AMES, Iowa – Nine extension professionals were honored during the university's annual awards ceremony Monday, Sept. 23, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Those honored included Kim Brantner, family life field specialist; Mark Edelman, extension ag economist; Anna Johnson, swine specialist; MacKenzie Johnson, family life field specialist; Gene Mohling, extension regional director; Shelly Oltmans, communities program specialist; Malisa Rader, family life field specialist; Angela Shaw, food safety specialist; and Barbara Woods, extension special project manager.
Kim Brantner, field specialist, human sciences extension and outreach, was honored by Iowa State University with the highest award bestowed on an extension professional, the Award for Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach. This award recognizes sustained distinguished performance and educational contributions to Iowa State clientele through ISU Extension and Outreach programs.
Over the past 34 years, Brantner has served Iowa families as an extension home economist, 8-county consumer management educator, county extension education director and human sciences specialist. She has written over $3.4 million in grants to enhance programming. Few have had the opportunity to experience networking and collaborating with councils, stakeholders, volunteers and staff from so many different roles in ISU Extension and Oureach. Brantner works in low resource rural counties with passion, enthusiasm and devotion.
Gene Mohling, director for ISU Extension and Outreach Region 15, received the R.K. Bliss Award from Iowa State University. The award recognizes outstanding achievement of an ISU Extension and Outreach staff member for developing an overall or continuing extension education program. The honor is named for Ralph K Bliss, the director of extension from 1912 to 1946.
As the Johnson County Extension Education Director, Mohling’s responsibilities quickly expanded into Washington and Iowa Counties. Through his leadership, Region 15 saw a four-fold increase in the number of youth served. He has led numerous initiatives including a Non-Profit Academy, Annie’s Project, Ag Outlook Seminar, and Nutrition and After School programs. From 2002-2014, the John Deere In-Tune with Agriculture Institute offered 250 workshops for 5,500 participants, and Mohling conducted 23 sessions. He has been instrumental in building capacity of staff across Iowa.
Anna Johnson, professor of animal science and extension swine specialist, received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice.The award recognizes a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension or professional practice, and has achieved national recognition for outreach activities. Johnson has had a tremendous impact on pig welfare and the pig industry, and is recognized for her innovative and practical research to the agricultural and food communities. Her extension clients include Kroggers, Bob Evans Restaurants and pork producers of all sizes. She is also sought by commodity groups wishing to develop industry-wide programs to enhance animal wellbeing.
Shelley Oltmans, community and economic development specialist, received the Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in extension and or professional practice usually early in her/his professional career.
Oltmans’ top accomplishments include establishing the Lee County Leadership program with ISU Extension and Outreach Lee County, and the Fort Madison Area and Keokuk Area Chambers of Commerce. As an extension community and economic development field specialist and Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, Oltmans makes full use of her joint position to take Iowa State resources to the people of Iowa.
Malisa Rader, field specialist, human sciences extension and outreach, received the Regents Award for Staff Excellence. The award recognizes her outstanding performance in statewide leadership in extension practice and national recognition for outreach activities. Rader implements priority programs in the areas of childhood education, parenting education, relationships, literacy, care giving, diversity, inclusion and cultural competency in the north central Iowa counties she serves and far beyond.
MacKenzie Johnson, a nutrition and wellness specialist, human sciences extension and outreach, received the Professional and Scientific New Professional Award. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated innovative, creative or original ways in accomplishing job responsibilities. Johnson was recognized for her passion for innovation and collaboration, which is present in projects like the “Empowering Families to Grow Together” online program and the development of the “Pick Your Program Packet.” She serves 10 counties in north central Iowa, with her online programming reaching much further.
Angela Shaw, associate professor and extension specialist in food microbiology and safety, received the Award for Inclusive Excellence. This award recognizes those who have advanced the university’s mission of diversity, equity and inclusion outside of their compensated responsibilities. Shaw’s research and extension programming, committee work, department and college service, organizational leadership and community outreach all focus on inclusion and serving underserved minority populations. She has and continues to work tirelessly to advance the goal of making campus and Ames the most welcoming and inclusive communities.
Barbara Woods, extension special project manager, human sciences extension and outreach, received the Award for Inclusive Excellence. This award recognizes those who have advanced the university’s mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion outside of their compensated responsibilities. Woods has been instrumental in creating programs and opportunities for faculty and staff to improve their teaching and their course materials to include diversity, equity and community concepts. She is an active leader in creating an inclusive environment in the College of Human Sciences, and she serves as a mentor to underrepresented students and an adviser to student groups.
Mark Edelman, professor of economics and extension ag economist, received the Achievement in Economic Development in Iowa. This award recognizes faculty and staff members for outstanding ISU-based achievements in advancing the economic development of the state of Iowa. Edelman has devoted much of his career to this cause and assisting Iowans in starting businesses. He has guided individuals and firms as they pursue economic opportunities in a variety of areas and is known for turning ideas into income.
Photo: Kim Brantner, MacKenzie Johnson, Malisa Rader and Barbara Woods were award recipients from human sciences, extension and outreach. Photo provided by Donna Donald, ISU Extension and Outreach.