2017 NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Awards

The NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Awards were presented yesterday, August 10, 2017, at our Professional Development Day, Different Perspectives of Storytelling for Extension Educators, in Brainerd, MN. Congratulations to the  MN Affiliate Award Winners list below.  The Regional and National awards will be presented at the Annual Session in October 2017 in Omaha, NE.

  1. Community Partnership Award, “One Vegetable, One Community – Community Partnership”; Megan Hruby,  Kirsten Fagerlund (Public Health/SHIP) & Amanda Lien (Chamber of Commerce); 3rd place Central Region
  2. Communications Radio/Podcast Program Award, “MFLN Family Transitions – Todd & Peggy Podcasts”; Sara Croymans, Anita Hering, Ellie McCann, Robert Bertsch, Mary Jo Katras, Karen Shirer, Vickie LaFollette; 1st Central Region and 2nd National
  3. Continued Excellence Award (CE) – Kelly Kunkel; (recognized at National)
  4. Food Safety Award, “Safe Food Sampling at Farmer’s Markets and Community Events”; Suzanne Driessen & Kathy Brandt; 1st Central Region; 1st National
  5. Educator of the Year – Kathleen Olson
  6. Communications Newsletters Award, “Backpack Nutrition Newsletter”; Kelly Kunkel, Betsy Johnson, Beth Labenz, Sharmyn Phipps, Heather Lee, Hannah Jastrom Aaberg, Jessica Barnes, Ruth Ellis, & Mary Vitcenda
  7. School Wellness, “Project BreakFAST: Making a Difference in School Wellness”; Mary Schroeder, Mary Caskey, Dr. Susie Nanney, Amy Shanafelt, Kate Grannon, Dr. Caitlin Caspi, Margaret Haggenmiller, Stephanie Hakes, Andrea Kronbach, Kam Schroeder, Diane Davis-Kenning, Bonnie Christiasen, Darlyce Rangaard, Kam Schroeder, Ellen Dodds,DeeAnn Leines, Mary Hearst, Dr. Lisa Harnak, Dr. Martha Kubik, Dr. Robert Leduc & Qi Wang; 1st Central Region
  8. Communications Educational Curriculum Package Award, “Educacion: Nuestra mejor Herencia (Education: Our Best Legacy)”; Silvia Alvarez De Davila, Kathleen Olson, Victoria Campoverde, Karen Shirer, Patricia Stoppa,Colleen Gengler, Jo Musich, Heather Lee, Mary Marczak & Patricia Olson; 3rd Central Region
  9. Marketing Package Award, “Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions”; Anita Hering, Sara Croymans, Ellie McCann, Mary Jo Katras, Karen Shirer, Bob Bertsch & Vickie LaFollette; 3rd Central Region
  10. Communications Photography Award, “Photo of a Military Child”; Sara Croymans; 1st Central Region
  11. Friend of NEAFCS – MN Affiliate, Debra Landvik – MN Department of Education; Nominated by Kathleen Olson, Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Patricia Olson & Mary Jo Katras

Photo -- Award Winners - NEAFCS MN Affiliate 2017

(front row) Silvia Alvarez de Davila, Mary Caskey, and Mary Schroeder

(back row) Anita Harris Hering, Colleen Gengler, Megan Hruby, Suzanne Driessen,    Kathy Brandt, and Sara Croymans


Public Policy and Relations Committee Update 3-3-17

Writing a good impact statement is hard to do

We had 11 impact submissions this year. Thank you! We will compile them for Anita to take to the Public Institute Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C.

NEAFCS impact statement template limits us to 40 words. This gives us no choice but to be concise. Many times our statements are too general. They read more like reports with not a lot of impact. True impact statements are hard to write.

Consider three questions as you frame your statement

(AFNR intranet, January 1, 2017)

  1. What was the need or problem you were trying to solve?
    • Focus on one issue.
    • Target the audience you want to reach.
    • One impact statement does not fit all audience. Select messages from statement and tailor to each audience.
  2. What service (course, conference, materials, curriculum, etc.) did you provide/facilitate to address the need?
    • Pick 1 or 2 things that had the biggest bang.
    • Include the relevance to improve people’s health, the economy, the environment.
    • Use active verbs.
  3. How did your service improve the lives of people in the community, etc.? The results
    • Lay it out like a sports page—
      • who’s playing– identify your audience
      • what happened and how
      • what was the score or so what–numbers with $ or %
      • Why does this score (program) matter?
      • What is interesting or surprising?
      • See Top 9 Tips for  your Impact Statement, Purdue Extension,

Quotes should extend the story

Our NEAFCS impact statements ask for quotes on the benefit of the program. Quotes should illustrate and extend your story.

