2017 Award Recipients

Top 10 Projects (alphabetical order)


Collaborative Community Engagement: Experiential Learning through Extension 

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_l1446i1r

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Sam Angima, Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Leader
  • Katie Gaebel, Experiential Learning Coordinator, College of Agricultural Sciences   
  • Jonathan Velez, Leadership Academy Leader, College of Agricultural Sciences  
  • Susie Brubaker-Cole, Vice Provost for Student Affairs  
  • Emily Henry, OSU Open Campus Education Coordinator, University Outreach and Engagement
  • Mary Stewart, Regional Communication, Agritourism Leader and County Leader, OSU Extension Service - Marion County
  • 2015-2016 College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Academy Cohort (20 students)


A multi-disciplinary effort involving OSU students, faculty and stakeholders transformed student learning by engaging communities as equal partners to determine issues and develop solutions for identified problems. The need is based on current research showing that students involved in experiential learning activities have better graduation rates, higher retention and better grades. Extension, as the most engaged mission of the land-grant university system, has a lot to offer in terms of experiential and service learning opportunities to all OSU students.

Extension faculty were asked to suggest programs that engage the community in solving problems. Students chose two projects: the Juntos program in Tillamook (parents and students) and the Agritourism program (farmers) in Marion and Polk counties. With funding made possible by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, students set specific schedules to travel and interact with stakeholders, listen, plan, and learn together with the community in solving specific problems. They devised methods of engagement with stakeholders, made online, phone and face-to-face visits, arranged on-site trips, and invited community members to visit campus as part of the co-creation and reciprocal engagement. They made presentations highlighting learned outcomes and how these affected their lives, career choices and the communities they worked in.

There are four impacts of these programs:

  1. The students (many, for the first time) experienced first-hand, the power of engaging with communities and being part of the solutions, e.g. helping minority students understand financial aid processes/college scholarships and farmers share mechanisms of hosting visitors on-farm.
  2. College of Agricultural Sciences offering a new student class in Extension & Engagement for career preparation in Engagement.
  3. Invigorated colleges’ policy discussions on having every student participate in at least one experiential learning opportunity before graduation.
  4. A scholarly article on outcomes is being submitted to the Journal of Extension.

Community Partners Involved

  • Tillamook County Hispanic students and families
  • Marion and Polk County farmers, ranchers, and growers


Creating an Ecosystem of Engaged Engineering 

Video:  https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_rptankmx

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Chinweike I. Eseonu, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Loren Chavarria Bechtel, Senior Instructor of Spanish and Spanish for Heritage Language Learners Program Director, College of Liberal Arts
  • Jeff Sherman, OSU Open Campus/Special Initiatives Leader, University Outreach and Engagement


In 2014, Erin Cech published a paper in which she described a “culture of disengagement” from social consideration in engineering disciplines. Her findings suggest that engineering students arrive on campus ready to “change the world” but leave four (or more) years later after having had this desire “trained out” of them (Cech, 2014). This culture of disengagement is problematic because:

  • The land grant mission is, in part, to translate university generated knowledge to practical benefit for communities
  • The Oregon State University strategic plan includes a goal to “strengthen [OSU’s] impact and reach throughout Oregon and beyond”
  • The OECD (2000) lists science, technology, and innovation as keys to sustained economic development.

Given the lasting effects of timber industry decline and rural/urban division (Hibbard, 2011), there is an urgent need for an ecosystem of engaged engineering to identify opportunities for technology innovation. The aim is to enhance workforce and long term economic development in support of Oregon-wide goals like 40-40-20.

The OSU team presented its vision for community driven technology innovation and investment (CDTII) at Regards2Rural 2013. This approach builds on Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) by applying engineering design methods to “pull” community design ideas. One of the ideas fused industrial, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering: the Sope project.

In 2014, a group of three engineering students developed a device that reduced sope production time by 50%, reduced risk of burnt fingers during sope preparation, and brought the Monroe partners closer to their goal of supplying sopes to the local co-op. Del Corazon Sopes has now expanded their vision to include catering services. Listen to them explain how this project impacted their lives (start video at about 9 minutes, 19 seconds): https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_4xepzxgd

Community Partners Involved

  • Del Corazon Sopes
  • Monroe City Council (donated community kitchen for food preparation)


Cyberlab - Leveraging emerging observation technologies to advance the art and science of engagement  

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_zqmkj4m1

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Shawn Rowe, Associate Professor, College of Education
  • Mark Farley, Cyberlab Project Manager, Oregon Sea Grant


Nearly 14 years ago, Oregon Sea Grant made a strategic decision to deepen its commitment to understanding how people learn in non-formal contexts by establishing a Free Choice Learning (FCL) program.  Such understanding is fundamental to outreach and engagement, particularly for groups and individuals in communities outside of the University campus. 

In a recent project, initiated in 2011 with support from the National Science Foundation, FCL researchers established the “Cyberlaboratory” at the Visitor Center (VC) in the Hatfield Marine Science Center.  The VC is open to the public, and is an interactive science center that hosts more than 150,000 visitor annually and features live animal and interactive educational exhibits. The Cyberlab’s observation system utilizes a network of emergent technologies such as face recognition and video analytics that allow learning and engagement researchers from all over the world an unprecedented opportunity to study behavior, capture responses and adapt content to visitor needs. Data on visitor behavior in the VC supports research projects ranging from best practices in promoting STEM learning to understanding more about how families learn together.

In two recent examples, Cyberlab worked with researchers from the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning to expand their expertise in mobile video data collection to conduct a large-scale nation-wide data collection project. This included sharing experiences and technology around video collection in public spaces, a new and challenging method of data collection. They also worked directly with the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut to extend the development of one of the Cyberlab’s primary research platforms into a teaching tool for Coast Guard Cadets. Cyberlab faculty worked with Coast Guard instructors to adapt the flume tank – a tool for STEM research – as a training platform for officers and enlisted members to learn about fluid dynamics, hull design, and tsunami debris. 

Community Partners Involved

There is an almost endless, and growing, list of partners on this project including:

  • Oregon State Parks
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Fishermen Interested in Natural Energy
  • Department of Energy
  • US Coast Guard
  • National Atmospheric and Space Administration
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Oregon Trawl Commission
  • Oregon Albacore Commission
  • Oregon Crab Commission
  • City of Coos Bay
  • City of Newport,
  • Port of Newport
  • Port of Coos Bay
  • City of Bandon
  • Oregon Coast Aquarium
  • Discovery Tours
  • Lincoln County Board of Commissioners
  • Hawaii Dept of State Lands
  • Hawaii Sea Grant
  • California Sea Grant
  • MIT Sea Grant
  • Oregon Dept. of Emergency Management
  • Oregon Invasive Species Council
  • University of Washington College of Engineering
  • Surfrider Foundation
  • Oregon Coast Community College
  • National Science Foundation


Get Outdoors Day at Peavy Arboretum

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_3ztmfbnj

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Stephen Fitzgerald, Director, Research Forests, College of Forestry
  • Brent Klumph, Timber Program Manager, College of Forestry
  • Carol Carlson, College Forests, College of Forestry
  • Stephen Pilkerton, Engineer and Operations Manager, Research Forests, College of Forestry
  • Matt McPharlin, Recreation Field Coordinator/Volunteer Coordinator, Research Forests, College of Forestry
  • Ryan Brown, Recreation and Engagement Program Manager, Research Forests, College of Forestry
  • Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, Benton County
  • Maggie Livesay, Extension 4-H Youth Development and County Leader, Benton County
  • Jody Einerson, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, Benton County
  • Tina Dodge-Vera, Family and Community Health Extension, Linn County


American kids spend half as much time outside as they did 20 years ago, (Juster et al, 2004). This poses significant concerns for the future of natural resource conservation, as well as public health. In Benton County, 35% of adults are overweight, including 21% classified as obese (Benton County, 2012), and a lack of outdoor education and recreation opportunities for youth has been identified as a local issue. (OSU Extension Service, 2013).

Starting in 2013, the OSU College of Forestry Research Forests, OSU Benton and Linn County Extension Offices, and Benton County Health Department have sponsored a National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) event at Peavy Arboretum, north of Corvallis. Our local event aims to create an inclusive, welcoming, fun, free community event, intended to connect low income, English language learners, first time visitors, youth, and families with the benefits of getting outdoors to experience nature. The event features transportation from Title 1 schools in Corvallis and Albany, as well as bilingual volunteer staffing and materials in an effort to remove barriers for participation. Over 20 community organizations partner to offer approximately 30 hands-on, free-choice learning activities focused on natural resources, forestry, cultural connections, community opportunities and resources, health, and physical fitness.

