Winter Newsletter l January 2018
Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) is dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System and developing the Extension profession and professional.

Meet your board, communication survey, award winners,
scholarship & membership updates and more.
Meet your Board
Our board has met and we are on track to make it a productive year! Meet your board here.

Committees: What they do and who is on them

Did you know we have eleven active committee from membership, legislative to professional improvement? Check out the committee list here .

We invite annual and life members to join a committee by contacting Vice President Nathan Winter, ,

ESP Pi Chapter Communication: How and When Survey

A priority for the Board of Directors is to increase communication and engagement with both annual and life members. We need your input. Please complete this short survey here . We will discuss and make a plan at the February 2, 2018 board meeting.  

What I love about being an Extension Professional

Nathan Winter, Program Leader, Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

What I love about being an Extension Professional
Robin Trott, Extension Educator, Douglas County
MEWS Scholarship Update

By David Werner

At the December board meeting, qualifying members can receive Minnesota Extension Workers Scholarship Funds (MEWS) every other year (based on the UMN fiscal year cycle), not including ESP Pi Chapter Board representative or delegate attending JCEP, PILD, or ESP National Meeting. This replaced the policy of no more than three MEWS awards in a five-year period. Find application and guidelines here .

MEWS scholarship recipients write stories about how they used the scholarship for professional growth. See stories here .

Donations to the MEWS fund in 2017 was $55. Help us grow. Donate here .
2016-2017 ESP Pi Chapter Highlights

The 2016-17 ESP Pi Chapter has a successful year marked with many notable milestones. Here’s a few highlights.

  • Updated our blog. Engage by sharing your comments on posts. 
  • Met with Dean Durgan receiving positive feedback and suggestions about moving our chapter forward. 
  • Professional development committee hosted a Utilizing Your Extension Skills after You Retire webinar. Retirees Kathy Olson, Cindy Bigger and Kent Gustafson shared insights on how they have used their Extension skills in retirement and offered suggestions when planning for retirement. Watch here.
  • Hosted a Pi Chapter’s Celebration and Awards Recognition Event at the Extension Fall Conference. Forty attended including retirees, potential new members, and many from our membership. See add video and photo here.
  • Updated by-laws, policies, and procedures. View here.
  • Moved the annual business meeting to a virtual one.
  • Read the full 2017 Annual Report here.
ESP awards
Membership Committee Update

By Kathy Brandt, Membership Chair

The ESP Membership Committee is off to a great start with a renewed sense of excitement for the year. Currently we are working on follow up with those members who have not renewed membership (if you have not renewed please refer to the 11/3/17 renewal notice and take care of that today!), retirees and potential new members. We have 24 renewing members, 1 new member and 1 MN Life Member. We are optimistic that those numbers will increase. 

Other work the committee will focus on includes: 
  • develop talking points around the benefits of ESP membership,
  • update membership materials--both print and on the blog, 
  • develop a new member packet of information, 
  • implement an informal mentor program, 
  • create a recruitment challenge for all members. 

A special thank you to LuAnn Hiniker, Roselyn Biermaier and Tim Arlt, for stepping up to serve on the ESP Membership Committee! 

Membership information here .

Suggestions Wanted

Do you have an idea you would like ESP Pi chapter to consider or try? Want to know more or get involved? Contact your ESP Pi Chapter member-at-large.
Nathan Winter
Member Spotlight

A Visit to Kenya

By Nathan Winter

A Catholic priest from Kisii, Kenya visited Minnesota in the summer of 2017. His visit was a part of a mission to encourage efforts to support a village near the city of Kisii, Kenya. Damaris, who moved from Kenya to Minnesota, invited him. Damaris, along with her siblings and mother, had been working closely with the Berquist Foundation to help the village out financially. Through this work, the connection was made with the priest.

The priest found out I worked in agriculture for the University of Minnesota Extension and suggested I visit Kenya. At the time, I laughed off the idea of traveling to Kenya since it would be well out of my comfort zone. 

Butch and Karen, a retired farm couple from Hutchinson, were planning to travel to Kenya with Damaris in November of 2017. Butch and Karen convinced their daughter, Anissa, to go along. They asked if I wanted to go as well. I thought about this idea for a while and told them I would see if there was any Extension related work in Kenya. I visited with John Vreyens, Extension Director of Global Initiatives. He said the University of Minnesota Extension had a partnership with Kisii University. Extension faculty have traveled to Kenya to educate women farmers. Because of these connections, there was support for me to visit Kisii University.

Read and comment about Nathan’s trip on our blog here .
Congratulations Award Winners

By Marcia Woeste, Awards and Recognition Chair

Members submitted seven award applications. The following members were recognized at the Pi Chapter’s Celebration and Awards Recognition Event in October 2017. All state recipients (expect state only awards) will advance to the 2018 national ESP award recognition program.

  • Pi Chapter Meritorious Support Service Recognition: Sharon Leopold 
  • Early Career Service Award: Robin Trott
  • Distinguished Service Award: Marcia Woeste
  • Pi Chapter Retiree Service Award: Kent Gustafson
  • Administrative Leadership Award: Tim Arlt
  • Visionary Leadership Award: Holli Arp
  • Distinguished Team Award: Becky Hagen Jokela and Lori Hendrickson
  • 25 Years of Service: Kathy Brandt and Sara Croymans 

See photos and awards history here.
Upcoming Events
  • February 1, 2018. Deadline for 2018 ESP Membership Dues
  • February 2, 2018. Pi Chapter Board Meeting (9-11 am)
  • February 1, 2018. Webinar proposal submission deadline. Submit here.
  • March 15, 2018. Concurrent Session, Poster or Ignite Session at National Conference abstract due. Submit here.
  • October 1 - 4, 2018 ESP National Conference - Manhattan, Kansas. Road trip anyone?
Suzanne Driessen| ESP Pi Chapter President |302.203.6057 | |