• Executive Committee: Suzanne Driessen, President; Kathy Brandt, Immediate Past President; Megan Hruby, Treasurer; Kate Welshons, Secretary
  • Committee Chairs: Anita Harris Hering, Public Policy/Public Relations; Mary Schroeder, Awards/Membership; Donna Anderson, Professional Development
  • Administrative Liaison: Patricia Olson
  • Attendance: Donna, Kathy, Suzanne, Mary, Megan, Anita, Trish & Kate


  1. Call to order 
  2. Approval of agenda 
  3. Secretary’s report – Kate
  1. Roll call 
  2. Approval of Minutes, February 23, 2021 
  3. Minute reviewer for today’s meeting – Anita
  4. Treasurer’s Report – Megan
    1. Checking account balance: $5,157.89
    2. Savings account balance: $ 851.49
    3. National Endowment Contribution through 2020-2024 (Every year for 5 years)
      1. Voted to contribute to $200 per year over the next 5 years
    4. IRS filings — how to directions here
      1. Need to do this every year — Megan has filed for 2019, still needs to file for 2020 (separate from filing with MN Secretary of State every year)
  1. Administrative Liaison Discussion – Trish Olson
    1. Bylaw revision – question about addition of dissolution of organization section
      1. Bylaws committee will finish draft, send to board for review, then to membership to review and vote on the amendments
    2. Updates
      1. Consider NEAFCS session @ fall conference
      2. Trish is currently reviewing budget 
  2. Old business
    1. Membership Memo, March
    2. Membership Memo, April
    3. Membership Memo topics and author list
      1. Feel free to send ideas & articles to Suzanne if you would like them highlighted in the membership memo 
      2. Can potentially explore options to track readership rate 
  1. New business
    1. Minnesota affiliate member national activities – how to track
      1. Potentially send out reminder with monthly memos – input information into spreadsheet (or other tracking document) – awards committee will discuss and report back about options 
    2. Annual Filing with secretary of state – Kathy 
      1. Update by mid-May – Megan will work on this 
    3. Listserv ‘how to’ document – Kathy
      1. Share screen of document / need to add instructions for adding ‘owners’
        1. Kathy will work with IT on this
    4. NEAFCS-MN Officer-Committee Manual Updates – Kathy
      1. Working in conjunction with the Ad Hoc By-laws Committee
      2. Committee chairs will be notified when to begin updating their committee responsibilities and timeline listed in the NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Officers and Committees Manual. 

Committee Reports

Awards – Mary Schroeder 

  • Updates will be shared in May 
  • Awards will be announced in the fall by National – Mary looking into options to see if we can annonce locally before 

Membership – Kathy Brandt

  • Welcome to Morrine Omolo, Food Safety Extension Specialist, Department of Food Science and Nutrition! Find more information about Morrine in the April Member Memo.
  • Current Annual Membership = 16
  • Update membership material/flyer 
    • Looking for ways on how to connect with more potential members – if you have any creative ideas for materials, please connect with Kathy!

Professional Development – Donna Anderson 

  • Save the date flyer was just sent out – Wednesday August 4, 10am-1pm – mark your calendars!
  • Registration information to follow 
  • Discussion in process about honorarium amount for speaker as well as potential supplies that will be sent out to participants 

Public Policy/Public Relations – Anita Hering

  • Impact statements – were shared at PILD (April 12-14th, 2021) with Extension administration and on their virtual hill visits
  • March Living Well Campaign 2021
    • Letter to all members sent out on Feb. 25th to prepare for March LW month 
    • Social Media posts were developed and included in letter
    • News Release was sent out to membership
    • Zoom background created for members to use
    • Promotion for LW was given to membership, an article in FD’s  Family News, KASM radio (2x), 8 Wellness videos were sent to membership weeks 3 and 4 of March (Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Physical, Occupational, Emotional, Social and Spiritual Wellness)
    • LW grew legs in FD’s Family News and in Crookston Times, Park Rapids

By-laws Committee Ad Hoc – Suzanne, Kathy, Anita, Sam 

  • Ad-hoc committee will present amended by-laws to the board at the June meeting for review and approval
    • Vote on by-laws during annual meeting
  • Past President’s Report – Kathy Brandt
    • Annual session affiliate coordinator – Kathy will fulfill this role (thanks Kathy!)

Additional business 

  • Board will explore hosting Friday webinar, possibly during a SNAP-ED 10:00am designated webinar time slot, to encourage NEAFCS membership & impact statements/success stories 


Meeting adjourned @ 4:02pm.

April 2021 NEAFCS Minnesota Affiliate Member Memo

The 2021 NEAFCS Minnesota Affiliate Professional Development Day is August 4, 2021
By Donna Anderson, Professional Development Committee Chair

The Professional Development Committee team, Kelly Kunkel Joyce Serido, Megan Hruby, Lori Hendrickson and I invite you to mark August 4, 2021 from 9 AM-1 PM on your calendars. Our annual NEAFCS Minnesota Affiliate Professional Development Day is open to all members, retirees, and nonmembers. Presenters will highlight the silver lining and the gains made during COVID during the Over the COVID Rainbow session Zoom session. Topics will focus on the things we learned and relationships we built that maybe would not have happened had we not had COVID. Watch for registration details soon.

Date: Wednesday, August 4,2021

Location: Zoom

Theme: Over the COVID Rainbow: Silver lining and Sifting Through the Pieces

Time: 9 am – 1 pm


  • Art throughout our work; storytelling, evaluation, stress relief
  • Online classes; camera angles, lighting
  • Games over Zoom
  • Lunch/awards

Minnesota programs spotlighted in national NEAFCS impact statements

By Suzanne Driessen, 2021 President, MN-Affiliate

Woot! Woot! Once again Minnesota’s Extension programs were featured in the national 2021 NEAFCS impact statements ( Thanks for sharing your great work with the nation. Eight of our twelve submissions were included in six of the eleven impact statements.

In addition, Minnesota’s public policy and public Relations committee created a fact sheet with all of Minnesota’s impacts that were submitted to the national portal. You can view it here. I shared the Minnesota impact statement with Dean Durgan, the associate deans and government relations staff. I also shared our Minnesota impacts with Representative Tom Emmer’s agriculture staffer during a greet and meet Zoom session as part of the Public Institute Leadership Development Conference in April.

Programs featured in the national impact statements include:

Reflections from the Public Issues Leadership Conference

By Kate Welshons, Secretary, Minnesota Affiliate

Attending the Extension Public Issues Leadership Conference (PILD) was a great opportunity to learn how to develop effective communication and storytelling strategies that help demonstrate the impact and importance of Extension programming.

Here are a few of my key takeaways:

  • When speaking with elected officials, it’s important to emphasize the ways in which Extension aligns with county and state goals and that we are a thriving and collaborative entity that directly serves their constituents. 
  • Although planning and preparation are a key part of the process of speaking with elected officials, you must also expect to plan for contingencies and have a backup plan – certainly, something 2020 has taught us all! 
  • Preparing also includes researching your audience — learn more about who you are speaking with and how your ‘ask’ might align with the priorities of their office. 
  • Advocating on behalf of Extension does not begin or end with meeting with elected officials — it’s of equal importance that we build public support by attending open local government meetings, educate public policy decision-makers, and to continuously build coalitions. 
  • As Extension professionals, we must also pursue an ongoing commitment to leadership development. This will help strengthen our skills as storytellers and advocates for Extension programming.

Meet our newest member, Morrine Omolo

Morrine Omolo

Dr. Morrine Omolo joined the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FScN) as a Food Safety Extension Specialist in January 2021. Morrine holds a B.S. in Biochemistry, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science.  Morrine seeks to build relationships between the FScN department and local food producing communities in MN. In doing so, she hopes to learn first-hand the food safety related issues faced by specialty crop farmers and cottage food producers. This contextual knowledge will help the department explore ways and opportunities to address these concerns through broad scientific, technical, and educational competencies. Outside of work, Morrine enjoys travelling, building jigsaw puzzles and spending time with family. Welcome Morrine to Extension and the NEAFCS family.

National Professional Development Opportunities

The national Professional Development Committee and national board offer many opportunities and learn from colleagues across the nation. Check out these opportunities:

Consider a donation to the NEAFCS Silent Auction

The National Awards & Recognition: Sponsorship & Support Subcommittee has been planning for a fun and successful Silent Auction for 2021. The silent auction supports the Awards Fund. In 2021, during the NEAFCS Annual Session there will be an in-person auction access online for all to bid. Plan now for your silent auction donation:

  1. Choose items that can be easily mailed if not brought to the annual session,
  2. No alcohol donations, however, a gift card is okay
  3. If offering a mailed option, include mailing cost into your donation expense
  4. Limit any wearable donations to those items without sizing (scarves, aprons, jewelry, etc).

 If you have something you would like to donate to the silent auction, please email Kathy Brandt,

National Awards by the numbers

2020 was a busy program year for award applications Minnesota and National NEAFCS members. Here are the 2021 national awards by the numbers from the national awards Chair of Awards and Recognition Julie Garden-Robinson.

  • 632 applications were submitted in 2021
  • 473 applicants moved to regional/national judging
  • 32 affiliates had applicants.
  • 102 affiliate members volunteered to judge.
  • 60 affiliate members were randomly selected to judge
  • April 16: date for judges to have their scores back.
  • Early May: Applicants will be informed whether their application was judged a winning entry at the national level and/or regional level

NEAFCS-MN Membership Memo March 2021

February Board Key Highlights

By Kate Welshons, Secretary

  • Interested in becoming a mentor for new members? Contact Kathy Brandt for more information,
  • The Professional Development committee has been hard at work planning this year’s event — thank you to everyone for your feedback and input via Jam board! It will be a virtual event. Looking at first or second Wednesday in August.
  • Twelve impact reports were submitted to National. Thanks to all for your hard work — Minnesota is well represented!
  • Kate Welshons and Suzanne Driessen received scholarship to attend the virtual Public Issues Leadership Development Conference April 12-13, 2021. Stay tuned for updates!
  • If you are planning to submit to the Journal of NEAFCS, please note the submission deadline is April 15, 2021. Portal here.

Why I give?

By Suzanne Driessen, NEAFCS Minnesota Affiliate President

I took our national NEAFCS President Dianne Gertson, President’s Charity challenge for every NEAFCS member to donate $21 in 2021 to the National Endowment. Why did I do it? As a member, I have benefited from the use of these funds in many ways. As your affiliate President, I received a scholarship to attend the Extension Leadership Virtual Conference in February. This funds also support registration fee waivers for national award winners. Sure, I pay annual membership dues, but what I have gotten back through scholarships have far outweighed my investment. This is why I give annually to the NEAFCS National Endowment.

Join me and other members across the nation and, donate $21 in 2021 to the President’s Charity. Use this form. Choose the option “$21 for 2021” when donating. Contributions donated through this option will go to the General Endowment Fund.

Joint Council of Extension Professionals – Extension Leadership Conference Reflections

By Megan Hruby, NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Treasurer

February 10th-12th I had the opportunity to attend the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Extension Leadership Conference on behalf of NEAFCS via the online platform Whova. This was my first national conference I’ve attended since starting Extension 7 years ago. Some descriptive words I use to describe my experience are innovation, networking, technology, digital footprint, apps, community, support, COVID, and “flawsome”.

I felt supported by the Extension community during this conference and it was refreshing to connect and network with professionals from other states, even though it was over zoom. The platform, Whova, was a great conference platform. I was able to plan and organize my day and choose what programs and speakers I wanted to learn from. A huge bonus to being virtual was that some of the sessions were recorded so I could go back and watch at a later time.

I learned a lot about using different apps that I can use during an educational program. Everyone was willing to share information and what worked well during their programs. I have tried new technology during classes and meetings and it really adds a fun element.

The last day, NEAFCS held a meeting and that discussion was helpful. I also felt supported by our organization. They asked questions like how our organization can help you in the future with broadband and reaching audiences that have limited access and other things on our radar.

Overall, this conference was a great experience! I appreciate the opportunity and scholarship support from National to attend the JCEP Extension Leadership Conference as a first-timer.

May I have your autograph?

By Suzanne Driessen, NEAFCS-MN Affiliate President

One of things I love about NEAFCS is sharing and celebrating our members accomplishments. I proudly share and congratulate members Mary Caskey, Becky Hagen Jokela, Lori Hendrickson and Kelly Kunkel published work in peer-reviewed journals. Creating intellectual work through the scholarship of application and teaching and engagement and sharing with peers and experts in the field is to be congratulated and celebrated! Recently published work includes:

  • Mary Caskey and team. TIME to Eat Healthy and Move More: A Parent/Child Curriculum. 2020. Journal of the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. Check out page 60 in the 2020 Journal.
  • Becky Hagen Jokela and Lori Hendrickson. 2021. Reflections on COVID-19: Changing Delivery Methods in the Midst of A Pandemic. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences. More here.
  • Kelly Kunkel and team. Providing menu and shopping toolkits to improve food access and security during a pandemic. 2020. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Read article here.

Fun Facts: Quasi-Endowment Fund 8094

By Megan Hruby, NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Treasurer

Madonna Monette, Finance Director attended our February Executive Board meeting. She gave a fascinating and informative overview of our University of Minnesota Foundation quasi-endowment fund 8094. I want to share some fun facts about the fund with you.

  • Fund was established in March 2010
  • Fund purpose: Supports the growth and development of U of M Extension Educators. Funds will be used to pursue professional activities for scholarly work and maintains the wellbeing of families and communities in Minnesota
  • Annual spending is permitted up to 20% of the prior year’s cash balance
  • Fund is subject to market volatility-investment returns have been declining since 2018
  • In our current budget we have proposed to use $400 from the Quasi-Endowment fund for an professional development opportunities for members.
  • In 2002, monies from the fund was tapped to support registration for six member to attend the  NEAFCS Annual Virtual Session
  • Terms that may be used when describing this fund: Endowment, Foundation, Quasi-Endowment, “Q” Funds, UMF
  • Irina Cherevatsky has been assigned as the new Center Account and will be working with our affiliate

NEAFCS Minnesota Actively Promoting the Living Well Campaign

By Anita Harris Hering, Public Policy/Public Relations Chair

A CALL TO ACTION was emailed on Feb. 25, 2021 to all the MN Affiliate members regarding March Living Well month, asking members to   become involved.  Here are some ways members have taken action steps to get the word out.

The Living Well logo with the slogan, “Raising Kids, Eating Right, Spending Smart, Living Well” has been used alongside email signatures, and some have been using the Zoom background created for MN members in their NEAFCS online meetings and gatherings.

 MN Affiliate Public Policy/Public Relations provided 34 Social Media post ideas along with the hashtags of #Minnesota, #ItStartsWithUs, and #LivingWellMonth to membership, and thus far 3 tweets from MN Affiliate have been shared nationally on Twitter.

Our Living Well News release grew legs and was picked up by the Crookston Times on March 10, 2021.

An article was submitted in UMN Extension Family News with a downloadable journal page.

Living Well  radio spots were recorded for KASM radiobySuzanne Driessen, aired the week of March 8th, and by Anita Harris Hering, airing the week of March 22nd.

NEW this year from National Public Affairs-Advocacy subcommittee was a colorful March calendar with Living Well ideas to use in teaching and given out within the community.

In addition, National NEAFCS launched 8 Living Well videos. To promote personal wellness here in MN, each Affiliate member is receiving one video a day by email during the last two weeks of March. 

What has worked well for you to promote Living Well to your friends, communities, and colleagues?

NEAFCS Board Meeting Minutes – February 23, 2021


  • Executive Committee: Suzanne Driessen, President; Kathy Brandt, Immediate Past President; Megan Hruby, Treasurer; Kate Welshons, Secretary
  • Committee Chairs: Anita Harris Hering, Public Policy/Public Relations; Mary Schroeder, Awards/Membership; Donna Anderson, Professional Development
  • Administrative Liaison: Patricia Olson
  • Guest: Madonna Monette to discuss NEAFCS UMF Fund, 8094 from 3:00-3:30 pm
  • Attendance: Suzanne, Megan, Kate, Trish, Donna, & Madonna (special guest!)


  1. Call to order
  2. Approval of agenda
  3. Secretary’s report – Kate
    1. Roll call 
    2. Approval of Minutes, December 17, 2020
    3. Minute reviewer for today’s meeting
  4. Treasurer’s Report – Megan
    1. Checking account balance: $5,007.89
    2. Savings account balance: $$851.47
  5. Administrative Liaison Update – Trish Olson
    1. issues of broadband internet access – what is extension’s response? what is extension’s responsibility? 
    2. opportunity for covid education and addressing vaccine hesitancy – usda nifa & CDC
      1. we will learn more in the coming weeks about what role extension could possibly play 
  1. UMF Fund 8094 Orientation and Q & A (3-3:30 pm) – Madonna Monette
    1. gift fund at the foundation 
      1. 4 different types of funds
      2. neafcs is quasi-endowment

Committee Reports

Awards – Mary Schroeder – on vacation, emailed update:

  • 8 award applications in 5 categories.
  • 4 retirees and 2 active members for judges

Membership – Kathy Brandt

  • Current membership: Annual=15, National Life Membership=1.
  • Mentor program
    • Looking for volunteers to serve as mentors for Sam Roth and Joyce Serido – let Kathy know if you’re interested
    • will provide a guide/checklist to mentors (being developed)
  • Membership promotion video – update by Anita and Megan on behalf of the committee working on this including Kelly K. (Thanks Anita and Megan!)  

Professional Development – Donna Anderson 

  • Donna will connect with Trina to discuss possible NEAFCS breakout session at FD professional development day
  • MN interest Jam board survey results – members expressing interest in attending online
  • first or second wednesday in august   

Public Policy/Public Relations – Anita Hering

  • Dining Out monthly promotion in December included Social media and 2x a week emails to membership
  • Impact Statements – 12 were submitted
    • Categories submitted included
      • COVID-19 Pandemic response (2)
      • Disaster Preparedness Education (1)
      • Food Safety (3)
      • Financial Management (2)
      • Food and Nutrition (3)
      • Community Health and Wellness (1)
  • Living Well monthly promotion in March 
    • Working on promotion in Catalyst, email and radio spots

By-laws Committee Ad Hoc – Suzanne, Kathy, Anita, Sam Roth

  • Committee met and will independently review bylaws and compare with national and other organizations
  • 2nd meeting is scheduled in March
  • President’s report
    • National updates – Leadership ladder and NEAFCS Leadership Experience Applications due March 15, 2021. Need mentees and mentors. Topics include: Leading Self: Working in your Strengths, Leading in your Community: Working with Authentic Relationships, Leading in your Affiliate: Working as an Extension Professional, Leading in NEAFCS: Working at the Next Level. 
      • President charity – $21 in 2021 contribution to NEAFCS endowment challenge. 
      • 2021 Journal of NEAFCS Submission Portal deadline April 15, 2021
    • Ideas to track and highlight MN members involvement with national committees or activities, ie. Abstract reviewers
    • JCEP highlights with Megan
    • PILD April 12-13, 2021 Affiliate representatives – Kate Welshons and Suzanne Driessen
    • NEAFCS Membership Monthly Memo topic and theme schedule
  • Past President’s Report – Kathy Brandt
    • nothing at this time 🙂 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:00pm. 

Minutes by Kate Welshons, NEAFCS MN Affiliate Secretary

February 2021 NEAFCS-MN MembershipMemo

Loving what we have already accomplished

As a member of NEAFCS and its Minnesota Affiliate, you are the heart of our organizations that keeps us healthy and strong. You are active and engaged professionals! Here are examples of membership contributions that keeps us pumping:

  • 100% participation on affiliate committees
  • 13 impact statements submitted from13 members in 7categories
  • Mary Caskey and team shared best practices with My TIME to Eat Healthy and Move More (My TIME) program published article in Journal of National Extension of Family and Consumer Sciences, Vol 15, 2020
  • 8 award applications submitted

2021 JCEP Extension Leadership conference reflections

By Suzanne Driessen, Minnesota Affiliate President

Megan Hruby and I received national NEAFCS scholarship to attend the 2021 Joint Council of Extension Professionals Leadership Conference. Below are my reflections of the conference. Look for Megan’s reflection article in the March memo.

Leaders from Extension’s seven professional organizations collectively sponsored and modeled digital leadership with this virtual conference. The Extension Leadership Conference app was easy to use and filled with multiple opportunities to learn and engage with the 460 attendees. It was almost like being there! The breakout sessions were packed with useful, practical information and tips to further shape my leadership journey. What I loved most about this conference is the chance to learn and interact from others across disciplines and the country. The challenges and success stories of programming digitally during a pandemic were great examples of how Extension staff and faculty lead by doing. What I found most helpful was the wealth of information and resources to learn, lead and teach digitally. Some favorites include,—to create free interactive games and quizzes,—to create polls, word clouds and games with leaderboards, and—to create memorable graphics. Finally, attending this conference inspires me to be brave and try new things as a leader. As Erik Qualman, our keynote speaker on digital leadership suggests, “It’s progress, not perfection.” I highly recommend this professional development opportunity, as the current President of JCEPP shared, “Lifelong learners and leaders are synonymous. If nothing new is learned than nothing can be shared.”

NEAFCS Board Meeting Minutes – December 17, 2020

1:30 – 3:30pm


  • Executive Committee: Suzanne Driessen, President; Kathy Brandt, Immediate Past President; Megan Hruby, Treasurer; Kate Welshons, Secretary
  • Committee Chairs: Anita Harris Hering, Public Policy/Public Relations; Mary Schroeder, Awards/Membership; Donna Anderson, Professional Development
  • Administrative Liaison: Patricia Olson

Present: Suzanne Driessen, Kathy Brandt, Megan Hruby, Kate Welshons, Anita Harris, Hering, Mary Schroeder, & Patricia Olson 

The Meeting of the NEAFCS MN Affiliate Executive Board meeting was called to order by President Suzanne Driesen 1:34 pm on December 17, 2020 via Zoom.


  • Welcome and Introductions 
    • Intros – how long you’ve been in Extension, NEAFCS, & one thing you’re excited about 
      1. Kathy 29 years with Extension, excited about the website
      2. Kate – 7 years with Extension, excited to get more involved with the affiliate and to attend the annual conference again 
      3. Megan 7 years with Extension, excited about new members, & joining the awards committee
      4. Mary – chairs awards & membership, 21.5 years at Extension, new members
      5. Anita – chair – awards – always excited to work with this group!
      6. Trish – been with Extension since 1987, excited about continued and new relationships
      7. Suzanne — 23 years, excited to have more connection with national affiliate 
  • Orientation – Kathy Brandt
  • Administrative Liaison Update – Trish Olson
  • Communication with members plan 
  • NEAFCS grant opportunity for innovative projects discussion (applications due January 31, amounts range from $300-$3000. Proposals must focus on innovative ideas that benefit NEAFCS and its members and/or promote the profession of Family and Consumer Sciences in one or more of the designated areas of Leadership/Professional Development, Awards & Recognition, Public Issues, Diversity,)
    • 2 or more NEAFCS members who want to take on a project — it does need to be completed within a year 
    • Grant $ cannot be used for salaries or stipends
    • Needs to be an innovative idea 
    • Proposals 
      1. Public relations
      2. Diversity issue – racial equity & diversity taskforce
      3. Professional development day – can bring bigger name speaker to affiliate day 
      4. Must submit proposal by January 31
      5. Let our membership know – highlight ideas HOWEVER – let’s revisit this next year as no ideas are really rising to the top to apply this year 

Committee Reports

Awards – Mary Schroeder

  • Due to national on March 15, Mary will be in touch with the national office – can we share with Extension during our program conference?
  • Mary has sent out email encouraging others to join so they are able to submit for an award
  • Who is eligible? You DO need to be a member in order to apply & have your name listed on the award 

Membership – Kathy Brandt

  • Welcome to new member Sam Roth! 
    • Was a member in North Dakota 
  • Joyce Serido – has also joined as a new member 
  • Who can we identify as a new mentor? 
    • Let Kathy know if you are interested 🙂
    • Mentor is to be there for that person, to answer questions & to help them feel connected as a new member
    • Not a tough task, it’s fun!
  • Revisit membership brainstorm meeting 11/8/19, for next steps. Do we want to do short videos about the benefits of membership?
    • Think about whether or not it makes sense to create our own video to promote joining 
  • Member benefits video,,  President Dianne Gertson (TX) message
  • Suzanne – has ideas from SOPHE that could be shared 

Professional Development – Donna Anderson (unable to attend.)

  • The FD professional development is working on job descriptions for SNAP-Ed educators. Donna is working on some training on Photovoice which will be used in two pilot programs I am working on. 
  • Thinking of Mental Wellness, both for participants and ourselves wellness as a topic for the next conference.  Does anyone know of speakers that would work for this? Other ideas for topics or themes? 
    • Mental wellness was done as a topic ~ 2 years ago 
    • Trish will share catalyst with Kathy & Suzanne – especially re: recruiting volunteers from FD day in spring 2021 — could request a breakout session that relates to NEAFCS — i.e. how do we write impact statements? Kathy & Suzanne could do something about food safety? Membership promotion?
    • Continue to consider additional topics 
  • Annual session proposal due January 31, 2021:
    • Suzanne encourages us all to submit a proposal! 
  • 2021 Annual Session Reviewer Sign-up deadline January 31, 2021 reviewers per state to review 5 proposals each, 10-15 minutes per proposals via online portal done first 2 weeks in March. Webinar: How to Review a Proposal, February 2, 2021 @ 12:00 PM,  
  • 2021 Journal of NEAFCS Submission Portal Opens January 1
    • Mary has submitted in the past

Public Policy/Public Relations – Anita Hering

  • Met twice already 
  • Discussed goals for upcoming year 
  • Suzanne asked other groups about impact statements — did they collect from members? Or from all programs? Strong feelings last year that it should be extended to anyone from FD 
  • The committee will request & review impact statements & identify potential awards that individuals would be eligible for (good marketing piece for new membership!) 

By-laws Committee Ad Hoc – Suzanne & Kathy

  • Will revisit updating by-laws, so committee chairs would also attend & have voting rights

Future Board Meetings 

  • Suzanne & Kate will get something scheduled for future meetings ASAP

Executive Committee Officer Business

  • NEAFCS officer manual – Suzanne encourages us all to review — the manual provides good info & timelines 
  • Check out the NEAFCS shared drive to learn more! 
  • Key highlights from meeting 

Secretary’s Report – Kate Welshons

Treasurer’s Report – Megan Hruby – Budget 

  • Checking Account-$6,365.64
  • Savings Account-$851.45
  • Endowment-Total Fund Balance $12,117.00
  • Spendable amount as of Oct 2020-$161.15
  • Will mail dues tomorrow 12/18/2020-11 total national members=$1,100
    • Exploring options for online payments
    • Megan will reach out to National to discuss options 

President’s Report – Suzanne Driessen

  • Annual affiliate report and officer roster submitted to national – January 1 – December 31 – Suzanne has drafted that up
  • National Updates from Vanessa Hoines, Central Regional Director
    • Call to feature members in the monthly NEAFCS eNetwork newsletter via a short video clip (30 secs to 1 minute) reflecting on one of the following questions/statements? What has NEAFCS done for your career? My favorite benefit of my NEAFCS membership is… This is what NEAFCS means to me… How have you used resources/information from NEAFCS webinars or Annual Conference? Here is an example: “Hello, my name is Kate Shumaker from Ohio and I am currently the NEAFCS National Secretary.  Learning about the _____ program at the 2019 NEAFCS Annual Conference motivated me to…” Sign Up Genius link provides opportunities from now until October 2021.  Once signed up an email will provide details about recording and submitting their video.  
    • Scholarships Available for JCEP ELC: JCEP Extension Leadership Conference is scheduled for February 10-12.2021 via a virtual platform.  Affiliate Presidents can apply for a free registration, initially each affiliate will receive one scholarship to cover the registration.  Remaining scholarships will be awarded on a first come first serve basis to first timers.  Deadline January 11, 2021.
      • Suzanne is attending
      • We should also get another affiliate scholarship 
    • 2021 Call for Proposals for Annual Session – Abstract to present a Concurrent Session or Showcase of Excellence (Poster) November 2-5, 2021, Grand Rapids, MI. See Annual Session page for selection criteria and link to portal.
    • 2021 Public Issues Leadership Development Conference (PILD) April 11-14, 2021. First time scholarships available. 
    • Hyatt Regency Hotel Crystal City, Arlington, VA

Past President’s Report – Kathy Brandt

  • Recommends that we continue using the blog as a communications tool rather than developing a Google Site at this time.

Additional business 

  • Anita will explore options for retirement gifts. 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:31pm. 

Minutes by Kate Welshons, NEAFCS MN Affiliate Secretary

Reviewed by Suzanne Driessen, January 4, 2021

Reviewed by Kathy Brandt, January 5, 2021.

Key Highlights to send to membership via email 

NEAFCS-MN Membership Memo January 2021

Welcome new, returning and life members

As we welcome in 2021, I would like to welcome our new, returning and life NEAFCS members. Welcome to three new members, Sam Roth, Trish Olson and Joyce Serido! So glad to have you aboard! Welcome back to 11 returning members: Donna Anderson, Kathy Brandt, Sara Croymans, Suzanne Driessen, Lori Hendrickson, Anita Hering, Megan Hruby, Anna Sneltjes, Kelly Kunkel, Mary Schroeder and Kate Welshons. We welcome Becky Hagen Jokela and Mary Caskey as life members for a total of 21.

All active members have access to our shared drive on Google drive here. On this site, you will find board meeting minutes, committee reports, history and everything NEAFCS Minnesota. Join and check out the committee list and members here. 

I would like to introduce your board of officers for 2021. As a member, we want you to engage, ask questions, provide suggestions and input.

  • Executive Committee: Suzanne Driessen, President; President-elect, Vacant; Kathy Brandt, Immediate Past President; Megan Hruby, Treasurer; Kate Welshons, Secretary
  • Committee Chairs:
    • Anita Harris Hering, Public Policy/Public Relations
    • Mary Schroeder, Awards/Membership
    • Donna Anderson, Professional Development
  • Administrative Liaison: Trish Olson

Look for board meeting highlights from Secretary Kate to keep current about the many opportunities NEAFCS provides. Again, as your current President, I am humbled to serve in this role and know with your input and involvement it’s going to be a great year.

Cheers to 2021!

Suzanne Driessen, NEAFCS MN-Affiliate President, 2021

Membership checklist to get the most return on your investment

How do you get the most return on your NEAFCS membership investment? Here is a list to help you access the many benefits of membership.

  1. Follow our NEAFCS Minnesota blog to get email updates when something is posted. Sign up here:
  2. Use the member only listserv to connect and engage with members. New members receive an email to accept the invitation to join the list:
  3. Submit a project proposal for a NEAFCS mini grant without going through the University grants program. You just need two people, an innovative idea that benefits NEAFCS and its members and/or promote the profession of Family and Consumer Sciences of Leadership/Professional Development, Awards & Recognition, Public Issues or Diversity. Applications due annually on January 31st. More here.
  4. An excellent opportunity to share your work nationally in a scholarly fashion is to submit an abstract to present at the national NEAFCS conference or via monthly professional development webinars. More here.
  5. Receive state and national recognition and apply for an award. Award applications are due for Minnesota members by February 15th here.
  6. Spend some time on the re-designed national website A great way to connect with your colleagues around the nation is through the Member Center.
  7. Finally, record a short 1-2 minute video to share your story as an Extension family and consumer science professional. See examples here. The first person to send a video to Suzanne, will receive a prize. You can also sign up to have your video shared via the national newsletter,

Member Spotlight: Kate Welshons and Dr. Joyce Serido

Kate Welshons, MPH, MSW

Kate has worked for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development since 2014. Her work focuses on adapting research-based curricula and resources into online learning environments and exploring innovative ways to increase access to educational opportunities using technology. Kate supports various distance-learning initiatives in areas including SNAP-Ed, diabetes prevention, parent education, and opioid use prevention. Check out Real Life, Good Food for recipes, cooking tips, and physical activity ideas for a healthier life. 

Kate joined NEAFCS in 2019. She served on the Professional Development Committee in 2020, elected as secretary for 2021-2022 and is an active member of the Public Policy/Public Relations committee.

In her free time, Kate loves baking, yoga, reading, and long walks with her 110 lb. dog, Tina. 

Joyce Serido, PhD, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Family Social Science,  University of Minnesota

Welcome new member Joyce Serido! Dr. Serido studies financial behavior at the intersection of family and personal well-being. She received a PhD in family studies and human development from the University of Arizona and an MBA in finance from Seton Hall University. As an Extension Specialist, she works with educators and practitioners to develop materials on the connections between family, finances, and emerging adult well-being. She is the principal investigator of Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS), a longitudinal study of young adults and their finances. In addition, Dr. Serido is the Editor in Chief for the Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Learn more about Dr. Serido here: Serido | Family Social Science | U of M (

NEAFCS-MN November Memo


November 10, 2020

NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Annual Meeting and Election of Officers Held

To say it’s been an unusual year is an understatement. A year ago as we launched into our work as NEAFCS-MN, I know that I was clueless about the dramatic changes that lay ahead. How and where we work has greatly changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has truly changed the world. Though many things have changed, many things remain the same. What comes to my mind is the small and mighty group of individuals who together are NEAFCS-MN! Thank you to each of you for your contributions – serving as an officer and/or on a committee, saying yes to run for an office, attending our professional development day, applying for an award. These are ways that our collective contributions make NEAFCS-MN better, stronger and more relevant to our profession and our professional growth. It truly takes all of us, ‘our village,’ to carry out the goals and mission of this association. It has been my privilege to serve as your president, to work with each of you and be part of the village! Thank you for the opportunity!

Many highlights of our year are summarized in the committee reports in the NEAFCS-MN Annual Report 2019-2020. Our committees have been very active and as you will read, have made significant contributions to our association. Thank you to all committee chairs and members for your time, energy and commitment! You are valued members of our village!

Congratulations to our incoming officers: Suzanne Driessen – President; Kate Welshons – Secretary; and Megan Hruby – Treasurer. I will serve as past president and look forward to continued good work with the officers and all members!

Thank you one and all for the online ‘group greeting’ card and the Caribou Coffee gift card! They made my day – two days in fact – receiving the online greeting with your message was a day brightener and opening the mail and finding the thank you note and gift card made me smile again…and go get a great cup of coffee!

All the best, Kathy Brandt, Past President

2020 NEAFCS-MN Virtual Annual Business Meeting, October 26, 2020. Missing at the time of the screenshot were Anita Hering and Kate Welshons.

Thank You Officers and Administrative Liaison!

thank you heart text

Thank you to the NEAFCS-MN Executive Board: Kelly Kunkel – Past President; Suzanne Driessen – President Elect; Sara Croymans – Secretary; and Megan Hruby – Treasurer. We appreciate your commitment, time, talent and work through the year! It takes a village to get it done! Special thanks to Sara and Kelly as they move off the board. We appreciate all of your contributions and look forward to your continued involvement in NEAFCS-MN!

Thank you to Trish Olson, Extension Center for Family Development Associate Dean, for her active involvement and serving as our administrative liaison! We are delighted to have you in the village!

We’re Going to Miss You, Becky and Mary!

Congratulations, Becky!

Two of our colleagues and members have announced they will retire in the upcoming months.

Becky Hagen Jokela, Extension Professor and Educator, Family Resiliency, and NEAFCS member since 1994. She received the Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and the Continued Excellence Award in 2012.

Congratulations, Mary!

Mary Caskey, Associate Program Director, Health and Nutrition Programs, SNAP Education and NEAFCS member since 2005. She received the Distinguished Service Award in 2016 and the Continued Excellence Award in 2019.

We want to thank Becky and Mary for the many contributions and roles they have filled as active members and look forward to them continuing their involvement through Life membership. All the best to you both, on the next chapter! Enjoy every moment!

2020 NEAFCS Annual Session Scholarship Recipients Follow Up

The 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session was held virtually. To encourage more participation from our affiliate, the Board brought forth a motion to utilize available professional development monies through the NEAFCS-MN Quasi-Endowment Fund. An Ad Hoc Scholarship Committee was invited to determine criteria, scholarship amounts and timeline. Thank you to Mary Caskey, Lori Hendrickson and Megan Hruby for working on the specifics. Scholarship recipients included Megan Hruby, Lori Hendrickson, Kate Welshons, Becky Hagen Jokela, Kelly Kunkel and Mary Schroeder. A total of ten members and Trish Olson, administrative liaison, attended the Annual Session. Following are reports from scholarship recipients about their experience.

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the 2020 National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science (NEAFCS) Virtual Annual Session on September 14-16. I was thrilled to be able to attend virtually and take part in the many informative sessions. The best part of the conference for me was listening to the keynote speaker, Dr. Dave Schramm. The topic was, Happy Hacks for More Positivity and Productivity Amidst the COVID Craziness. Perfect timing and exactly what I needed to hear. I think he would be an outstanding presenter for our Extension program conference. I also attended several sessions on nutrition and aging, and on diversity, areas I would like to see family development grow. Please contact me with any questions.

Sincerely, Kelly Kunkel

Thank you for the funds to attend the NEAFCS Annual Conference. I appreciated that it was a virtual conference this year so I was able to attend even though it was the beginning of the school year. My favorite session was the pre-session on Baking Trends 2020 as it was interesting to learn about the baking competition and receive a digital cookbook with the winning recipes. They also discussed the importance of using a thermometer when baking breads (quick and yeast) for the best results. I’m looking forward to this winter to try out the techniques that were shared. I also enjoyed the Diversity in Early Childhood as I learned different ideas on how MN Extension can better address diversity in early childhood. This will align well with the 16 hour Equity in ECE Settings training I’m attending in October (sponsored by MDH).

Although I missed the atmosphere of an in-person conference, a virtual conference had some advantages. I liked being able to go back and watch the videos of sessions that I was unable to attend. I also liked the flexibility to come and go from sessions without disrupting others in attendance. I had started in one breakout session that wasn’t what I was expecting so as able to leave that breakout and hop into another one without any doors slamming.

Thanks again for the opportunity to attend – Mary Schroeder  

Thank you so much for the funding to attend the NEAFCS Annual Session this year.  This year I was able to attend a variety of sessions including, some of our colleagues across the nation that are implementing University of Minnesota programs in different ways, as well as similar content that we are involved with shared through different methodologies. I believe that the conference provides us an opportunity to view research and practice across FACS disciplines and think differently about programs across the nation.

Probably the most interesting sessions for me this year were those that included different approaches to substance use education similar to our opioid work. Both prevention and intervention educational strategies were shared.  I was also interested to attend the Rent Smart workshop from the University of Wisconsin Extension.  Our RentWise program was born from Rent Smart and although they still have commonalities, I find it interesting that Minnesota and Wisconsin took very different approaches in sharing their educational materials.

 It is so important for educators in Minnesota to continue to be involved in NEAFCS and I appreciate the opportunity! Lori Hendrickson

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the virtual 2020 NEAFCS Conference, “Experience Life Elevated”, on September 14-16, 2020!  I truly appreciated the experience to learn at the national level:  Research, evidence-based resources, content updates, networking, etc.

I also appreciated the opportunity to accept two awards for the RentWise Curriculum, during the awards ceremony:  Educational Curriculum Package and the Extension Housing Outreach Award.

My key conference takeaways:

  • Happy Hacks opening presentation:  The importance of nurturing positivity and productivity in uncertain times, affecting us in both our personal and work lives.  A research focus of seeking happiness affects our brain and influences our lives.
  • CFPB Resource session:  A review and update of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s variety of resources.  The free resources can be ordered and shared with our audiences.  New consumer friendly financial booklets are available on savings, credit, and budgeting.
  • Importance of “Beating the Winter Blues”:  To consider that some individuals are truly affected by the SAD disorder, which affects their mood and wellbeing in life.  It was helpful to reflect upon the signs, symptoms and risk considerations.  Mild depression can affect many individuals, especially in our climate.  There are coping strategies which may help, such as mindfulness, light therapy, etc.  Also, “digital detoxing” may be helpful for individuals.  It is important to take care of one’s self.
  • One of the key learnings from the conference, reflected the importance of enhancing “wellness” in the workplace and home life.  A number of the sessions addressed topics such as financial and health wellness, impact of silence, senior health, mindfulness, etc.
  • Resiliency Game based learning.  Introduction to an active learning, resiliency- board game.  New awareness of a teaching resource.

Thank you! Becky Hagen Jokela

nature red forest leaves
Happy Fall Y’all!!

