Upsilon Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi


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Epsilon Sigma Phi - 2018 Award Winners

2018 Award Winners

State Meritorious Support Service – Cindy Entze, Extension Administrative Assistant | Mercer County

Cindy has taken on many responsibilities for the county and state. In 2012, she served on the state Support Staff Conference planning committee.

Cindy is the first to lend a helping hand to others and is not afraid to try new things. She has helped numerous support staff learn new programs such as 4-Honline and the pesticide program. Often, during her own busiest times, Cindy will get a call from another county asking for help with creating reports in 4honline. She never hesitates or says she’s too busy, but always provides assistance in a pleasant and professional manner.

The West River Judging Contest requires about 75 volunteers. Cindy is primarily responsible for keeping track of these individuals and the tasks they need to accomplish.

Cindy is motivated to keep learning new skills. She participates in numerous webinar trainings. She has been a mentor for other support staff in helping them learn when needed. Cindy is not afraid to fail or try something new.

State Meritorious Support Service – Jan Hanson, Extension Administrative Assistant | McLean County

Jan has been employed as the administrative assistant in the McLean County Extension office for 12 years. She has seen many changes of how things operate in a county office, particularly with technology. Jan has gone from taking dictation to updating the county website in Ag CMS. She continues to update the website and post current items to the county and 4-H Facebook pages. Jan also has implemented the new nd4honline system, and the county’s 4-H families rely on her knowledge and patience in guiding them through the enrollment process.

Jan served as a McLean County 4-H Council director from 2007 to 2014, and her children were active in 4-H as members of the Lakeside 4-H club. She created a Qualtrics survey for 4-H members to vote online for county king and queen candidates. Her diligence and finesse in managing the county fair and 4-H activity day registrations is much needed and appreciated.

Early Career Service – Andrew Friskop, Plant Pathologist

Andrew became the NDSU cereal Extension plant pathologist in 2013 and has established a strong program in delivering management information for economically important diseases of small grains and corn. He has given more than 160 Extension talks, been a PI or co-PI on 20 research grants and has been an author on seven referred journal articles. His Extension-driven applied research program has focused on developing management tools for North Dakota growers.

Mid-Career Service – Carrie Knutson, Extension Agent, Horticulture | Grand Forks County

Carrie has been an agent-in-training, 4-H agent, and horticulture agent and county coordinator. She has outstanding organizational skills, leadership abilities, and success growing partnerships and developing unique programming. She and community partners developed their FLAMES youth leadership program into a statewide curriculum. She has developed Junior Master Gardeners, youth gardens and after-school programs and helps lead regional events such as Special Assignment Pizza. She provides interactive educational activities to engage youth, volunteers and community members. She is respected as a leader and team player with dedicated passion.

Distinguished Service – Dean Aakre, 4-H Youth Development Specialist

Dean has been with NDSU Extension since 1983. He served as assistant county agent and county agent in Stutsman County, 4-H activity coordinator and 4-H youth specialist. He has coordinated the 4-H division of the North Dakota State Fair for 30 years. Dean leads Real Colors for new staff orientation and co-coordinated two Real Colors training/certification sessions in North Dakota. He says his greatest joy in Extension has been the opportunity to witness youth grow and develop into community-minded adults who give generously of their time and talents for benefit to others.

Visionary Leadership – Vanessa Hoines, Extension Agent, Family and Community Wellness | Morton County


Vanessa's passion for 4-H led her to Extension, but she has remained in Extension because of her passion for teaching and working with people. Her programming includes Stepping On and Powerful Tools for Caregivers, a skill-building curriculum for caregivers. Students have the opportunity to learn about healthy choices through On The Move Jr. and On The Move. Vanessa also partners with community groups to strengthen the connection of research to the community.

Administrative Leadership – Jim Gray, West District Director

Jim began his Extension career in 2013 as the Northeast District Director. He then became the Southwest District Director and now serves as the West District Director following the district reorganization earlier this year. Jim works with Extension agents as well as county commissioners in the district and is encouraged by the support received by commissioners for the Extension agents in each county. These decision makers highly value the work our local agents do, and Jim works tirelessly to get vacancies filled and support for local work.

Friend of Extension – Chris Boerboom, Retired NDSU Extension Director

Chris especially values the impacts of 4-H on North Dakota’s youth, which also is reflected in families’ support for the program. His attraction to NDSU Extension was its county-based system, which supports local needs in addition to state needs extremely well. He’s proud to have continued supporting that system and all that it entails, which are the talented agents and specialists who are focused on serving the state. Chris says it's an incredible team, and he was pleased to be a part of it. The 2015 listening sessions and 2017 review confirmed that Extension is needed and valued in North Dakota.

Friend of Extension – Michael Miller, Director and Bibliographer, NDSU Libraries and Germans from Russia Heritage Collection

Michael has facilitated relationships between organizations/individuals and NDSU Extension, including the ND Heritage Center, Prairie Public Television, the NDSU Center for Heritage Renewal, the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and many others.

In 2009, Extension supported Michael’s first Dakota Memories Heritage Tour, which led to the Tri-County (Emmons, Logan and McIntosh) Tourism Alliance. In 2014, Extension agents, Michael and others received a Program Excellence award for their German-Russian Country: Prairie Legacy work.

Michael uses Extension resources in much of his work. He helped bring Stronger Economies Together to the area, featured 4-H members in the “Gutes Essen: Good Eating in German-Russian Country” and works with Extension agents in many other ways.

Friend of Extension – Kendall Nichols, Director of Research, N.D. Soybean Council

Kendall has greatly supported soybean research and educational programs for NDSU Extension and the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station. The council has provided financial support for numerous research trials and projects for soybean plant establishment, nutrition and protection. Examples include supporting the soybean cyst nematode soil sampling project and research trials to build the soybean plant establishment database. Kendall’s support provided the foundation for Extension staff in-service training tours including soybean rust in Florida (2009), sudden death syndrome in Minnesota (2016), and Palmer amaranth identification and management in Nebraska (2017). He not only provides support for these programs but also participates with enthusiasm.

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