Sue Riesgraf began her position as a Master Gardener coordinator in Carver-Scott counties in early February, where she manages 110 Master Gardener volunteers serving the two-county area. Sue brings a wealth of experience and skill to her new position. She was previously employed as a greenhouse worker and vineyard manager at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. Most recently she served as a program manager for the MAST International program in CFANS. Please join me in welcoming Sue to Extension.
Master Gardener Program Manager
Brenda Williams is Extension's new local educator in Todd County. Todd County has placed an emphasis on strengthening their livestock industry and supporting businesses. Brenda's knowledge in dairy and beef genetics, and general livestock management, will be instrumental in helping to expand those segments.
Program Leader, Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Jennifer Olk, began her new role with Extension on March 12 as an executive office & administrative specialist in the Extension Regional Office, Farmington.
Previously Jennifer worked for the University of Minnesota computer science department as a principal operator/student services specialist since 2007. During that time, she was the first point of contact for the department and was responsible for assisting with graduate student orientations, information sessions and files; coordinating Visas for international faculty and visiting scholars; supervising three student workers; assisting with travel and purchase forms; and event coordination for the department.
Jennifer is organized, adaptable, and professional. In her new role, she will provide support to 4-H youth development and community vitality staff who are based out of the Farmington Regional Office.
Regional Director, Central
Amber Shanahan, currently an Extension Youth Teaching Youth program coordinator in Washington County, is transitioning to a new role as Extension educator in youth development in the Extension Regional Office in Farmington on April 10.
Amber holds a B.S. in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin, Stout and an M.Ed. in family education from the University of Minnesota. She has prior work experience as a family educator with Michigan State Extension, an ESL/parent educator, a Challenge Course facilitator, a program coordinator for an after-school program, and as a program and training coordinator at a residential program for people with special needs.
Amber has effective skills in supervision and volunteer systems development, and works in an interdisciplinary nature to develop relationships and build strong partnerships. Amber will work with her colleagues in the central region to design and deliver quality programs for both youth and adults. Together, they will explore the best way to identify and address community needs through positive youth development.
Program Leader, Youth Development
Betsy Olson will join Extension on April 15 as an Extension educator in youth development. Betsy has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in international development with a concentration in research methods from the University of Denver. She has past experience working as a treatment family advocate with Vision Quest, serving as a Peace Corp volunteer in Jamaica, as a conference center associate with the Minnesota Continuing Legal Education and as a research assistant with Strategic Programs. Betsy most recently served as a 4-H youth development agent in Platteville, WI, where she provided leadership to the 4-H program and was instrumental in establishing a statewide youth council.
Betsy brings a strong youth development focus to her work and is very interested in evaluation and program quality. She is a skilled communicator, team player, and has strong people skills, all of which will be beneficial in her new role.
Betsy will be based in the Extension Regional Office in Andover, and will work with her colleagues in the central region to design and deliver quality programs for both youth and adults. Together, they will explore the best way to identify and address community needs through positive youth development.
Program Leader, Youth Development
Grant Will, 4-H program coordinator, Lyon County, 3/4/2013
Caleb Anderson, receptionist, Carlton County, 3/11/2013
Kelly Strei, 4-H program coordinator - promotion & quality, Wright County, 3/18/2013
Brenda Miller, Extension educator, ag production systems, Todd County, 3/21/2013