GO Day has been a local success, with averages of 85 volunteers and 485 visitors each year (half being children). Because of our focused outreach efforts between 2014-2016, the Latino participation rose to over 20%, far exceeding the 6% Latino population in Benton County. Many other ethnicities are represented at the event as well.

Community Partners Involved

  • Benton County Health Department
  • The event also included interactive activities provided by over 20 community organizations and agencies.  Approximately 80 volunteers from the community and OSU assist in running this event, including youth and bilingual volunteers.


Go Baby Go Oregon: Modified Ride-On Cars for Children with Disabilities

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_uqcroc2x

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Sam Logan, Assistant Professor, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences


Mobility is a fundamental human right. There are no commercially available motorized wheelchairs for children under three years old. Go Baby Go (GBG) Oregon is a community-based outreach program that works with families and clinicians to provide modified ride-on cars to children with disabilities for exploration and play. More than 3,000 children in Oregon that receive early intervention services may benefit from a modified ride-on car. Over 200 modified ride-on cars have been provided to Oregon families.

Dr. Logan founded Go Baby Go (GBG) Oregon in 2014 and now operates as an equal partners with Dr. Bethany Sloane, PT, DPT., who joined the project in 2015. Dr. Logan serves as faculty advisor for the  Children’s Adaptive Resources for Social Mobility (CARS) undergraduate club at OSU. The club's mission is to modify ride-on cars for children with disabilities in Oregon and beyond. Dr. Sloane oversees the GBG Oregon program that serves Portland-area families. She founded and leads an advisory board of GBG Oregon that includes 10 stakeholders (clinicians, families, and community members).

Dr. Logan founded the Children’s Adaptive Resources for Social Mobility (CARS) undergraduate club at OSU; its 15 members modify the ride-on cars. Dr. Logan also developed and taught an Honors College Colloquial titled “Toy-based technology for children with disabilities.” This is an experimental learning course where students learn the science behind Go Baby Go, modify ride-on cars, and interact with families to customize ride-on car modifications for their children.

Dr. Logan has published three peer-reviewed articles in Pediatric Physical Therapy that determines the effect of use of modified ride-on cars. Dr. Logan collaborated with Dr. Bill Smart (Mechanical Engineering, OSU) and published a technical report in Frontiers in Robotics & Artificial Intelligence that outlines advances in modified ride-on car technology. He has collaborated with Dr. Kathleen Bogart (Psychological Science, OSU) on a research study and found those caregivers’ attitudes toward disability and mobility may be related to the opportunities they provide their children to use the modified ride-on cars (positive attitudes, more opportunities).

Dr. Logan has represented OSU while conducting over 20 Oregon and national workshops teaching pediatric clinicians the science behind GBG and teaching the skills required to modify the ride-on cars. Dr. Sloane leads monthly community workshops to modify ride-on cars.

Community Partners Involved

  • Dr. Bethany Sloane, PT, DPT, Assistant Professor, Oregon Health and Science University


Numbers in Nature, Math on the Mountain 

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_jzn3t91n

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Michael Giamellaro, Assistant Professor of Science and Mathematics Education, College of Education, Cascades Campus, Roundhouse Foundation Faculty Scholar of Science Education
  • Kari O’Connell, Senior Researcher, Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning
  • Melinda Knapp, Full Time Instructor, Mathematics Education, College of Education, Cascades Campus
  • Alba Argerich, Assistant Research Professor, College of Forestry
  • Marc Rubin, Instructor of Computer Science, College of Engineering, Cascades Campus
  • Ivan Arismendi, Assistant Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Ron Reuter, Associate Professor of Natural Resources, College of Forestry, Assistant Dean Cascades Campus
  • Mark Schulze, Assistant Research Professor of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, Director of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest
  • Travis Roth, PhD Student, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Water Resources
  • Patrick Kailey, MAT Student, Cascades Campus
  • Jacob LaPlante, MAT Student, Cascades Campus


The Numbers in Nature, Math on the Mountain project is an interdisciplinary outreach project that engages five OSU Colleges and the STEM Center for Lifelong Learning with six Central Oregon school districts (all Title 1 schools), the University of Washington, and other community partners.  The project brings together teachers and university faculty to improve achievement in STEM for grades 4 – 12.

