Upsilon Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi

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Epsilon Sigma Phi - 2019 Award Winners

State Meritorious Support Service

Roberta “Robbi’ Hopkins, Extension Administrative Assistant - Ransom County

Bobbi Hopkins

Roberta “aka Robbi” Hopkins has been an integral part of the Ransom County Extension office for 25 years. Robbi started working as temporary summer support, helping get organized for the fair and many other events. Robbi became more and more involved in the day-to-day activities of the office and eventually was changed to a full-time position due to her enthusiasm and “can do” work ethic. Robbi is very active and helpful with the Ransom County 4-H program and is the “go to” person for computers. The Ransom County Extension staff say, “Even though we may not tell her often enough, we couldn’t do our jobs without her. We are so fortunate to have her as part of our team in Ransom County.”

State Distinguished Service

Marcia Hellandsaas, Extension Agent, Family and Community Wellness – McKenzie County

Marcia Hellandsaas








Marcia’s passion for 4-H and Family and Consumer Science programs led her to Extension 29 years ago. Her passion has helped others learn and grow throughout her Extension career. Her programming has included reaching out to the elderly with Stepping On and Powerful Tools for Caregivers as well as youth with three curriculums in county schools and the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Marcia is also very effective in partnering with community groups to strengthen the connection of bringing research to the citizens of McKenzie County and North Dakota.

State Early Career Service

Angie Johnson, Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resources – Steele County

Angie Johnson

In Angie's four years as an NDSU Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Development Extension agent, she has developed, collaborated with, conducted research on and implemented many programs to meet the needs of her clientele in the county, state and region. She has worked with volunteers to increase enrollment in the county 4-H program back to enrollment levels that were seen in the mid-80s for Steele County. She worked with Extension professionals from 13 other states to develop a strong biosecurity program for crop production that has been used across the nation.

State Mid-Career Service

Meagan Scott, Assistant Professor and 4-H Youth Development Specialist

Meagan Scott

Meagan has a passion for youth development. As a county 4-H agent in Mississippi State University Extension, she encouraged her youth to try new projects and get involved beyond the county. She trained several state-winning teams and had several state 4-H Leadership Team members and officers. She formed many partnerships with community members, which grew her program to one of the largest in Mississippi. As a state 4-H specialist at NDSU, she enjoys coaching new agents and creating resources for them. Recently, Meagan established a partnership with South Dakota to form Strengthening the Heartland, a program targeting opioid misuse prevention. Meagan also won the North Central Region Mid-Career Service Award from National ESP.

State Visionary Leadership

Julie Garden-Robinson, Professor and Food and Nutrition Specialist

Julie Garden-Robinson

Julie has been with NDSU Extension for more than 21 years. She has used her multidisciplinary educational background in forming teams with Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences; Animal Sciences; Plant Sciences – Horticulture, 4-H Youth Development; Pharmacy; Sociology; and 16 commodity groups, government agencies and professional organizations. She and her collaborators have received more than $13 million in grants that connect nutrition, food safety, agriculture and health. Julie has developed numerous national, regional and state award-winning programs, columns and curricula. Examples include Global Food Safety, Spilling the Beans, On the Pulse of Healthful Eating, On the Move to Better Health and Healthwise for Guys. 

State International Service

Marie Hvidsten, Rural Leadership Specialist and RLND Program Director

Marie Hvidsten

Marie has led the Rural Leadership North Dakota for 17 years. Over the past 8 years, she has taken groups to different countries to learn about their culture, agriculture and people. They have traveled to six countries: Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Thailand, Vietnam and Chile. She researches each country to prepare participants for these international experiences.


State Distinguished Team

North Dakota Soil and Water Conservation Leadership Academy
Bruce Schmidt, Andrea Bowman, Jodi Bruns, Lynette Flage, Marie Hvidsten, Katelyn Hain and Jim Collins (L-R)


Schmidt, Bowman and Bruns

Hvidsten, Flage, Hain

James collins

This Leadership Academy is a partnership of NDSU Extension, the North Dakota Health Department and ND State Soil Conservation. The team created leadership materials for governing boards that deal with water and soil issues, such as effective communication, navigating conflict successfully and ethics. The Leadership Academy also included training specific to the basics of watershed hydrology and their stewardship and management. Participants in the Leadership Academy said the program opened their eyes to leadership and their crucial role in water and soil conservation.

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