2023 North Central Area ISU Extension and Outreach Award Winners Named

News Release

DATE: JANUARY 12, 2023


Contact:  Anne Tedore, Regional Director, ISU Extension and Outreach

(641) 485-5177, atedore@iastate.edu

(Marshalltown, IA) Iowa State University Extension and Outreach North Central Area Awards Ceremony was held on January 12, 2023. The county offices in the north central area announced award recipients for outstanding achievements in 2022.

Awards were submitted in November of 2022 and judged by the awards committee in the South-Central Area based on the established rubric. The North Central area received 29 award nominations, ten awards were presented in each of the areas.

The Excellence in Partnerships to Iowans Award winner is Nicole Leidal, Cerro Gordo County Nutrition Educator. Nicole has expanded the reach of adult learners and makes appropriate adaptations to lessons for audiences she serves. Nicole models excellent professional communication and relational skills, a positive attitude, resourcefulness, a high level of energy, and a drive for growth.

The Creativity in Service to All Iowans Award winner is Missy Crawford, Franklin County Director. Missy has a creative knack for finding the need throughout her county and acting on it. She recognizes the need for Latinx programming and is moving forward to train and recruit volunteers.

The Human Science Program Area Recognition Award winner is Jenny Hulme and Cheryl Bruene, Tama County. These award winners combined their efforts to address food insecurity in their local communities. They focused their programmatic efforts on food access, activated volunteers to donate produce to local food pantries, identified grants to bolster program supplies and incentives, built partnerships to build and place Little Food Pantries around the county, and convened a group of stakeholders focused on food insecurity in the area.

The 4-H and Youth Program Area Recognition Award winner is Maya Rowe, Cerro Gordo County Youth Coordinator. The 4-H program in Cerro Gordo County has grown by 12% from 2020 to 2022. Reliability and adaptability are Maya’s strengths to manage the county program, which are shown in the impacted number.

The Extension Council Distinguished Service Award winner is the Hancock County Extension Council. The Hancock County Extension Council are committed to high quality educational offerings and work to make sure the office is equipped and ready to serve all Iowans by conducting needs assessments to support direction, guiding staff to research based programs, building back programs after a COVID hiatus, distributing resources, and engaging in partnerships.

The Spirit of CY Award winner is Jeanene Blickenderfer, Cerro Gordo County Office Assistant. Jeanene creates a positive working environment for not only staff, but every person who connects with extension in Cerro Gordo County which is essential to our goals of engaging all Iowans. She recognizes that the true CY spirit is to believe in people, without bias, to reach for their hopes and aspirations. CY, just like Jeanene, exudes a sense of self-determination, influences others with a ‘can do’ spirit, and is willing to tackle all situations.

The Outstanding Achievement in Advancement Award winner is Amber Wengert, Story County Marketing Coordinator and Assistant Bookkeeper. Amber prides herself on maintaining and promoting a strong brand within all programs. Amber strives to reach the goal of increasing Region 17 social media reach and engagement in the last few years has increased the R17 Facebook followers from 594 to over 1600.

The Exceptional Volunteer Service Award winner is MaryAnn Gardner. MaryAnn donates countless hours of time to staff, council, and the clients of Story County Extension. Her commitment to youth shows in a positive attitude and a support that translates into action to reach young people and their families.

The Friend of Extension Award winner is Jim Lundberg and Brett Spurgin of the Charles City FFA in Floyd County. The collaborative spirit of the Charles City FFA with Floyd County Extension has created an impactful, authentic, engaged partnership and began with the two organizations working closely. Jim and Brett, the FFA advisors, have proven themselves to be admirable Extension partners by conveying to their students what it means to be service-oriented.

The Pride of Extension Award winner is Cheryl Bruene, Tama County Director. Cheryl focused her efforts this past year in furthering COVID recovery including improving food access and financial literacy. Cheryl established the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program offered through extension serving 50 clients and relying on 5 volunteer tax preparers in the 2020-21 tax season.

The Face of Extension Award winner is Jamie Neff, Palo Alto County Program and Office Coordinator. Jamie has expanded her reach and integrated into the most diverse group of individuals and community partners the county has seen by her work to the Community Visioning steering committee. Jamie has made extension a leader in helping the community investigate physical and cultural dimensions of the city landscape.

ISU Extension and Outreach builds a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges. Learn more at www.extension.iastate.edu .

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext .