Our Rising Stars

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 28, 2017

2017 Rising Star interns

Iowa State students returned to campus last week to begin the fall semester – including 15 who now have a better understanding of ISU Extension and Outreach than they did a few months ago. These students, our 2017 Rising Star Interns, spent their summer learning about local food systems, exploring Iowa communities and considering careers as extension professionals.

I first met the interns in the spring. Over dinner at the Gateway, we talked about the exciting work they planned to do. I also had a chance to meet up with a few of the teams this summer as I was out touring the state. A few weeks ago, they all presented their final projects to the extension leadership team, their college deans and regional directors. Did you know?

  • The Rising Stars in Region 1, Leah Brooke, Ruby Hotchkiss and Madison Lapke, developed “Grow! Know! Whoa!” This program for children covered three aspects of local food: how to grow it, the health benefits and how to prepare it.
  • Region 3 interns Erin McDonald, Josephina Matteson and Rui Xie developed strategic plans for Ackley and Latimer, a master plan for the Worth County fairground, a strategic implementation plan for the historic Winifred Hotel, and a strategic plan for educating and serving local foods producers in the region.
  • The interns in Region 5, Emily Bormann, Madison Hemer and Izzy Worrall, focused on serving people “from ages 6 to 80.” They made connections and built relationships with community members through youth programming, food demonstrations and special events.
  • Region 7 interns Rachel Ulven, Shana Hilgerson and Yuanhao “Rory” Wang evaluated Rising Star media platforms, developed intergenerational activities to promote local foods, and promoted Spanish language inclusion at farmers markets.
  • In Region 20, interns Kaitlin Brake, Breanna Burnett-Larkins and Thomata Doe introduced children to new fruits and vegetables during summer lunch programs and rated the effectiveness of visual merchandising and branding on farmers markets. They also worked to increase awareness of local foods as a whole, as well as the role Eat Fresh Southeast Iowa plays in promoting local growers.

From what I can tell, the interns had a fun and rewarding experience this summer. They all deserve our thanks for a job well done. At least a few of them are thinking seriously about a career in ISU Extension and Outreach. Keep that in mind the next time you’re hiring, and encourage them to apply.

One more thing: County fair season is almost over (hang in there, Guthrie and Clay), and it’s time to report county 4-H data. We need to fulfill our state and federal reporting requirements, as well as make our data available to extension councils and the public through Data for 4-H Decision Makers. And we need your help. State 4-H Leader John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas says fewer than half of our county 4-H programs have entered their data, and half of those have entered only partial data. The Oct. 1 deadline will be here soon, so let’s pick up the pace and get that data entered. It’s important for your county, for 4-H, and for all of ISU Extension and Outreach.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

The Faces of Iowa State

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 21, 2017

It’s time to take a look at the Faces of Iowa State. The exhibit opens today at Iowa State’s Brunnier Art Museum and features 39 portraits painted by Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen. The Iowa Staters who are featured include students, faculty, staff, alumni and others with close ties to the university. Iowa State commissioned Rose to paint the first batch of portraits during the 2016 Iowa State Fair. She came back to Iowa State last spring and painted the rest. Her work carries on a tradition of Iowa State portraits. Did you know?

  • Since the 1930s, numerous portraits have been commissioned to commemorate presidents, deans, faculty and alumni, and honor Iowa State’s heritage and legacies. ISU departments and colleges continue this tradition today.
  • Three of the Faces of Iowa State have strong connections to ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Marshall County Extension Council member Mary Giese was selected as an example of our 900 elected council members.
  • Evan Fritz, a 2016 Iowa State graduate, Rising Star intern and former 4-H’er, represents how ISU Extension and Outreach builds skills in young people throughout the state. (That includes leadership skills. Evan now is a Winnebago County Extension Council member.)
  • JaneAnn Stout, retired director of ISU Extension to Families and associate dean in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, influenced countless Iowans through education, outreach and her personal contribution to issues directly affecting their lives.