This: “Though, I was skeptical at first, planting cover crops improved my overall yields over the past three years.”

Not this: “Of course, Food Safety Training was the main reason we attended this academy. These classes teach the specifics. It was very interesting and informative, as well as, being a requirement to legally sell cottage foods.”

Snap a photo

Pictures tell a story! Our Extension program story. Be sure to take action photos when out and about. Take photos to help educate your point. Take photos to tell the story about your program and its impact. Be sure to have your subject(s) complete Extension’s PhotoVideo Release form.

Resources for you

Impact statements tell a compelling story, gets attention (published in the national NEAFCS impact statement report) and gets funded. Check out Pitching your Story on our extension Intranet.

More to come! The professional development committee is exploring this topic for our professional development day.

Suzanne Driessen and Becky Hagen Jokela

Apply for NEAFCS Awards!

Happy Holidays!

As you are completing your 2017 Plan of Work and 2016 Assessment (& NEAFCS Impact Statements Suzanne Driessen recently emailed about) please plan to submit a NEAFCS Awards Application!  There has been a lot of really great work in MN this past year and we want to share your accomplishments with others across the nation!  It is time to tell your story!

NEAFCS MN Affiliate Award applications are due February 15, 2017.  Award applications and all supporting material need to be uploaded into the national on-line system.  Here are some tips for submitting your application(s):

  • All NEAFCS Awards information is available on the NEAFCS Awards web page
  • Identify which award categories your project fits into by reviewing the Awards-at-a-Glance document.
  • Check out the step by step instructions on how to submit an application.
  • Please note — MN Award applications will be accepted up until February 15. 
    • If you need to edit your application prior to our February 15 deadline, you will need to re-upload all of your files again. You cannot delete a file that has been previously submitted.  To remove the file, re-upload the files you want included, and upload a blank page for the file you want to delete.
    • There will not be an opportunity to edit/change your application after the Minnesota February 15 deadline
  • To ensure high quality applications it is strongly recommended that submitters have their application materials reviewed prior to submitting online by someone else to ensure that the application is complete, easy to read & understand and contains no typos or grammatical errors.
  • For your review is a ppt from National that provides insights on the awards process.  It is worth spending a few minutes to review the slides.

If you have questions about the awards submission process please feel free to contact me (Sara Croymans – croym001@umn.edu or 320-226-6052) or any of the MN awards/membership committee members (Kelly Kunkel, Kathy Brandt, Sara VanOffelen, Silva Alvarez de Davila, Sharon Powell, Anita Hering, Antonio Alba Meraz or Kathy Olson).

In addition, the Awards/Membership committee also encourages members to submit a proposal to present at the NEAFCS Annual Session in Omaha October 16-19, 2017.  The call for proposals has not yet been posted … please watch for this information on the NEAFCS 2017 Annual Session web page.

We look forward to seeing awards applications from Minnesota Affiliate members!  Please reach out with any questions!


Congratulations to 2016 Award Winners!

Congratulations to the following 2016 NEAFCS – MN Affiliate Award Winners who were recognized at the NEAFCS – MN Professional Development Day “Creating Personal and Professional Harmony in Our Lives” on July 14, 2016 on the St. Paul Campus:

