Upsilon Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi


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Epsilon Sigma Phi - 2017 Awards

Biographies of 2017 ESP award winners

2017 Award Winners

See our news release for photos taken at conference.

State Meritorious Support Service – Dawn Alderin, Administrative Assistant, Oliver County


Dawn developed and maintains the county webpage. She also posts Facebook blogs that disseminate Extension information effectively. Dawn has gained tremendous respect from the support staff in the surrounding counties because of her technical skills and knowledge of 4-H. Because of her work in maintaining the Community Garden Boxes, the Olive County office received the county Soil Conservation District’s Community Service Award. Dawn also has been a strong supporter of Extension and 4-H in Oliver County for many years as a volunteer. She and her husband, Lee, led the effort to start a county fair more than 27 years ago and have served as volunteers since then.

State Meritorious Support Service – Vicki Miller, Administrative Office Manager, Center for Community Vitality


Vicki is an asset to the NDSU Extension Service because she is positive, professional, detail-oriented and thorough in her work. Vicki understands the importance of keeping detailed records and is meticulous about providing needed documentation for grants. She also is a team player and consistently works to benefit the organization, and she fulfills requests quickly and cheerfully. In addition, Vicki has handled a great deal of change in the Bismarck office as the result of retirements, a move and multiples changes of responsibilities with grace, hard work and efficiency.

Early Career Service – Esther McGinnis, Assistant Professor and Horticulturist


Esther has reinvigorated the Master Gardener program by improving the Master Garden core course, expanding the number of volunteer opportunities available to Master Gardeners and enhancing continuing education opportunities for them. As a result, the number of active Master Gardener volunteers and interns has increased by 171 percent, and volunteer service hours have increased by 310 percent. In addition, Master Gardeners instituted a food donation project and a pollinator program, and  built 18 public pollinator gardens to use as teaching gardens. Master Gardeners are using the gardens to inspire homeowners to build their own pollinator gardens and adopt sustainable pesticide practices.

Mid-Career Service – Marie Hvidsten, Rural Leadership Specialist


Marie has been a rural leadership specialist and director of Extension’s Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND) program since 2002. Her vision, leadership and professional tenacity resulted in the development of the RLND program in 2003. RLND has empowered the nearly 150 people from 73 communities and 37 counties who have graduated from the program. Marie is highly respected by her peers in rural leadership development nationally and internationally for her efforts to help North Dakotans gain leadership skills and provide them with opportunities to develop their talents.

Distinguished Service – Andrew Thostenson, Pesticide Program Specialist


Andrew teaches producers and pesticide applicators how to control pests with pesticides without harming themselves, the public or the environment. He relies on technology, as well as colleagues who are the experts in weed management, plant pathology, entomology, toxicology, application engineering and environmental regulation to educate his intended audiences. Andrew has been a member and president of the American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and received two distinguished service awards from the organization. He also served as co-chair of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-sponsored Pesticide Certification and Training Assessment Group and has received a distinguished service award from the EPA.

Visionary Leadership – Greg Endres, Area Cropping Systems Specialist


Greg’s focus is on providing in-service training programs (field and classroom) for Extension agricultural agents and crop advisers. He chairs the Advanced Crop Adviser Workshop and Crop Management Field School. He also is a North Dakota leader in soybean production research and educational programs. In addition, Greg is the author or co-author of numerous Extension crop production and protection publications. As a result of his efforts, he has received numerous honors, including the North Dakota Achievement and Distinguished Service awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, and North Dakota Certified Crop Adviser of the Year and North Dakota-Manitoba No-till Association’s Non-farmer of the Year awards.

Administrative Leadership – Charlie Stoltenow, Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Leader


Charlie assumed leadership of NDSU Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program in 2013 and has created and instituted a number of initiatives that have moved the program forward. Those initiatives include an online system that allows county-based ANR agents to provide feedback on ANR specialists. He also started the North Central ANR Academy. It is designed to create a multistate group of talented and innovative Extension professionals who will develop multistate educational products for their colleagues throughout the North Central region.

Friend of Extension – Bill Davis, Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development


Bill has been a strong advocate and partner with NDSU Extension through joint projects, conferences and activities throughout his career. He has been with USDA Rural Development  for 19 years, working to improve the economic vitality of the state. Prior to joining the agency, he worked for all levels of government, as well as a private consultant in community planning and economic development. Bill was been instrumental in partnering with Extension on the Rewriting the Rural Narrative conferences in 2016 and 2017. The conference is held annually to assist local developers with ideas, networking opportunities and resources to help them in their work. He also helped secure funding for the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program in Logan, McIntosh and Emmons counties so Extension could help communities in that region understand ways to work together to build a strong regional economy.

Bill is a native of Devils Lake and lives with his wife, Susan, in Mandan.

Friend of Extension – Dale Ihry, Executive Director, North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and North Dakota Corn Growers Association


Dale, who spent more than 30 years with the Farm Service Agency in North Dakota, has been a longtime champion for the NDSU Extension Service. As director in charge of the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for North Dakota in 2015-2016, he was instrumental in partnering with the NDSU Extension Service on the delivery of ARC and PLC educational programs to producers and others across the state.

Through this partnership, approximately 15,000 producers interacted with a county-based Extension agent. This was the first time many of those producers had been in an Extension county office or worked with with a county-based Extension agent.

Dale was born and raised on the family farm near Hope, N.D. The family raised wheat, feed, grain, sunflowers and cattle. Dale and his wife, Brenda, live in Fargo. He has three children and two grandchildren.

Friend of Extension – Renae Korslien, General Manager, North Dakota State Fair


Renae began her career with the North Dakota State Fair in 1974. She served in various roles, and was named assistant manager in 2008 and general manager in 2010. She says the best part of her job is working with the youth of North Dakota. During the fair, she’s often looking out of her office window because it gives her the perfect view of youth preparing their animals for showing.

She has served on the North Dakota Association of Fairs board, including as president in 2005-2006, and was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 2006. The Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs named her Manager of the Year in 2012. She also served on the International Association of Fairs board and has received several FFA recognitions.

The Newburg, N.D., native is a graduate of Newburg High School, Minot State University and the Institute of Fair Management, and received her Certified Fair Executive designation from the International Association of Fairs. She has two sons and six grandchildren.

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