The exhibit continues at the Brunnier through Dec. 8 and then hits the road, including stops at these locations: Maquoketa Art Experience, Dec. 9, 2017-Feb. 12, 2018; Muscatine Art Center, Feb. 15-April 15, 2018; Pearson Lakes Art Center, April 26-June 23, 2018; Blanden Art Museum, Aug. 4-Oct. 14, 2018; and Harvester Artspace Lofts Exhibit Gallery, Council Bluffs, Nov. 4-Dec. 31, 2018. After the tour, the portraits will join Iowa State’s permanent Art on Campus Collection.

A couple more notes

  • Congratulations to Gary Taylor for completing what must be one of the longer interims on record. He’s now officially director of the ISU Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development program, as well as associate director of the Institute for Design Research and Outreach, and director of Design Extension.
  • Vote for Parkin-A-Punch to win a $50,000 Encore Prize. This Human Sciences project with USA Boxing matches young boxers with older adults who have Parkinson’s disease. As the older adults learn boxing, they become role models, helping their young coaches identify and pursue their goals and dreams. You can vote once per day through Aug. 31 and help this project advance to the final stage of judging.

—John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

Wear the brand with pride!

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 14, 2017

If you’ve seen me out in the state this summer (or if you follow me on Twitter), chances are you’ve noticed the red shirt I’m wearing. It probably had the ISU Extension and Outreach wordmark on it or Iowa State University. Maybe it featured the I-State logo if I was doing something related to Athletics and the Cyclones. The point is, on any given day I wear the appropriate shirt depending on what I plan to do. I show my connection to Iowa State, which matters to our clients.

In 2010 we conducted quantitative and qualitative needs assessments. When Iowans were asked how they would describe ISU Extension and Outreach, the most common response was “unknown” – and these were people who already used our services! However, nearly all were aware of Iowa State and had a positive perception of the university. It was obvious then that we had to connect more strongly to Iowa State to better serve all Iowans.

During the past seven years, we’ve made a lot of progress in building our brand. We need to stay on task, and we are not changing our branding strategy during this interim period. Did you know?

  • Today you’ll find more than a hundred ISU Extension and Outreach branded templates on MyExtension (sign in and check the Advancement tab). If you need to make a brochure, newsletter, stakeholder report or just about anything, you’ll find a template you can use. You also can contact our Advancement team for answers to questions, training and support.
  • Sign in on the Extension Store to find all kinds of organizational marketing items you can order, including pens, pencils, mugs, podium signs, table cloths, posters and banners. There’s even an ISU Extension and Outreach rain gauge for the hopeful among us.
  • Besides branding your events, remember to brand yourself. Order a new name badge via MyExtension (sign in and search for name badge) if you need one, or update your wardrobe with ISU Extension and Outreach branded apparel from the Extension Store. (Sign in and search for apparel.)

There’s no reason for ISU Extension and Outreach to be a best kept secret any more. No matter where you are or what you do, it’s easy for you and your event to be properly branded. All our program areas, departments, units and county offices are part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, a 99 county campus with one well-known, credible brand. Wear it with pride.

One more note: As Interim President Ben Allen states, we must not ignore what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, or pretend it doesn’t impact us. I support his message that hatred, racism and bigotry have no place at Iowa State University, including Extension and Outreach. Please read his message.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

State Fair

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 7, 2017

They say nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair. While that’s true, I offer this amendment: Nothing compares to ISU Extension and Outreach at State Fair! There’s our 4-H connection, of course. Who hasn’t been to the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building or the livestock venues during 4-H show time? However, we are all over that fairground. We’re the reason you can stroll through a garden, or stomp grapes or find out what that porkchop-on-a-stick will cost you, calorie-wise. Did you know?

