The Network: A newsletter for champions of MU Extension

The Network — Mar. 17, 2017

A message from Marshall Stewart
Vice chancellor for extension and engagement

In my travels around Missouri, I have had the pleasure of meeting leaders of all types of organizations. Each organization is like a puzzle piece. When you start looking for how they might connect, a picture begins to emerge of what we can all accomplish together.

These puzzle pieces include organizations traditionally related to extension, but also numerous other entities that, working together, can be greater than the sum of their parts.

Just think of the issues in Missouri that we could address if we united in a collective purpose! Things that affect Missourians, like broadband internet access, which affects learning at all levels, as well as, health care, communications and business. We have heard these various groups’ concerns through our Community Conversations, and we are starting to identify overarching issues that we can all get behind to make a difference in our state.

In addition to developing external partnerships, we are also working to weave ourselves more tightly into the fabric of our own campus. We are actively educating new leaders on our land-grant mission “to disseminate the knowledge and research of our university to all citizens of our state.” We have shared a vision of the impact we could demonstrate as a university from all the touch points we have developed throughout the state. We have proposed to serve as a kind of clearinghouse of the touch points the university has across disciplines. This has the potential to give Missourians and our local, state and federal elected officials a better idea of our economic and societal impact. In addition, through the establishment of Engagement Councils, we can help various schools, colleges and departments at the University of Missouri have a clearer view of the big picture by letting them know about complementary work that they may not be aware of.

This is a huge undertaking, and one that we cannot rushed into. Instead, it needs to be built through intentional and thoughtful steps to ensure that the groundwork we lay is firm.

Our road of engagement is just beginning. I am excited to be on this journey with you.


The Big Picture

Mun Choi officially took office as the 24th president of the University of Missouri System on March 1, 2017. Learn more about Choi in a series of video interviews and the President's Blog.

CAFNR dean search update

Campus visits are scheduled for our four finalists in the CAFNR vice chancellor and dean search. While on campus, each finalist will participate in a series of interviews and discussions, including a public forum. Provost Garnett Stokes encourages all stakeholders – alumni, supporters and friends of CAFNR – to have strong involvement in the public forums. Visit for details about candidate visits and information on how to view the forums online. The names of finalists will be released within 48 hours of their scheduled visits.

News from Extension

The MU Extension Way: Program development

In last month's issue of The Network, Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart introduced the “MU Extension Way,” a set of practices and principles that will guide how our organization works. The first topic to be visited under this new initiative is program development. Watch this introductory video to learn about program development under the MU Extension Way.

For more information, visit the program development tools section of MU Extension website.

Legislative Day

Legislative Day, Feb. 28, was an opportunity for alumni, volunteers and other friends of the UM System to thank legislators for their past support and encourage their continued support. Pictured above are members of the State 4-H Council with Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart and Mun Y. Choi, new UM System president. From left: Ethan Walker, Luke Walker, Marshall Stewart, Mun Y. Choi, Mitchell Moon, Kenlyn Shettlesworth, and Abby Schmidt.

4-H Legislative Academy

Fifteen youth delegates went to Jefferson City in February to participate in the 2017 Missouri 4-H Legislative Academy. Delegates shadowed legislators, toured the Capitol and visited the offices of top state government officials, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (pictured, second from right). Sen. Brian Munzlinger and Rep. Tom Hurst, legislative hosts of the 2017 Academy, introduced delegates on the floor of the Missouri Senate and House, respectively.

Annual report showcases MU Extension's 'Commitment to Community'

MU Extension’s 2016 annual report, subtitled “Commitment to Community,” is available online and as a downloadable PDF. The online version includes supplemental content such as videos and web links. Along with program summaries and statistical data, the report highlights successful extension programs in the areas of development, education, environment, food and health. A print version is being distributed to extension council members. Please go to the link above to see the MU Extension annual report

Community Conversations conclude

Participants work in groups at the Community Conversation in Warrensburg.

MU Extension has hosted a series of community conversations across the state to collect the insights and opinions of a broad cross-section of community members. The facilitated discussions encouraged participants to identify what they saw as the major challenges and issues facing individuals, families, businesses and communities across Missouri.

The conversations, along with the findings of a quantitative needs assessment and a third-party review, will help MU Extension identify needs and opportunities, and continue to develop meaningful, actionable programs and priorities.

