the national Extension Committee on Organization and Policy.
Juntos Para Una Mejor Educación was supported in Iowa by local cooperative extension offices and organizations, and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture -- Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Sustainable Communities Project Grant 2014-2019.
Abriendo Caminos was supported by local organizations, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2015-68001-23248 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to Cooperative Extension and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Iowa State University College of Human Sciences Collaborative Seed Grant; and Vice President for Extension and Outreach Strategic Initiative.
“NIFA is proud to support the national network of extension experts and educators through our land-grant institution partnership,” said NIFA director J. Scott Angle. “This collaboration brings science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers and community members to help them grow their businesses, raise healthy families and support their communities.”