  • State 4-H youth program specialists are expecting nearly 3,600 static exhibits and more than 900 communication entries, which include educational presentations, working exhibits, extemporaneous speaking and Share the Fun performances.
  • Since the mid-1990s, the Polk County Master Gardeners have been the caretakers for the Discovery Garden near the Agriculture Building.
  • In front of the Ag Building by the big pumpkin weigh-in (or inside, if it’s raining), you can find out how well you know your weeds during the Weed ID contest Aug. 11, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • You can visit Grandfather’s Barn Wine Experience for a daily wine stomp, viticulture experts and kids’ activities. You’ll probably find our viticulture specialist Mike White there, and if you show up at 2 p.m. Aug. 11, you can cheer for Cy as he takes on Herky and TC in the Mascot Grape Stomp.
  • You’ll find extension colleagues working at Iowa State’s main exhibit in the Varied Industries Building. “Forever True, Thanks to You” features student clubs and experiences made possible by donor support to Iowa State.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach provides nutritional information for the Iowa State Fair Food Finder App, along with the number of calories associated with the items and the amount of physical activity needed to burn off all that fair food.

I’m looking forward to my time at the fair, and not just for the porkchop-on-a-stick I plan to consume. Aug. 11 is Iowa 4-H Day. I’ll be helping with 4-H alumni and friends registration at the 4-H Foundation tent on the Grand Concourse from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so stop in and say hello. On Aug. 12 President Ben Allen and I will be showing steers in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. I’ll be there Aug. 17 for Iowa Department of Land Stewardship’s Century and Heritage Farm event. Six of these family farms include land that is part of our Land Grant Legacy and we’ll be recognizing them during the event. I’ll even be serving as a “celebrity chef” (their term, not mine) at the Iowa Pork Producers’ food venue. For updates on my whereabouts through the fair, follow me on Twitter, @JohnLawrenceISU.

A couple more notes

  • Be sure to take a look at the August program update from the leadership team.
  • Besides learning more about all our programs, we also need to learn more about each other. Watch this short video to get to know Clark Colby, our 4-H arts, communication and design program specialist.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

August 2017 program update

Updates from the ISU Extension and Outreach leadership team

Human Sciences

  • Data analysis is underway for the engaged scholarship project in Calhoun County, which is exploring the feasibility and effectiveness of virtual singing groups for Iowans with Parkinson’s disease. In 2016 the extension council accepted a proposal from Elizabeth Stegemöller in the Department of Kinesiology, whose research has demonstrated that singing training can significantly improve swallowing and respiratory function for people with Parkinson’s disease. David Brown, a human sciences specialist in family life, is the project’s local leader. Over several months, they selected the Calhoun County site (Rockwell City), recruited participants and collected pre-data. Then Dr. Stegemöller led and recorded eight, one-hour sessions with a singing group in Ames, which were used to facilitate the virtual singing group in Calhoun County in spring 2017. Buena Vista County became interested, so a virtual singing group for people with Parkinson’s disease will be facilitated in Storm Lake in August. Other efforts include developing an introductory curriculum centered on Parkinson’s disease for eventual statewide use.
  • Over the past 11 years, Human Sciences Extension and Outreach has supported 6,822 child care center teachers and their directors with the Better Kid Care program. During program year 2017, a total of 751 child care center teachers from 57 Iowa counties participated in the new staff orientation program. They viewed videos of best practices and completed lessons on 30 topics covering basic health and safety, and child development. Participants showed statistically significant gains in each of 11 learning outcomes. Highest ranked skill improvements included working effectively with other staff, teaching and modeling good health and safety practices, communicating well with a supervisor or director, and feeling more confident about their abilities to teach and care for children. In addition, 89 center directors participated in the director’s online training, with 48 percent in their first year as director. Overall, the directors reported serving approximately 7,035 children. They also reported statistically significant improvements in their skills in each of seven learning outcomes, expressing the highest level of confidence in their ability to effectively identify a staff member’s lack of understanding about a practice or procedure and respond in a positive, supporting manner.

