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

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