Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) held its annual awards program at the 2013 Annual Joint Department Meeting on December 10 to recognize outstanding performances of students, faculty and staff. Among the awards given was the “RCE Diversity Award,” presented to Kenneth Karamichael, associate director of youth development at Office of Continuing Professional Education, and the RCE “County Faculty Person of the Year” award, presented Patricia Rector, environmental and resource management agent.
The RCE Diversity Award recognizes outstanding efforts and accomplishments in achieving and sustaining diversity in Extension organizations, programs and audiences. For over 15 years, Karamichael has consistently grown and strengthened urban youth initiatives across the state of New Jersey. As the director of Rutgers T.E.E.M. Gateway, he has been able to take what started primarily as a single summer youth program and cultivated it into New Jersey’s premier at-risk youth, education and employment training program. Annual, Karamichael has been able to successfully obtain major grants and partnerships to further support positive youth development across the state. In 2013, Karamichael has been able to attract a number of critical diverse partnerships to expand social services to serve three growing at-risk youth populations in Newark, NJ: LGBTQ youth; youth with disabilities; and young mothers returning to school. Karamichael has tirelessly sought out programs and partners who can assist in meeting the many diverse needs of the youth he serves. His collaborations exemplify his commitment and success in supporting the importance of diversity in positive youth development.
The RCE County Faculty Person of the Year award goes to a county faculty employee who has provided accomplishments, activities, programs, publications and services in the advancement of outreach in their county. Within the first six to 12 months of starting as an environmental and resource management agent, Patricia Rector identified local partners and established a network of stakeholders with which to collaborate on environmental projects and educational programs in Morris and Somerset counties. Municipalities, whether through the township committees, planning boards, environmental commissions or Sustainable Jersey Green Teams, have been seeking assistance from Rector. Additionally, non-governmental organizations such as watershed associations, faith-based groups, and community organizations have partnered with Rector to conduct environmental educational programs and to implement environmental projects. The unbiased aspects of Rutgers Cooperative Extension with science-based educational programs, coupled with the trust that Rector has gained among her stakeholders, has allowed her programs to be extremely successful in a relatively short period of time, earning her the RCE County Faculty Person of the Year award.