4-H Youth Development

  • Soccer now is part of the Iowa 4-H healthy living program priority. In partnership with Genesis Inc., a Polk County nonprofit serving African immigrant and refugee youth, 4-H has started the 4-H Genesis Club. Entrenched in the youth’s passion for soccer and a successful Oregon 4-H model, 24 K-7 youth have the opportunity to develop new soccer skills while discussing teamwork, positive relationships, and healthy living and nutrition, guided by a set of diverse volunteers including Central College soccer alumni. As Robert, a sixth grade participant, said, “I learned how to dribble better, start looking up, how to keep my handle on the ball better and how to communicate with my teammates.”
  • Older 4-H youth often teach younger 4-H youth. For example, Benton County 4-H’ers Elizabeth Martin, Bobbie Hilmer, Ally Bierschenk and Piper LeGrange volunteered their time as camp counselors at Region 10’s junior camp. This opportunity helped the youth develop citizenship and leadership skills. They also were able to help campers have a great experience and gain a sense of belonging. Elizabeth said, “Helping at the camps is a wonderful experience, which I will continue to encourage others to participate in.” Bobbie said, “Being my second time at the camp helped me understand what works and what doesn’t. I learned by experience.”
  • Sixteen Iowa youth participated in the 2017 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports National Championships held in Grand Island, Neb. Iowa team member Eric Keller placed sixth for daily score in muzzleloader competition. All competitors gained great experiences. Most team members had family members attend the SESS Championship event with them.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Iowa ranks 12th in the nation in milk production. June Dairy Month events increased awareness of Iowa’s dairy industry and offered educational opportunities for the public to learn about the roles of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Iowa State University and the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance held open houses and nearly 1,500 people attended each event. The Iowa State open house included an agricultural discovery area with representation of other Iowa commodity groups (corn, soybean, beef and pork) as well as dairy and Iowa Ag Literacy. Nearly 1,000 people attended Breakfast on the Farm at Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar. The event included breakfast, a petting zoo, cow milking and a demonstration of robotic milking. Attendees left with positive opinions on the way dairy farms protect the environment, take care of their dairy cattle and modern dairy farming. Approximately 550 nutritionists, consultants and other agri-business professionals participated in the annual 4-State Dairy Conference held in Dubuque. ISU Extension and Outreach collaborated in planning and organizing the conference with the University of Illinois Extension, University of Minnesota Extension and University of Wisconsin-Extension. Conference topics included nutrition and management to improve cow performance, foot health and overall cow health.
  • Many farmers are looking for a fast, easy way to collect and share information with the agriculture community. ANR specialists and teams have joined the conversation through ANR social media, creating an opportunity to influence Iowans with the goal to create a #StrongIowa. To date, 117 ANR accounts reach 62,837 followers and subscribers, which is up 7,232 in the last six months. Notably, Twitter is the most influential platform with 48,100 followers looking for ANR information, followed by Facebook with 12,056 page likes.
  • In July, 118 people participated in five Nitrogen and Water Week events. They learned about water quality research being conducted by Iowa State University, how water quality data are collected and how agronomic practices effect drainage water quality. They also observed research on actual in-field and edge-of-field management practices that impact water quality, and learned about recommendations for nitrogen application rates.

Community and Economic Development

  • Susan Erickson and Abbie Gaffey represented CED at the 2017 Iowa Downtown Conference, offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. They talked about ISU Extension and Outreach and met with community officials, Main Street directors, Chamber of Commerce directors and members, community volunteers, and retailers. The Iowa Downtown Conference is a statewide annual conference for professionals and volunteers involved in preservation-based downtown revitalization in Iowa and neighboring states.
  • On Aug. 17, Courtney Long will be in Mason City working on a supply chain project. She helps make connections between North Iowa Fresh, producers and business for local food connectivity and procurement.
  • Lynn Adams and Jon Wolseth will facilitate strategic planning for the Latina Leadership Initiative of Greater Des Moines on Aug. 19. The initiative focuses on providing culturally appropriate leadership training for promising Latina women so they are prepared to serve on boards and commissions and in other leadership capacities.
  • Bailey Hanson will be instructing the Essentials of ArcGIS workshop Aug. 24-25. This course is intended for both new and experienced users of geographic information systems and will cover making maps from geospatial data, mapping data from tables, querying a database and selecting features by location, and displaying, projecting and editing data.

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