News for donors

headshot of Cat Comley AdamsCat’s Corner

Cat Comley Adams
Senior director of advancement

MIZZOU Receives AAU funding grant

Mizzou is one of 12 universities to receive a grant from the Association of American Universities to further existing efforts to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The $20,000 mini-grant will support faculty learning communities, departmental workshops, a symposium on STEM education reform and visits with experts in STEM reform. The other schools receiving grant support are the California Institute of Technology; Cornell University; Iowa State University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; McGill University; The University of Texas at Austin; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Kansas; University of Virginia; and Yale University.

News for retirees

Regional retiree meetings are a great place to reconnect with former co-workers and friends while also learning from a speaker of interest to the whole group and enjoying a good meal. On behalf of MU Extension’s Office of Advancement, we wish to invite you to the following gatherings in a community near you. Each meeting includes Dutch-treat lunch, an educational program, and ample time for networking and reconnecting with colleagues. We look forward to seeing you there!

April 13 — Gallatin

  • 11:30 a.m. at Gallatin Lion’s Club Building, 801 W. Grand
  • “Getting Acquainted: An Open Discussion about Extension in NW Missouri” presentation by Joe Lear, Regional Director for Northwest Region
  • RSVP to Bob Teegarden at or 660-425-5613

April 19 — Nevada

  • 11:30 a.m. at Nevada Senior Center, 301 N. Main St.
  • “Museums in Missouri” presentation by Dr. Michael Yonan, Assoc. Professor of Art History and Archaeology
  • RSVP to or 573-884-8570

April 20 — Ozark

  • 11:30 a.m. at Bric’s Belgium Waffle and Pancake House, 1882 W. James River Rd.
  • “225th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights” presentation by Dr. Marvin Overby, Professor of Political Science
  • RSVP to or 573-884-8570

April 21 — Sedalia

  • 11:30 a.m. at Best Western State Fair Inn, 3120 S. Limit Ave.
  • "Looking Forward-Building our Future Together" presentation by Mark Stewart, director of off-campus operations
  • RSVP to Owen Fox at or 660-826-3269

April 27 — Columbia

  • 11:30 a.m. at 44 Stone Public House, 3910 Peachtree Dr.
  • "Inside the 'Building Our Future Together' Process" Presentation by Blake Naughton, associate vice chancellor for extension and engagement
  • RSVP to or 573-884-8570

April 28 — Jackson

  • 10 a.m. coffee and donuts at MU Extension Center in Cape Girardeau County, 684 W. Jackson Trail. Following presentation, lunch at Delmonico’s Restaurant, 2961 Old Orchard Road
  • “Looking Forward—Building our Future Together” presentation by Mark Stewart, director of off-campus operations
  • RSVP to or 573-884-8570


News for councils

Building Our Future Together

Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement Marshall Stewart has mentioned in many messages the three-pronged effort that includes qualitative, quantitative and third-party review of MU Extension. With the conclusion of the out-state portion of the qualitative portion (the Community Conversations), now seemed like an appropriate time to give a quick update. The input from all three efforts is to be reviewed in May and June, and then used to inform MU Extension and Engagement on program needs and opportunities within our state.

  • Community Conversations (qualitative) – conducted using a process called World Café to encourage discussion and input from participants.
    • November-December 2016: Community conversation events were held with regional faculty and staff in all seven regions.
    • February-March 2017: Twenty-plus community conversations were held throughout the state reaching council members and other members of our local communities.
    • February-March 2017: Five events held on UM System campuses and Lincoln University.
    • Information from these sessions is being compiled and will be shared not only with extension programs but also with state and local government entities and other stakeholders.
  • Quantitative (want does the data tell us): This work group has identified the data to be mined and is working with CARES (Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems) to present this data in a way councils, faculty, staff and stakeholders can use in program identification and planning.
  • Third-party review: Two outside groups (TEConomy Partners LLC, a company that conducts functional and economic impacts, and a thought-leaders panel with members from universities across the United States) looking deep into our programs, assets and structure to understand how they impact the way we serve Missouri. They will in turn offer suggestions on improvements to increase our impact for Missouri. TEConomy Partners LLC was on campus in February and interviewed faculty and administrators. The thought-leaders panel will conduct interviews in May.


Campus Spotlight

Life Sciences Quest: Summer opportunity for high school students

Do you know a student interested in learning more about how science and agriculture influence our daily lives? Or how food and biotechnology interconnect with plant, animal and human genetics?

