eXtension Welcomes Program Manager, Instructional Technologist, and Two Fellows

eXtension is thrilled to welcome three new faces (and one familiar face in a new role) to staff meetings.

Impact Collaborative Program Manager

After serving and guiding communities and professional development for the eXtension Foundation for many years, Ashley Griffin has accepted a new role as the Impact Collaborative Program Manager to design the process of the 2017-2018 Impact Collaboratives. Ashley has devoted her career to the work of the Cooperative Extension Service beginning as an Extension Associate coordinating equine youth activities for Kentucky and national programs then later as a Communications Specialist for the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“I am especially excited about the new direction of the Impact Collaborative and the potential impact it has for all Extension professionals to create innovative approaches to local programming. These new strategies have impressive potential for professionals who are willing to embrace design thinking by uplifting and energizing the work they do every day. What an amazing time to be an Extension professional and for me to personally have the opportunity to be a part of this process. Every element of my background will be drawn upon to make the new Impact Collaborative an exciting and valuable experience to our eXtension Foundation members and the Cooperative Extension Service.”

You can contact Ashley at ashley.griffin@extension.org

Instructional Technologist

molly immendorfMolly is joining eXtension after almost 19 years working for the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension as an Instructional Design and Technology Specialist. She holds an M.S. In Curriculum and Instruction, concentrating in Educational Communications and Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, one of their two sons, and two very fat cats.

I am excited to join eXtension as the new Instructional Technologist for the Impact Collaborative because I will be able to work with a visionary, future-oriented team that supports Extension colleagues to make a difference on local issues across the country. I anticipate the breath of issues and projects will be varied. I enjoy finding solutions together that will meet the unique needs of you, your learners, and programs.

I am passionate about learning and enhancing learning through the use of technology solutions. I will share my enthusiasm, tips and techniques to help colleagues grow professionally. I’m also curious about gadgets- both tech and cooking. Ask me what’s the latest gadget I’m having fun with. I’m always experimenting with a new one.

You can contact Molly at mollyimmendorf@extension.org

Food Systems Fellow

melanie weirAs a creative designer and food system researcher, Melanie focuses on artistic expression, community leadership, diversity in entrepreneurship, and urban food system growth and development. As a strategic advisor, Melanie has worked on projects that inspire her and that are aligned with creating a better Earth and better communities in a world value system focused on people and planet.

She is passionate about the intersection of innovation, technology, design, research and emerging markets. Melanie has spent her last decade collaborating on community-focused projects. Her most recent work has been bridging her love of design and improvisation in ‘collaborative platform development for social impact’ including work with organizations such as the North American Food System Network, CropMobster and Open IDEO’s Food Waste Alliance, Sirolli Institute, the International Food Blogger’s Association, Sacramento’s Urban Ag Coalition and UC ANR’s Innovation Vine Collaborative.

“What excites me most about joining the Impact Collaborative is working with a creative team, exploring ways to amplify the social impact of Extension professionals by expanding on their knowledge of design thinking and building on a pre-tested program that provides skills, training and that provides creative license to explore new ideas with creative confidence in a team setting. As a Food System Impact Fellow, I get to study, explore and work with creatives shaping ideas that can impact the future. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my time.”

You can contact Melanie at melanieweir@extension.org

Digital Green Fellow

jennifer cookJennifer Cook will serve as the eXtension Digital Green Fellow and will work to pilot the innovative technology platform of Digital Green with selected Impact Collaborative projects.

She holds an MS in Agriculture from Colorado State University. Inspired by traveling and trying new ideas, Jennifer has developed innovative programming and education for her clients in Colorado. She hopes to foster a partnership with US Extension agents and Digital Green in developing a few pilot programs that use software to streamline food system market linkages.

“I am really excited to expand Extension engagement and develop programming ideas in food systems and explore the connections with an innovative technology platform.”

You can contact Jennifer at jennifer.cook@colostate.edu

What’s Next?

We are close to announcing the Behavioral Health and Diversity & Inclusion Fellows for the Impact Collaborative. Stay tuned!