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SDSU Extension Professionals Honored for Accomplishments

November 10, 2020

BROOKINGS, S.D. - SDSU Extension professionals were recognized for a variety of achievements at the annual Fall Conference held virtually October 28-29.

“It is our honor to highlight the accomplishments of our talented extension professionals from this past year,” says Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension Director. “This includes recognizing years of service, achieved rank and promotion, and the acknowledgement of impactful educational outreach that has positively impacted the lives of South Dakota citizens. These professionals are deeply committed to our land grant mission and we congratulate them for their achievements.”

The following individuals were recognized for recent promotions:

  • Dr. Andrea Bjornestad: SDSU Extension Mental Health Specialist - Department of Counseling and Human Sciences: Awarded Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor
  • Dr. Lisa Elliott: SDSU Extension Commodity Marketing Specialist - Ness School of Economics and Management: Awarded Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor
  • Dr. Matt Elliott: SDSU Extension Agribusiness Specialist - Ness School of Economics and Management: Awarded Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor
  • Leacey Brown: SDSU Extension Gerontology Field Specialist - SDSU West River Research and Extension: Promoted from Field Specialist 1 to Field Specialist 2
  • Megan Erickson: SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist - SDSU Extension Aberdeen Regional Center: Promoted from Field Specialist 1 to Field Specialist 2
  • Anthony Bly: SDSU Extension Soil Health Field Specialist - SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center: Promoted from Field Specialist 2 to Field Specialist 3
  • Connie Strunk: SDSU Extension Plant Pathology Field Specialist - SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center: Promoted from Field Specialist 2 to Field Specialist 3

The following individuals were recognized for five years of service:

  • Jane Amiotte: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Pennington County
  • Megan Erickson: SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist – SDSU Extension Aberdeen Regional Center
  • Aminah Hassoun: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
  • Lauren Hollenbeck: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Clay, Union and Yankton Counties
  • Laura Kahler: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Gregory and Tripp Counties
  • David Kringen: SDSU Extension Water Resources Field Specialist – SDSU Extension Mitchell Regional Center
  • Debra Lessman: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Deuel County
  • Bonnie Nehlich: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Edmunds County
  • Jackie Rau: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – McPherson County
  • Nathan Skadsen: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Minnehaha County
  • Kathleen Stern: SDSU Extension Senior Secretary – SDSU Extension Mitchell Regional Center
  • Dr. Adam Varenhorst: SDSU Extension Entomology Specialist – SDSU Campus, Brookings
  • Prairey Walkling: SDSU Extension Family and Community Health Field Specialist – SDSU West River Research and Extension

Research and Extension, Rapid City

  • Dr. Tong Wang: SDSU Extension Advance Production Economics Specialist – SDSU Campus, Brookings
  • Natasha Young Bear: SDSU Extension Nutrition Assistant/Support Staff – Pine Ridge Reservation

The following individual was recognized for 10 years of service:

  • Shannon Hamm: SDSU Extension Program Assistant – SDSU West River Research and Extension, Rapid City

The following individuals were recognized for 15 years of service:

  • Dr. Russ Daly: SDSU Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian - SDSU Campus, Brookings
  • Adele Harty: SDSU Extension Cow Calf Field Specialist – SDSU West River Research and Extension, Rapid City
  • Audrey Rider: SDSU Extension Early Childhood Field Specialist – SDSU Extension Watertown Regional Center
  • Connie Strunk: SDSU Extension Plant Pathology Field Specialist – SDSU Extension Sioux Falls Regional Center

The following individuals were recognized for 20 years of service:

  • John Keimig: SDSU Extension Youth Ag Safety Field Specialist – SDSU Campus, Brookings
  • Sonia Mack: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Brookings County

The following individual was recognized for 30 years of service:

  • Tracey Erickson: SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist – SDSU Extension Watertown Regional Center

The following individuals were recognized for their retirement from SDSU Extension:

  • Kathie Weight: Senior Secretary – SDSU Extension Administration and State 4-H Office: Retired October 30
  • Paul Thares: SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist – Lemmon Regional Extension Office: Retiring December 31

The following individuals were recognized by their peers at the university level or by their Professional Disciplinary Association:

  • Dr. Amber Letcher: SDSU Extension Youth Development State Specialist – SDSU Campus, Brookings: Awarded the F.O. Butler Award for Service in Extension and Outreach by South Dakota State University
  • Patrick Wagner: SDSU Extension Entomology Field Specialist – SDSU West River Research and Extension, Rapid City: Awarded the Achievement Award by the National Association of Agricultural Professionals (NACAA)
  • Kaycee Jones: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Haakon and Jackson Counties: Awarded the Achievement in Service Award by the National Association of 4-H Youth Development Professionals
  • Becca Tullar: SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor – Brown County: Awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of 4-H Youth Development Professionals