Hosted by CAFNR, Life Sciences Quest is a free five-day program for high-ability Missouri high school students graduating in 2018, 2019 or 2020. Students get hands-on lab experience, learn from experts in their fields, and travel to St. Louis for industry tours. The program, July 16-20, introduces students to an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to scientific discovery and highlights the unique opportunities in Missouri’s agriculture industry.

Applications due by April 1. Details are available on CAFNR’s Life Sciences Quest webpage.

Entrepreneurial experience

CAFNR alumni Doug and Emily Kueker inspire students to be entrepreneurial

Written by Lisa Thompson
Photos courtesy Doug and Emily Kueker

Agricultural education alumni Doug and Emily Kueker shared their experience of creating and sustaining their learning solutions business with CAFNR students. The Kuekers visited campus last fall to participate in CAFNR’s Reich Professor-for-a-Day Program. They spoke in four classes in the Agricultural and Applied Economics, Agricultural Education and Leadership, and Science and Agricultural Journalism departments, and met with many faculty and staff over the course of their day-and-a-half visit to campus, Oct. 31-Nov. 1.

Doug Kueker

Doug earned his B.S. in agricultural education and a minor in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri in 2003. He holds an M.S. Ed from Purdue University in educational psychology with an emphasis on achievement motivation. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in information sciences and learning technologies from the University of Missouri. Emily, whose maiden name is Wood, earned her B.S. in agricultural education, leadership and communications and a minor in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri in 2002. She also holds a master’s in business administration from Columbia College.

The pair co-owns Vivayic, which was founded in 2006 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Since then it has grown to more than 25 full- and part-time staff. Vivayic designs learning solutions – training programs and educational initiatives – in support of business and organizational goals. Clients include Fortune 100 companies with a global presence and not-for-profits that serve communities across the nation. One thing that makes Vivayic unique is that it is completely virtual. All employees work out of home offices in states including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Virginia and Wisconsin. This allows Vivayic to hire the employees who are the best fit for their organization, no matter their location. According to Emily, that is crucial to their success.

Emily Kueker

“The key is to surround yourself with peers and other colleagues who are supportive and willing to help you and share ideas,” she says. Students in Sharon Wood-Turley’s Introduction to Science and Agricultural Journalism Class were particularly interested in this notion and were eager to get advice on the importance of specific writing, designing and editing skill sets essential in today’s job market.

“I try to present a variety of career options to the students in my introductory class, and the way Emily and Doug have used their degrees to make their own path is inspiring,” Wood-Turley said. “I could see during the presentation that the students were engaged and intrigued by all the Kuekers have accomplished.”

The Kuekers’ remarks to the Agricultural Economics 3283 (Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship) class were especially meaningful. The students were inspired by how the Kuekers made their dream of owning their own successful business into a reality. “Doug and Emily Kueker led a rousing session of Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship during their Professor-for-a-Day experience,” says Randall Westgren, the McQuinn Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, who teaches the course. “The students were enthralled by the Kuekers’ experiences in building and managing a unique entrepreneurial consulting business – Vivayic – with networked partners across the United States and with strong relationships between their firm and a wide variety of organizations in the agri-food sector. The biggest takeaway was Vivayic’s commitment to designing a client relationship that delivers real value.”

Doug and Emily Kueker speak to an agricultural education course while visiting CAFNR in the fall.

Their message drove home the fact that starting your own business – to be entrepreneurial – is a risk and takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Doug and Emily both agree that they use what they learned in their degree program every day and that their extracurricular experiences have gone a long way in teaching them how to lead teams and that communication and listening skills are essential for success.

“No matter what field you’re in, leadership, communication and listening, most importantly, are key factors in being successful,” says Doug. “What I’ve learned is that I can be super-skilled, but more important than skills is follow-through. Showing up and doing what I say I’m going to do is the most essential thing I do each day.” Doug and Emily think their success also stems from basing their business on a set of core values that their entire team uses as a guiding star for interactions with each other and their clients, creating a fun place to work. In a nutshell, the focus is putting people ahead of profits. That’s not to say profit isn’t important, too, but if you nurture relationships and make sure you are giving your clients the best possible product, the rest will fall into place, they say. In 2016 Vivayic made Inc Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list. They also strongly believe in a culture of giving back, so they established the Vivayic Cares initiative that each year provides a match contribution to their team members’ local communities. Several members of their team serve on foundation boards and volunteer their time with different organizations. Emily gives of her time to the Mizzou Ag Alumni board (currently second vice president) and Doug sits on the Missouri 4-H Foundation board.

