Jeannette Rea Keywood, State 4-H agent in the Department of 4-H Youth Development, was awarded the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Award for Excellence–Extension Faculty at a year-end ceremony by Larry Katz, director of RCE and senior associate director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
According to Katz, dedication to and passion for the youth development profession has been a distinguishing characteristic of Keywood’s career. Her commitment to excellence and strong impact in teaching, extension practice, and service to Cooperative Extension and to the university has spanned more than a quarter century. This includes significant accomplishments as the Cumberland County 4-H Agent for 22 years and as a NJ State 4-H Agent for the past three years. Jeannette’s work as a county 4-H agent reached more than 1,400 youth in club programming and more than 5,000 through enrichment, special interest and after-school programming focused on developing community partnerships, 21st Century grants, youth-at-risk audiences as well as experiential and inquiry-based science, technology and environmental education.
Her current work in the Department of 4-H Youth Development focuses on designing relevant research-based programs for New Jersey youth. She coordinates all aspects of the state’s participation in national 4-H events, and she plans, implements and evaluates educational programs for middle and high school age youth throughout New Jersey that focus on leadership and personal development. In addition, Jeannette is responsible for all statewide internal and public 4-H marketing and communication efforts, as well as serves as the faculty liaison to the State 4-H Volunteer Association and the State 4-H Small Animal Project Advisory Council.
Some examples of Jeannette’s scholarship, teaching and program accomplishments include 19 invited lectures; 116 professional presentations; 5 abstracts and 5 journal articles published; authored 6 curricula, 59 publications and 4 fact sheets; developed 63 visual instructional materials; taught an on-line course; and most recently co-developed an online professional development series titled, “Program Development for People with Developmental Disabilities.”
Keywood has taught over 9,300 youth and 3,500 adults through nearly 1,600 hours of instruction on topics including communication & leadership skills, science, environmental education, foods & nutrition, leadership development, citizenship, public speaking, and character education. In addition, she has trained over 1,600 volunteers, extension employees and agency personnel on a variety of topics.
She has been recognized by her peers with more than 75 individual and team awards on the state, regional and national levels. Most notable among these are the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) Environmental Education/Natural Resources Award in 2012; the NAE4-HA Meritorious Service Award in 2008, Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and Achievement in Service Award in 1996; the USDA Program of Distinction Award in 2005; the Annie E. Casey 4-H Family Strengthening Award in 2005; and the Northeast Extension Directors’ Award of Excellence in 2003.
Jeannette Rea Keywood’s professional service and community involvement also spans from the local to the national level, including 2016 National Epsilon Sigma Phi Conference chair, 2014-present; National 4-H Hall of Fame chair, 2012-present; NJ Communication & Marketing Committee chair, 2000-present; Epsilon Sigma Phi – Alpha Xi Chapter President 2010-present; New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents: President Elect 2013-present, President 1998-2000, VP 1996-1998, and Treasurer 1994-1996 and 2006-2012; 2009 NAE4-HA Conference Committee & Awards Banquet co-chair; and NAE4-HA Public Relations & Information Committee chair, 1995-1998.