  1. Communications Educational Curriculum Package:Financial Recovery After Disaster Video Series – Sara Croymans, Lori Hendrickson, Lori Scharmer, Trish Olson, Bruce Sundeen & Scott Swanson
  2. Communications Newsletter Award:Latino Financial Literacy Newsletter – Sara Croymans, Antonio Alba, Jose Lamas, Gabriela Burk, Francisca Mendoza, Heather Lee, Mary Vitcenda & Jessica Barnes
  3. Community Partnership:Engaged Stakeholders Guide Development of Just-in-Time Disaster Recovery Video Series – Lori Hendrickson, Sara Croymans, Lori Scharmer, Trish Olson, Bruce Sundeen, Scott Swanson
  4. Continued Excellence:Suzanne Driessen
  5. Distinguished Service Award:Mary Caskey
  6. Food Safety:Safe Food Sampling at Farmers’ Markets and Community Events –  Suzanne Driessen, Kathy Brandt & Glenyce Peterson Vangness
  7. Human Development/Family Relationships: Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence Online Course – Becky Hagen-Jokela, Kelly Kunkel, Ellie McCann & Jean Illsley Clark
  8. Past President’s New Professional:Farm-to-School through Nutrition Education and Community Partnerships – Megan Jannsen
  9. Social Networking: Military Families Learning Network – Family Transitions –  Anita Hering, Sara Croymans, Mary Jo Katras, Ellie McCann, Karen Shirer, Vickie LaFollette & Bob Bertsch

The following individuals and teams were recognized at the NEAFCS Annual Session Awards Ceremony in Big Sky, Montana on September 15, 2016:

  1. Continued Excellence:Suzanne Driessen
  2. Distinguished Service Award:Mary Caskey
  3. Social Networking: Military Families Learning Network – Family Transitions –  Anita Hering, Sara Croymans, Mary Jo Katras, Ellie McCann, Karen Shirer, Vickie LaFollette & Bob Bertsch – 1st Place Central Region & 2nd Place National

Also, the following award application submitted through NEAFCS – ND Affiliate was recognized at the national awards banquet:

  • Communications Television/Video Program:  Family Financial Recovery After Disaster Video Series – Lori Scharmer, Lori Hendrickson, Sara Croymans, Trish Olson, Scott Swanson & Bruce Sundeen – 1st Place Central Region & 2nd Place National


NEAFCS-MN Officer Candidate Bios

We have two wonderful candidates for NEAFCS  President-Elect and Secretary. Anita Harris, based out of St. Cloud, is running for President-Elect and Mary Schroeder, based out of Marshall, is running for Secretary. Please take a moment to read their bios which are posted below. Elections will be held at the annual meeting in Duluth. If possible, please plan to attend.


President-Elect: Hello!  My name is Anita (Harris) Hering and I have been a member of NEAFCS for one year.  I am running for NEAFCS- MN President-Elect.

I was hired in May of 2005 by the University of Minnesota Extension as a Regional Extension Educator for the Center of Youth Development.  In March of 2015 I joined the Center for Family Development- Family Resiliency as Extension Educator Military Families working as the Social Media Specialist in a cooperative agreement with eXtension, the Department of Defense, USDA, and the Military Families Learning Network.  My expertise is in the area of youth, families, volunteer and partnership development, curriculum development, program quality, social media, and working with military service providers, Service Members, their families and Veterans.

I attended the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University for my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education.  In 1990 I received my MA in Non-Public School Administration/Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul.

Upon coming to the University of MN Extension, I had 23 years of professional experience in Pre-Grade 12 education, 10 years as a classroom teacher and as a Principal for 13. I worked with school renovations, building projects, school mergers, and involved with strategic planning, grant writing and financial management (5 yearly budgets), fundraising and public relations, before and after school programs, curriculum development and implementation, just to name a few.

My husband and I live on five acres of wooded land in St. Joseph, where every day we host the “Hering Party” with deer, wild turkeys, coyote, other small animals and birds.  Since 2007 I have been involved with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon in the St. Cloud area and as a volunteer Chairperson for the largest Regional BTYR (9 cities) in MN, the Central MN Warrior to Citizen.

As President-Elect I will use my leadership and management skills to serve in a leadership capacity and work hard to promote excellence and scholarship, assist in providing innovative professional growth and development opportunities, and serve as a resource for education, information, networking and partnerships.


Secretary:Mary Schroeder has worked as an Extension educator since 1999. Prior to Extension, Mary worked as a registered dietitian in medical settings. As a clinical dietitian, Mary observed that people’s eating habits are influenced by factors such as stress, physical activity, time, and food access. Recently Mary’s work has focused on nutrition and well-being of children and youth, especially youth who live in low-income areas. She has worked with team members to develop and deliver trainings to school foodservice directors and child care providers with the goal of ensuring these environments prepare and serve high quality, nutritious foods. Mary earned a Masters degree in Public Health, Community Health Education at the University of Wisconsin — LaCrosse, WI and her Bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition from North Dakota State University.