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October 13, 2015

Extension recognizes distinguished service of faculty and staff

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/13/2015)—Extension Dean Bev Durgan recently honored faculty and staff as distinguished service award winners, in addition to the annual distinguished friend of Extension recognition. The awards are given yearly in recognition of excellence.

The 2015 honorees are:

Distinguished Campus-Based Faculty—Dr. Stephen Kells, Extension entomologist
Kells’ research and outreach focuses on pest prevention in residential, commercial and industrial settings. His emphasis on human health includes the “Let’s Beat the Bug” program, which has reached more than 2 million people, including disadvantaged and underserved audiences.

Distinguished Field-Based Faculty—Bruce Schwartau, Extension educator
Rochester-based Schwartau leads the Extension Center for Community Vitality’s Retail Trade Analysis Team, providing in-depth analyses of local retail trade. He has completed more than 250 reports, which are used by communities, local Chambers of Commerce and other economic development groups to help inform their decisions.

Distinguished Team—Farm Bill Education Team
Partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, the team helped Minnesota farmers navigate the most complicated decisions they had faced in decades, changes necessitated by the 2014 Farm Bill. Evaluations show that attendees increased their understanding of the options and intend to use the information they learned to make the best decisions for their farm businesses. Team members were: David Bau, Betty Berning, Bob Craven, Gary Hachfeld, Eliza Herman, Rob Holcomb, Kevin Klair, Curtis Mahnken, Dale Nordquist, Kent Olson, Jim Paulson, Jim Salfer and Allison Sandve.

Distinguished Diversity and Inclusion—Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Team
The team is igniting middle-school youth interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 4-H STEM clubs reach culturally diverse teens in Minneapolis and St. Paul, helping them form skills and habits that lead to success. The team designed and implemented a summer residential campus immersion experience, working with partners, youth and families to make the program relevant to young teens and stretch their views of themselves and college life. Team members were: Abdimalik Mohamed, Mohamed Farah, Grace Gbolo, Krista Gustafson, Barbara Kapala, Dau Mohamed, Jessica Russo, Jennifer Skuza, Tim Sheldon, Anthony Walker and Hui-Hui Wang.

Distinguished Leadership—David Werner
Werner served Extension as an educator, director and chief financial officer before his recent retirement. He launched and implemented effective budgeted processing and tools, bringing strong understanding of the value of research and education to financial stewardship. He has engaged colleagues and served as a fiscal agent with the highest standards.

Distinguished Friend of Extension—Steve Olson, poultry industry leader 
Olson leads four Minnesota poultry groups, which faced the devastation of highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2015. Along with association members, he worked tirelessly to inform the public and support the industry. Olson worked closely with Extension's poultry and food safety programs and played an instrumental role in creating a successful 4-H poultry program at the state and county fairs after the outbreak forced cancellation of animal exhibits.

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