Karol Osborne | 4/9/2019 7:16:44 PM
(04/09/19) WEST MONROE, La. — LSU AgCenter extension professionals from across the state met to recognize member achievement and participate in professional development and training at the annual Louisiana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (LEAFCS) Conference held April 2-4 in West Monroe.
The conference theme Make It Happen! Make It Matter! emphasized programs and opportunities to address emerging issues in nutrition and health and to develop strong partnerships necessary for making critical community connections that go beyond direct education, said Cathy Agan, AgCenter Ouachita Parish nutrition agent.
“By working together, we can make things happen that make a real difference in the lives of the people we serve,” Agan said.
The conference offered extension agents an opportunity to reenergize and recommit to vital programming efforts that support the mission of the AgCenter and their profession, said AgCenter regional director Melissa Cater.
“The work you do really matters to the people of Louisiana,” Cater told participants.
Convention highlights included a mind and body wellness seminar, a presentation on gluten-free baking and local tours of the Vantage Tower corporate headquarters and the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana.
Association members were recognized for outstanding programming and career achievement at an awards luncheon on April 4.
Agan received the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Distinguished Service Award. The highest award presented by the national organization recognizes members for leadership, educational excellence and program development.
The Maxine Reeves Memorial Award was presented to Brittney Seay from Morehouse Parish. The award recognizes professional development and honors Reeves, a retired LaSalle Parish extension agent who served as past president of the state and national associations.
Jefferson Parish nutrition agent Karen Jones received the Betty Jane Fairchild Award, which honors the first woman to serve as an assistant director in the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.
Jessica Randazzo from St. Mary Parish was recognized with the NEAFCS Past President’s New Professional Award, and Shannan Chevalier from Winn Parish received the LEAFCS scholarship award.
Other award presentations include:
— Food Safety Award: Wenqing Xu, LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences associate professor.
— Excellence in Teamwork: Robin Landry, southwest region food and consumer sciences coordinator from Assumption Parish; Melissa Cater; LSU School of Nutrition and Food Sciences faculty members Jamila Freightman, Denise Holston and Sandra May; LSU Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department faculty member Marybeth Lima; and Betsy Neely, AgCenter communications graphic design specialist.
— Community Partnership Award: Robin Landry.
— Communication Award for television or video program: Wenqing Xu, Lafourche Parish nutrition agent Becky Gautreaux, AgCenter communications assistant director Tobie Blanchard and AgCenter communications specialist Randy LaBauve.
— School Wellness Award: Cathy Agan, Ouachita Parish nutrition agent Markaye Russell; horticulture agent Kerry Heafner, Shady Grove Elementary School teacher Dvawn Maza, and volunteer Denise Breard.
— SNAP-ED/EFNEP Educational Program Award: Robin Landry.
— Program Excellence through Research Award: Wenqing Xu and Melissa Cater.
— Environmental Education Award: Valerie Vincent, southeast region food and consumer sciences coordinator from St. Tammany Parish.
Outgoing president Brittney Seay said association members have accomplished much throughout the state and continue to be recognized at state and national levels for innovative programming efforts that remain relevant to the needs of Louisiana residents.
LEAFCS executive board officers elected for 2019-2020 are:
— President: Shatonia McCarty, Calcasieu Parish.
— President-elect: Kylee Brown, West Baton Rouge Parish.
— Vice President - Professional Development: Cynthia Stephens, West Carroll Parish.
— Vice President - Awards & Recognition: Alethia Lawrence, Concordia Parish.
— Vice President - Member Resources: Mandy Armentor, Vermilion Parish.
— Vice President - Public Affairs: Bertina McGhee, Orleans Parish.
— Secretary: Shannan Chevallier, Winn Parish.
— Treasurer: Cathy Agan, Ouachita Parish.
— Parliamentarian: Karen Jones, Jefferson Parish.
— Regional Directors: Markaye Russell, Ouachita Parish, and Sandra May.
— Alternate Regional Directors: Dianne Uzzle, Bienville Parish, and Wennie Xu.
— Historian: Brittney Seay, Morehouse Parish.
Cathy Agan, left, LSU AgCenter Ouachita Parish nutrition agent, displays the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Distinguished Service Award, which was presented by Jefferson Parish nutrition agent Karen Jones. The highest award presented by the national organization recognizes members for leadership, educational excellence and program development. The award was presented at the annual Louisiana Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences conference held April 2-4 in West Monroe. Photo by Karol Osborne/LSU AgCenter