Floyd County board members represent a variety of perspectives. For example, board member Rebecca Gardenour also serves on the school board. Robin Fletcher is a patent attorney who successfully sought appointment to the local planning commission. Maria White, a teacher and native of Ecuador , put her bilingual skills to work for Purdue Extension when she accompanied an educator to a health fair designed for the county's Spanish-speaking community. Another bilingual board member, Diego Morales, hails from Mexico ; he works in the local office of Congressman Mike Sodrel and has helped to open communication between his employer and Purdue Extension.
While it's difficult to characterize a “typical” Extension board member, most combine their work on behalf of Purdue Extension with involvement in government, business, education, volunteerism, the faith community or media. John Lang, past Vermillion County Extension Board president, wasn't sure he had the right credentials to serve, especially since he had little knowledge of agriculture in a heavily agricultural county. “But I want to make a contribution to the extent that I can,” he explains. Lang helped convince the county council to expand a half-time Extension educator position to full time. His board's proactive approach also laid solid groundwork for the office's possible future move. He continues to build on that knowledge as area secretary for the Purdue Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (PCARET).
After six years on the board, Lang says, “I learned a great deal about the programs and research projects that Purdue University is undertaking across the state in the area of agriculture.”
Committed board members like Lang are the “eyes and ears” for Extension in communities across Indiana , Petritz says. “The capabilities of members of Extension boards are critically important to the success of county Extension programs.”
A sampler of success