Vivayic employees also work on a project as a team with Field of Hope, a nongovernmental organization in Uganda that develops agriculture curriculum for orphanages. They recently had two team members travel to Uganda to witness firsthand the learning environment and better understand how Vivayic can develop training solutions to help students understand agriculture and food systems.

“We feel community is extremely important and I’m happy to continue to cultivate both local and agriculture communities through Vivayic Cares,” Emily says. CAFNR is very thankful for alums who are willing to give back by sharing their experiences – what works and what doesn’t – in the classroom setting as Doug and Emily have done. See more information about CAFNR’s Reich Professor-for-a-Day Program.


‘How to Own the Pond’

Gabriel Abdulai stands next to the latest thresher he has developed in his work area inside the Agricultural Engineering Building. Photo by Stephen Schmidt.

Bioengineering master's student works on creating cost-effective machinery to help farmers in his native Africa

Written by Stephen Schmidt

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Almost everyone probably has heard this proverb at some point in their lives, but Gabriel Abdulai has made an amendment to the saying: “Teach me how to own the pond, so that I never go around looking for a pond to fish at, because if I own the pond, I know the time to fish and I can determine the kind of fish to grow inside.” Abdulai, a native of Ghana, is a first-year master’s student in bioengineering in the Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering. The proverbial pond he talks about can be found in his homeland of Africa – and its ownership, Gabriel hopes, comes from fostering a sense of self-empowerment and entrepreneurship among his fellow Africans that mirrors his own.

Last August, before Gabriel made his first trip to the United States to begin his studies at the University of Missouri, he worked with local blacksmiths for two weeks at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) near Tamale, Ghana, to help build mechanized threshers.

These machines – two powered by gasoline motors, one powered through bicycle pedals – were made specifically for small-scale farmers to allow to them to expedite the process of separating the chaff and straw from crops – in this case, mainly soybeans – thanks to the continuing efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL). The lab is an initiative taking place in 11 African countries focused on supporting soybean production and improving farmer yields by using high-quality seed and inputs, extension information and appropriate-scale mechanization. MU has researchers doing work as part of the SIL team in Ghana, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia and Malawi.

In a part of the world where most of the threshing is done by smashing the soybeans and other crops with heavy sticks, threshers like the one Gabriel helped create could save farmers an immeasurable amount of time and effort. At the same time, if the blacksmiths are knowledgeable about how the threshers are built and maintained, they can create a value chain that has not existed with the few threshers in Ghana and other parts of Africa that are imported and meant for large-scale farming production.

“The idea of the thresher is to empower local economies. That’s very important because there’s a lot of joblessness in Africa and other parts of the world,” says Gabriel, whose father at one point worked as an agricultural extension agent in Ghana. “What we are doing is we are teaching the local blacksmiths how to own the pond. If I can design a thresher, that means I can meet the needs of the market of farmers and that means if I meet the needs of one farmer, he’s going to tell his other friends.”

Gabriel Abdulai demonstrates how soybeans are fed into the thresher he has designed. Photo by Stephen Schmidt.

Gabriel was born in the town of Bawku in the far northeast corner of Ghana, but would move to Tamale, about 155 miles southeast, when he was 8 years old. The middle child of three, Gabriel grew up with a desire to draw sketches of all sorts of objects – and to tinker with anything he could get his hands on. He recalls trying to repair his family’s TV or radio when they would malfunction, or even try to get extra stations on both devices. He also spent time working on his family’s small plot of land, helping to create ridges in the hilly ground, as well as plant and harvest crops. His family grew rice before switching to corn and most recently to soybeans.

As he progressed through school, Gabriel began to develop an affinity for science and mathematics. By the time he entered high school, he had his mind set on becoming a mechanical engineer. When he met with a career counselor, the man asked him if he had ever seen a mechanical engineer before. “I said, ‘No, I never have.’ He said if I’ve never seen one, I shouldn’t think about being an engineer. It was not encouraging to me, but it did not kill my dream,” Gabriel says.

He would go on to study agricultural engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, finishing his degree in 2012. Following graduation from a four-year school in Ghana, there is a mandate that graduates spend a year serving their country in a role related to their major. Gabriel ended up going to work at SARI.

Following his year of service, Gabriel accepted a permanent job as a senior workshop superintendent at SARI. One day in March 2014, he was told by his boss there was an American stopping by to assemble and distribute soybean success kits as part of the main SIL initiative – and that he should assemble a team from SARI to help her.

