Janette L. Bowman, Coolman, Denise, Cross, Deborah C.
OAK GROVE – The LSU AgCenter and Southern University AgCenter have assigned new personnel to this area in an attempt to improve the lives of residents living here.
The three new staff members are located in the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center in Oak Grove and will work on projects designed to help improve the area’s economy, as well as the health of those living here.
This area surrounding this Northeast Louisiana community is one of the most impoverished in the state and the nation.
One of the new faculty members is not new to the LSU AgCenter. Dr. Jan Bowman formerly worked with the LSU AgCenter’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Ouachita Parish from 1979-1988. But her new work will take a slightly different slant.
"Some of the areas I’ll be working in include workforce development with area businesses and industries and rural economic development for aging communities," Bowman said.
Bowman is returning to Louisiana from Oklahoma – where she directed the Oklahoma State University Gerontology Program. She now is working as an economic development agent for the LSU AgCenter in the Delta region.
During her career, Bowman has obtained more than $9 million in external funds, and she said she hopes to apply that experience in the area. Bowman currently is working on a project that involves expanding broadband Internet access for West Carroll Parish.
"The residents need broadband coverage for economic development," Bowman said. "With broadband access, the community and the parish will have an opportunity to break geographic barriers that have hindered competition with the rest of the world."
Bowman said broadband coverage is the "missing link" for an area that is located in the poorest region of the nation to be competitive in a global economy.
Another new faculty member is Donna Ross, who is a registered dietitian. In addition to being an LSU AgCenter nutrition and health agent, Ross also works in Winnsboro with the Franklin Parish Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative.
Nutrition research and education are her focus areas in her work at the Lingo Center.
"My responsibilities include developing and implementing nutrition programs in an effort to improve the overall health of the residents," Ross said. "I will be focusing on the obesity epidemic. I also will be concentrating on childhood nutrition programs in West Carroll Parish."
Although residing in Ouachita Parish, Ross feels at home when working in West Carroll. She graduated from Forest High School in 1995 before earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics from Louisiana Tech University.
The third new staff member assigned to West Carroll Parish is Sharon Wilder – a nutrition assistant who graduated from Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in social work and is working on her master’s degree in nutrition.
"My responsibilities include teaching nutrition classes, as well as conducting home visits with clients," Wilder said. "I am excited about the possibilities that exist here for teaching people about proper nutrition."
Wilder, who originally is from the Oak Grove area, now works in both East Carroll and West Carroll parishes.
To get in touch with Bowman, Ross or Wilder, visit the LSU AgCenter offices at the Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center or call (318) 428-3571.
Jan Bowman at (318) 428-3571 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Ross at (318) 428-3571 or email@example.com
Sharon Wilder at (318) 428-3571
A. Denise Coolman at (318) 644-5865 or firstname.lastname@example.org