In February, the New Jersey Chapter of the Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) honorary fraternity for cooperative extension agents announced its 2013 awards, recognizing over a dozen Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) faculty and staff. All 2013 State Epsilon Sigma Phi award winners automatically qualify as nominees for the regional and national ESP awards, which are presented at the annual ESP Galaxy Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, PA, in September.
ESP, which represents extension agents in 4-H, agriculture and resource management, family and consumer health sciences, and environment and natural resources, is dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension system and developing the Extension profession. The awards pay tribute to Extension professionals who have exhibited leadership and excellence in Extension programming.
In addition to Extension agents, the Friend of Extension award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding support of Extension efforts. This year’s winner is Kenneth G. Osterman, a Somerset County nursery owner and member of the NJAES Board of Managers and Somerset County Board of Agriculture. This award, which is the highest recognition by an ESP chapter to a non-Extension (lay) person, is designed to recognize truly outstanding support and personal involvement in Extension efforts.
Osterman’s experience as a wholesale nursery grower and a member and leader of the Board of Agriculture and New Jersey Farm Bureau have given him a comprehensive understanding and wide ranging perspective on the diversity within New Jersey’s agriculture industry, from youth and families to production and marketing. Osterman is a longtime advocate for a robust Agricultural Experiment Station, promoting, sustaining, and strengthening RCE through his various roles in various units of the university and RCE, especially the Board of Managers. Across many administrations, his support, advice, and innovative ideas have expanded and sustained Extension throughout the state.
The 2013 Extension award winners for New Jersey are:
Jeannette Rea-Keywood, Cumberland County 4-H agent, received the “Distinguished Service Recognition for exhibiting leadership and excellence over a career of more than 20 years.
Alayne Torretta, Warren County 4-H agent, was awarded the Mid-Career Service Recognition for exhibiting leadership and excellence over a career between 10 and 20 years.
Sharon Kinsey, Camden County 4-H agent, received the Early Career Service Recognition for exhibiting leadership and excellence during the first 10 years of her career.
The International Service Recognition was awarded to Robin Brumfield, extension specialist in agricultural economics and marketing, for contributing significantly to the development and/or expansion of an Extension program in other countries through in-state and/or overseas work.
Daniel Kluchinski, chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Management Agents, received the Visionary Leadership Recognition for significant accomplishments resulting in leading Extension forward in new directions.
The Diversity Multicultural Recognition was awarded to William Sciarappa, Monmouth County agricultural and resource management agent, for outstanding efforts and accomplishments in developing, achieving and sustaining Extension programs and/or audiences in our diverse and multicultural society.
The Distinguished Team Recognition was awarded to the Annie’s Project New Jersey team for business plan development and social media networking for women farmers. The team includes Nicholas Polanin, Somerset County agricultural resource management agent; Robin Brumfield, extension specialist in agricultural economics and marketing; Barbara O’Neill, extension specialist in financial management; Jenny Carleo, Cape May County agricultural resource management agent; Stephen Komar, Sussex County agricultural resource management agent; Robert Mickel, Hunterdon County agricultural resource management agent; Jennifer Matthews, Cape May County project coordinator; Meredith Melendez, Mercer County program coordinator;April Lippet-Faczak, social media specialist; as well as Jeff Heckman and Dana Yurcisin, digital webinar and videography specialists.