The American was Kerry Clark, a research associate in the Division of Applied Social Sciences who is a part of the MU team involved with SIL. Impressed with his work ethic, Kerry made a point of talking with Gabriel, who would later share with her three research papers he had written on his own. One of them involved a self-financed water quality study in nearby villages.

Using SARI’s water research institute, he tested for E. coli levels in surface water that the public had been using in spite the harmful effects caused by chemical runoff from fertilizers and the common practice of open defecation. He found the levels were significantly higher than what is deemed as safe by the World Health Organization.

Gabriel previously had only shown the papers to two other people. The meticulously researched documents all required dozens of hours of internet access, a service available in his part of Ghana only at an internet café with a per-hour access fee.

“I can’t say I have ever seen this kind of personal initiative in a U.S. student or employee,” Kerry says.

When she returned to Ghana a year later, Kerry saw Gabriel again and asked if he had ever thought about pursuing a master’s degree. The idea had come to him, but the source for funding it had not. That’s when Kerry told him about an opportunity for a graduate assistantship through a grant sponsored by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture related to controlling weeds in organic no-till farming.

As luck would have it, Kerry needed help to build a between-row mower for a tractor, to mow over any weeds that come up through a crimped cover crop. At the moment, that mower is currently one of many sketches in his numerous sketch pads.

During her travels, Kerry has encountered many young people interested in improving their lives by studying in the U.S.

“The difference with Gabriel was that he had showed that he had the capacity to do independent research and a strong drive because he was doing research on his own without funding,” she says.

‘It starts with me’

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Gabriel spends most of his time in a shop room at the Agricultural Engineering Building, working out the kinks of his thresher that were encountered by farmers – often with the help of senior research associates Gordon Ellison and Cliff Mongler. He plans to conduct work in the near future at the Bradford Research Center with the help of the staff there as well. When Kerry left for Ghana in late February for a two-week trip, she brought with her a manual for the new and improved threshers to share with the local blacksmiths of Tamale and beyond.

Gabriel can also be found often at China Garden, a Chinese buffet restaurant that has become his favorite place to eat in Columbia.

“They have foods that are very common to me,” he says, referring in particular to rice, noodles and the meat offerings.

Now six months into his time at Mizzou, Gabriel says his biggest takeaway from his experience has been the relationships that students and faculty have without the rigidity that can be found in Africa and other countries. He mentions how he can easily walk into the office of his adviser, Leon Schumacher, whenever he has an idea that he wants to share.

“I can just sit there and wait for him if he’s having a meeting,” Gabriel says. “And we just talk. I’m not afraid to express myself. In Ghana, it’s different.”

Leon, who is the chair of the agricultural systems management program, describes Gabriel as “gregarious” and “outgoing.”

“I think the single biggest thing is that his fellow students immediately recognized his talents and they accepted him. That’s a pretty strong statement,” Leon says. “Here’s an individual who’s from an entirely different part of the world who has an entirely different set of constructs, yet he will step into a classroom situation and he will add to any discussion. He’s not the guy who hangs off to the side and just kind of listens.”

Following an event on Nov. 2 to honor the 100th anniversary of the division’s agricultural engineering origins, Gabriel took the time to write out an essay tying the history of the practice to the current issues in Africa.

In the essay, he mentions that more than 50 percent of farmers in Ghana are still using hand tool technology, with about 70 percent of the population directly or indirectly involved in agriculture – compared with the less than 1 percent of Americans involved in agriculture through the wonders of modern mechanized agriculture.

“Agricultural engineers need to be empowered to think outside the box and to produce agricultural machines that are suited for Africa’s dynamic and rough environment – machines that are easily adaptable, easy to use and maintain,” he writes.

After finishing his master’s degree in either 2018 or 2019, Gabriel hopes to pursue his doctorate so that he could one day become a professor of engineering with an emphasis in agricultural machinery development for small-scale farmers. He also wants to get a consulting company related to cost-effective machinery, called Mech4africa, off the ground. He registered the business in Ghana before he left for MU.

“Young people like him are what Africa needs to get ahead because they have so many things going against them,” Kerry says. “And so meeting somebody who is young and entrepreneurial and who has ideas and just needs a little bit of help to put those ideas in place, if we can help those people, I think we can really make changes in Africa.”

“I think about Africa,” Gabriel says. “I think that if Africa develops, it starts with me.”


Call to action

In each issue, Vice Chancellor Marshall Stewart will feature a different, relevant call to action. These are ways you can advocate or get involved that will help extension get the word out or maximize our message to decision-makers.

