University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension > Family Matters > March 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

We Need Your Help!

The Health and Nutrition Program continues to hire new SNAP-Ed Educators to staff the SNAP Education program. We implemented a new staffing model in January with the hopes of employing 45 educators across the state. Currently, we have 25 positions filled and 14 positions are posted on the Extension employment website. We need your help to recruit high quality candidates for these positions.

Considering Giving to the FD Staff Memorial Fund

Our staff memorial fund, which is used to send flowers to staff's family after losing a loved one, is running low. This fund was set up in memory Kim Coffey, former support staff within Family Development. If you have been the recipient of this fund in the past, please consider making a donation now. Every little bit helps!

To make a donation, make check payable to "University of Minnesota." On the memo line, indicate "8882 - Family Development Memorial Fund." Checks can be sent directly to:

Madonna Monette
UM Extension Finance, Room 415
CofH, 1420
Eckles Ave.
St Paul, MN 55108.

The donation is fully tax deductible.

Be the Change

"You must be the change you want to see in the world. Gandhi

On one of those snow days, I planned several projects to fix people and programs. As I got further into my "fixing," it dawned on me that the change I was looking for did not involve only changing other people. I needed to also change myself — my behavior, my attitude or my approach. Sometimes I tell staff that "all things change when we do," which is a paraphrase of Gandhi's quote. This experience reminded me of a friend of mine at Iowa State.

Sharon Wasteney was a county extension director for a small, rural county in southern Iowa. She happened to be the site director for our CYFAR project and I was the state director. We hit it off from day one and enjoyed working together, although we had very different personal lives and political leanings. Sharon was an innovator, willing to try new ideas and approaches in her very rural and very poor county. Her efforts were not always embraced by her colleagues or her constituents but she remained resolute and committed.

When I left ISU in 1999 for Michigan State, she gave me a card with the quote above from Gandhi. For many years, that card was pinned on my bulletin board but appears to have gotten misplaced in our office move to Coffey Hall in 2010. I also have included a picture of a 15" by 15" wall hanging that she made to help me remember our work together on the CYFAR project. I treasure it and won't lose it!

I challenge you to think about how this saying applies to you and your work. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you discover. Learn more about this quote and other things that Gandhi said.

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

Welcome a New Extension Educator for Health and Nutrition

Laura Perdue recently joined the University of Minnesota Extension as an Extension Educator for Health and Nutrition. Her office is in the St. Cloud Regional Office.

Laura is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she obtained her Master's degree from the University of MN in public health nutrition. Her experience includes working as a graduate research assistant with the Family Development Research and Evaluation team. Most recently she has served as a Health Promotion Specialist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation involved in various community programs and campaigns promoting heart health.

Please join me in welcoming Laura Perdue to Extension.

New Titles for the Health and Nutrition Programs

You might have heard some buzz in the office about the changes in titles for the Health and Nutrition Program. In the past, we had used Simply Good Eating as the program title. Over the last five years, we started adding new program initiatives that did not quite fit under this title. So the program leadership team (Trina, Renee, and Houa) made the decision to rename the program and to give new titles to the various staff positions.

Health and Nutrition Programs will be used as the umbrella term for all Health and Nutrition work. For SNAP Education, the program title will be "Health and Nutrition Programs: SNAP-Ed." For EFNEP, it will be "Health and Nutrition Programs: EFNEP."

New titles for staff positions are as follows:

  • Extension Educator, Health and Nutrition Programs
  • SNAP-Ed Educator, Health and Nutrition Programs
  • County Educator, Health and Nutrition Programs (MOA funded)
  • Community Nutrition Educator, Health and Nutrition Programs, EFNEP
  • Regional Coordinator, Health and Nutrition Programs, SNAP-Ed
  • Program Coordinator, Health and Nutrition Programs, EFNEP
  • Associate Program Director, Health and Nutrition Programs (Could be followed by SNAP-Ed, Cooking Matters, etc.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Recently Hired Staff

La Tasha Shevlin began Monday, March 3, as the Dakota County Financial Empowerment Extension Educator. La Tasha completed a Master's of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota. She most recently was the Employment Training Specialist at Project for Pride in Living in Minneapolis where she designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated learning programs on personal finance and health specific content. La Tasha can be reached at

Amy Baack, recently hired as the Southeast SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator, joined U of MN Extension in 2010. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Baack previously held positions in Nicollet County where she served as the Community Nutrition Educator and most recently as a Regional Educator in the Southeast. Prior to joining Extension, she held positions with Mankato Public Schools, Minnesota Community Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension. Amy started her new position February 17, 2014 and is housed at the Mankato Regional Office. You can reach Amy at

Patti LaQua has been hired as one of two SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinators for the Central Region. She starts her new role with Extension on March 10th and will be housed at the Ramsey County Extension office. Patti is a registered dietitian and has spent the past 8 years working at the School of Public Health on nutrition education and obesity prevention programs with a focus on behavior change. She has coordinated nutrition education programs including developing the content, education materials and training staff to deliver a consistent intervention. Patti has also counseled and educated both individuals and groups. You can reach Patti at

Addressing Generational Poverty

This year marks the 50-year War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The media is rich with commentary about whether or not this effort was successful. As with many efforts, the news is mixed.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute has been offering a two-generation solution to poverty in which programs work with the children and family to break the poverty cycle. I subscribe to their listserv and recently received a newsletter from them that highlighted financial education and early childhood family education as solutions to two-generation poverty. Go their website to learn more about these efforts: Ascend at Aspen Institute.

Karen Shirer
Associate Dean

2014 Minnesota Award Winners for the National Association of Family Consumer Sciences

Join in congratulating award winners in Minnesota that will be forwarded to the NEAFCS Regional and National Awards Committee. We will have a strong presence as they evaluate award nominations from around the country.

Mary M. Wells Memorial Diversity Award — An Exploration into Culturally Relevant Family Resource Management Education
Jennifer Garbow
Antonio Meraz Alba
Rebecca Hagen Jokela
Trish Olson

Food Safety Award — Food Allergen Training for Food Service Employees
Suzanne Driessen
Kathy Brandt
Katherine Waters

Communications Awards — Internet Education Technology: Helping Families Recover Financially After a Disaster: A webinar series for helping professionals
Sara Croymans
Lori Hendrickson
Rebecca Hagen Jokela

Communications Awards — Educational Curriculum Package — Chat & Chew: Experiencing the Dietary Guidelines
Connie Burns
Mary Schroeder

Communications Awards — Written Press Release: Prevent the Spread of Norovirus During the Holidays
Deb Botzek-Linn

Community Partnership — Cooking Safely for a Crowd Video Conference
Deb Botzek-Linn

Social Networking — U of MN Extension Family Development Pinterest
Brianna Routh

Continued Excellence
Deb Botzek Linn

Distinguished Service
Kelly Kunkel

Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award - 4-H Consumer Decision Making Programming
Sara Croymans
Carrie Ann Olson

Coming Up for Air...

Dear Colleagues,

mar072014-Karen.jpgLast summer I launched an occasional blog to keep you informed about the happenings in the Center for Family Development. Unfortunately, I have not posted since mid-October but I am back with new energy and ideas to share with you about the center and our work. Much has occurred since I last posted and in this post I begin to share changes, new efforts and more.

After you read the blog, please take a few minutes to add a comment. Let me know what you would like to see in this blog and any other feedback that would be useful. Thank you ahead of time for your input.

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy