2015-16 Officer Candidates

Sharon Powell Staff PhotoCandidate for President-Elect: Sharon Powell

Hello! My name is Sharon Powell and I have been a member of NEAFCS for three years. Within the MN organization, I have served as Metro Area Representative; interim Secretary; and co-chair of the Awards and Nominations Committee. Now I am running for NEAFCS-MN President-Elect.

I live in Minneapolis with my two sons, Sean (14) and Kieran (10). Sean is a drummer (many of you have been unintentional audience members if you’ve been on a hangout with me when I was joining from home) and Kieran loves soccer. They are delightful young men and keep my life interesting!

We co-own a 1906 duplex with our dear friends (we live upstairs and they live downstairs). Good friends also live next door. Sometimes there’s so much coming and going that I feel as if I’m the star of a primetime sitcom! As a family, we enjoy riding bikes, playing board games, going to the park, and reading books aloud, among many other things!

I have worked with Extension as an Educator in Family Resiliency since June 2012. I began my Extension career as the Carver/Scott Counties Educator in Family Resource Management. This position provided me a unique perspective and learning opportunity because the bulk of my work was spent teaching directly with consumers and organizations in Carver/Scott. I was able to teach in a variety of settings, including the county workforce centers; jails; schools; senior living homes; community meals; and food banks. From these experiences, I learned a great deal about the needs and priorities of Minnesota families, particularly those who find themselves on the margins of society.

Last February, I moved from a county position to a regional position and am currently officed out of the Robert J. Jones University Research, Outreach, and Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis. My work is now composed of less time teaching directly to consumers and more time teaching within organizations; carrying out evaluations; testing piloted programs; and completing scholarly work such as literature reviews and theory construction (whew!). As you all well know, Extension work is full of meaningful interactions and activities!

Throughout my involvement in NEAFCS, I have discovered the benefits to membership. For example, this organization bridges disciplines within Extension that otherwise don’t have the opportunity to work together. I have learned about and grown to appreciate the Health and Nutrition and Food Safety Educators through our NEAFCS-MN work. As President-Elect, I will work to maintain a strong organization that reflects the complexity and effectiveness of our important work. Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself. I’m looking forward to the possibility of expanding my role in NEAFCS-MN.

Sara VanOffelen

Sara VanOffelen

Candidate for Treasurer: Sara Van Offelen

Hello I am Sara Van Offelen and am a Regional Coordinator for SNAP-Ed.  I work in theMoorhead Regional Office covering the Northwest Region.  I have been a member of NEAFCSfor a number of years and have served as a secretary with our organization.  I have worked for University of Minnesota Extension for 21 years in different capacities. I am running for treasurer of NEAFCS-MN Affiliate because I am happy to serve the organization and believe that I can fulfill this commitment.  On a personal note, I live in Detroit Lakes and have four children ranging in age from 25 to 12.  My two youngest are now in middle school.  My second son is in Amersterdam this semester for a study abroad.   This fall my husband and I are enjoying bountiful garden produce and apple tree yield!


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