I encourage each of you that advocate for MU Extension by continuing to invite and engage local influencers to attend programs and activities in your county or region. Building awareness for what we offer, and the impact it has, remains vitally important to continued financial and word-of-mouth support for what we do. No one is better positioned than you are to know whom to engage with and to personally invite to see our work in action. Let us know the steps you take so we can inspire others to do likewise!

Also, don’t forget to submit your important dates to Linda Runnebaum, who can get extra exposure for you in this newsletter to further reach external audiences.

– Marshall Stewart


March 31, 3-4:30 p.m. – Retirement party for Mark Stillwell
Room 113, 1110 S. College Ave., Columbia.


No gifts, but donations to the Epsilon Sigma Phi Foundation in Mark's name are welcome. RSVP to Sherry Howard at or 573-882-8986.


April 1, 2-4 p.m. – Reception for retiring NW region director Karma Metzgar
Remington Nature Center, 1502 McArthur Drive, St. Joseph.


A memory book for Karma is being created. If you would like to contribute items, bring them to the reception or send them to MU Extension NW Regional Office, c/o Jill Knadler, 706 S. Woodbine Road, Suite A, St. Joseph MO 64507.


April 5, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. – U.S. Soybean Symposium
Bond Life Sciences Center, Columbia.


Save the date for the next symposium hosted by the Missouri Soybean Center. Itinerary and other details will be available at


Election time resources for extension councils

Did you know…?

Inside the Council Resource Toolbox, under the “Council elections” tab, you will find a wealth of forms, guidelines and information on Council Elections. In addition to Mark Stewart, our director of off-campus operations, being your go-to person for council-related issues, this section can provide you with a wealth of easy-to-find information.

Because this is the time of year when some folks step down from councils following their terms of service, we have also updated the certificates of appreciation for vacating council members under the Awards and recognition tab.


Please welcome

David Black, family financial education specialist, Vernon County, WC Region.

Renee Christensen, assistant extension professional and human development specialist, Osage County, EC Region.

Alexandra Ethridge, editor, communications and marketing, MU campus.

Blake Gazaway, 4-H specialist, Pettis County, WC Region.

Christal Huber, 4-H specialist, Cole County, EC Region.

Brooke Jameson, 4-H youth specialist, Boone County.

Jarrod McDaniel, youth program associate, Jackson County.

Christy Smithee, office manager, Howard County.


Sandra Angel, wife of retired extension area director Ralph Angel, passed away Feb. 13 at the age of 80. Obituary.

Larry Dickerson, retired Boone County community development specialist, passed away Feb. 18 at the age of 69. His wife, Darcy, will host an informal memorial celebration 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at Shakespeare’s Pizza South, 3911 Peachtree Drive, Columbia. If you wish to send a card of condolence to the family, send to Darcy Dickerson and family, 550 E. Clearview Drive, Columbia, MO 65202. Obituary.

Don Larkin, brother of Montgomery County community development specialist and CPD Dean Larkin, passed away Jan. 21. Memorial contributions are suggested to the New Florence Baptist Church, c/o Schlanker Funeral Home, 207 Danville Road, Montgomery City, MO 63361. Obituary.

New arrivals

Congratulations to Boone County health and nutrition specialist Megan Samson and her husband, Adam, on the birth of their first child, Benjamin Adam, on Nov. 18.

Sarah Kenyon, agronomy specialist and CPD in Howell County, and her husband, Josh, are proud to announce the arrival of Jacob Arthur Kenyon, born March 7. Jacob weighed 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces, and was 21.25 inches long. "He looks like Josh," Sarah reports, "and we think he is going to have red hair!"


Connect with us

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Extension and Engagement, Constituent Relations, and the Office of Advancement have teamed up to share news of interest through this e-newsletter, which replaces the printed Friends of Extension newsletter. In this fast-paced world where news happens quickly, an emailed newsletter not only saves resources, it helps us to be timelier in getting information out to you and keeping you up to date. We want to be your Network — and another valuable link to MU Extension.

Is your contact information up to date? Don’t miss another meeting or event. Make sure we have your current mailing and email addresses.

Have other items you’d like to hear about or comments on what you read? Let us know what you’d like to see from us! If that includes retirements, obituaries and personal news, please continue to send them to us and let us know if you have changes to your contact information.

headshot of Linda Runnebaum

Linda Runnebaum
109 Whitten Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

The Network