NEAFCS Board Meeting Minutes – September 29, 2020

Present: Kathy Brandt, Sara Croymans, Megan Hruby, Kelly Kunkel

Absent: Suzanne Driessen & Trish Olson (Kathy & Trish determined there were not pressing agenda items requiring Trish to participate.)

The Meeting of the NEAFCS MN Affiliate Executive Board meeting was called to order by President Kathy Brandt at 11:09 am on September 29, 2020 via Zoom.

Secretary’s Report – Sara

Treasurer’s Report – Megan

  • Checking balance – $5,133.83
  • Savings balance – $851.44
  • Two checks have recently cleared – Mary Caskey for $132.50 for Professional Development Virtual meeting gifts and $200 for NEAFCS Scholarship
  • Megan was able to connect with Sue Young & received this information about the Endowment fund: 
    • “University side balance” – $1,339.74
    • Foundation Side- $10,907.30 
    • Total Endowment funds: $12,247.04
    • Fiscal year beginning balance – $11,117.10
    • $700 from the Endowment fund was used for NEAFCS Annual Session scholarships
  • Megan will request a Zoom  meeting with Trish Olson, Sue Young, Kathy Brandt, Suzanne Driessent (President elect) and herself to develop a clear understanding of the Endowment fund, perhaps resulting in a tutorial for our reference; and determine which numbers we need to have access to and how frequently we need those figures (ie. quarterly, bi-yearly, etc). 
  • The Treasurer’s report will stand subject to audit. 

President’s Report – Kathy

  • 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session – 10 members and Trish attended
    • Feedback/comments – there were some technology issues. good sessions.
    • Silent Auction – thank you to Kelly for coordinating our MN Affiliate donation. Our donation (books) received a top bid of $50.  Total funds raised was $2,692.
  • September-October blog – NEAFCS Annual Session recap / member renewals / new member recruitment / NEAFCS-MN Annual meeting details / etc.

Old Business

  • NEAFCS-MN Quasi-Endowment Scholarships 
    • Recipients of the scholarships to participate in the NEAFCS Annual Session received accounting details from Trish and can submit a brief summary of learning to Trish and the Executive Board. 
    • Kathy Brandt will check back on expectations laid out for scholarship recipients and will follow up with recipients.
  • NEAFCS-MN Annual Meeting preparation – 
    • The Annual Meeting is scheduled for  October 26, 2:30 – 4:30 pm via ZOOM
    • Past President Kelly K will lead the nominating committee to seek Officer candidates for President-elect and Secretary. At a future board meeting we will discuss with Trish membership and leadership opportunities and obstacles. 
    • Budget – actual and proposed for next year – Kathy will send an email to all committee chairs for input on the proposed budget for next year by a certain date; she will also invite all board members to a dedicated meeting to develop the proposed budget that will be taken to the membership for approval at the annual meeting. 
    • Suzanne is leading the development of the Annual Report and has requested written reports from committees and president. The board will work on the current and proposed budget.
    • The board requested the Awards Committee review the Award policy indicating team members listed need to be members. 
    • Membership drive – nothing formal this be implemented this year, rather the board encourages current members to invite potential members to join. For next year, consider doing a membership drive offering incentives for participation and new members. 
    • Kathy is working on updating the Officers and Committee Manual.  She will request review and updates for each officer and each committee.  

Committee Reports – No committee reports were given. Suzanne Driessen has emailed all committee chairs to submit information for the Annual Meeting report on this google doc. 

New Business – There was no new business discussed.

Dates to Remember

  • NEAFCS-MN Annual Meeting, October 26, 2:30 – 4:30 pm via ZOOM

M/C/C (Sara C. /Megan H) to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:38. 

Minutes by Sara Croymans, NEAFCS MN Affiliate Secretary

NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Quasi-Endowment Fund Scholarship Available

2020 NEAFCS-MN Affiliate Quasi-Endowment Fund Scholarship Criteria and Application

WHO: All NEAFCS-MN members including Active (national), MN Active (state) and Life members are eligible to apply for scholarship funds to attend the virtual 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session.

WHAT/WHEN: Originally planned for Snowbird, Utah, however due to COVID-19 the 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session will be held virtually, September 14 – 16, 2020. All conference details are accessible 

HOW this promotes professional development and supports NEAFCS-MN: The NEAFCS Annual Session is an opportunity to increase the ability of attendees to access and utilize relevant, research and evidence-based resources to address current and emerging issues and promote lifelong learning; showcase excellence in innovative programs to meet the needs of individuals, families and communities in Minnesota; and provide networking opportunities that nourish new partnerships on multi-state and national levels. It is a tremendous opportunity to learn subject matter and new approaches for program delivery; share the great work done in Minnesota which builds credibility/awareness with peers within the state and across the country; and participate in national level decisions related to this organization.

CRITERIA – to apply you must meet one of the following criteria:  

  1. Current Active (national) members and Life (national and state) members are eligible for up to $100 in scholarship funds to attend the virtual 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session.                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  2. Current MN Active (state) members are eligible for up to $200 in scholarship funds to attend the virtual 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session.

APPLICATION: The application deadline is Friday, August 14, 2020. Send your email application to Kathy Brandt,

Include the following: 

  1. Name
  2. Phone number
  3. Current NEAFCS-MN membership level
  4. Years in NEAFCS-MN
  5. Tell us why you’re interested in attending the 2020 NEAFCS Annual Session


  • The NEAFCS Annual Session registration fee needs to be paid out-of-pocket. 
  • You will be reimbursed for the amount of the scholarship through the NEAFCS-MN Quasi Endowment fund via a check. 
  • For the remainder of the registration fee, use your personal funds or professional/staff development funds. Check with your supervisor.
  • You will be notified by Tuesday, August 18, regarding your scholarship award.

Should you have any questions, contact Mary Caskey, Lori Hendrickson, Megan Hruby or Kathy Brandt, Ad Hoc Scholarship Committee.