Teachers partner with scientists at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and Mt. Bachelor to dive into science and math content knowledge and to co-develop a series of curriculum units that use authentic data and contexts from these two places.  Over the course of the project and beyond, the teachers have worked in school teams using high-leverage teaching practices to enact these curriculum units. As a result, their students make sense of natural phenomena and advance their data literacy. At every stage of the project, teachers and scientists come together to co-construct understanding of content and data literacy as they plan for contextualized curriculum and instruction that will actually work in classrooms.

An example of engaged scholarship, the research embedded in the project focuses on contextualized learning and the role of teacher-scientist partnerships in improving data literacy of teachers and students.  Learning with and in context is not currently well understood but offers much potential for advancing achievement at every level of education. The data we collect through this design-based research are used by participants in improve their teaching. Teacher participants have reported transformational changes in their understanding and use of science and math in their teaching.

Lessons learned recently were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference (2017) and the team plans to present project results in a manuscript and at the Ecological Society of America meeting the summer of 2017.

Community Partners Involved

  • Mount Bachelor Observatory
  • Mount Bachelor
  • Warm Springs K-8 Academy
  • Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School
  • High Desert Middle School
  • Crook County High School/Pioneer Alternative High School
  • Crooked River Elementary
  • Crook County Middle School
  • Barnes Butte Elementary
  • Culver Middle School
  • Ridgeview High School
  • Obsidian Middle School
  • Sisters High School
  • Sara Ward, Graduate Student, University of Oregon


Oregon Migrant Leadership Institute

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_wyortshx

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Amas Aduviri, College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Director
  • Maria Andrade-Diaz, CAMP Administrative Assistant
  • Laura Mondragon, CAMP Recruiter
  • Alexsandra Dos Reis, CAMP Retention Specialist
  • Greg Contreras, CAMP Academic Counselor


Oregon’s lack of educational resources and programming for migrant youth.  To address this need, OSU collaborated with the Office of Migrant Education to create the Oregon Migrant Leadership Institute (OMLI).  Every summer since 2009, OSU hosts OMLI.  Many university resources and community partners work together to build an institute where participants engage in scholarship, leadership, and transformational learning. 

More than 100 high school migrant students from throughout Oregon to make the trip to Corvallis each summer.  Tremendous growth is observed as participants immerse themselves in a comprehensive leadership experience.  OMLI is relationship building, understanding potential, making good choices, and much more.  It is telling stories through technology, art, and creative writing.  It is challenging the youth on the ropes course.  It is taking risks/learning from mistakes.  Participates learn from curriculum led by trained mentors.  OMLI is opening migrant youth up to positive change.    

The impact of OMLI is immeasurable.  From building self-esteem to aspiring to be the first in the family to attend college, the institute motivates participants.  Nearly 1,000 migrant students have experienced OMLI. 

Pre-assessments show that only 50% of participants understood how to develop action plans for their goals and 62% were familiar with steps to problem solving.  Post-assessments show 90% of participants express competency in goal setting and problem solving.  In addition, assessments indicate that over 90% of participants plan to enroll in college after high school.  Through OMLI, students become inspired in their education.  They aim higher in their studies.  They emerge as leaders in their schools and communities.  Several transition to higher education.  In fact, many attend OSU and graduate!  OMLI gives hope to migrant youth in Oregon as the experience sets them on a different path to fulfill their potential.

Community Partners Involved 

Coordination and Recruitment Partners:

  • Title IC-Migrant Education
  • Oregon Migrant Education Service Center
  • Clackamas ESD
  • Columbia Gorge ESD
  • Forest Grove School District
  • Northwest Regional ESD
  • Hillsboro School District
  • Hood River School District
  • Southern Oregon ESD
  • High Desert ESD
  • Ontario/Annex School Districts
  • Willamette ESD
  • Portland Public Schools
  • Intermountain ESD
  • Nyssa School District
  • Beaverton School District
  • Woodburn School District
  • East Multnomah County
  • Salem-Keizer School District
  • Lane ESD
  • Newberg School District

College/Organization Partners, College Fair component of OMLI 

  • Oregon State University
  • University of Oregon
  • Linn-Benton Community College
  • Portland State University
  • Clackamas Community College 
  • Western Oregon University    
  • University of Portland  
  • Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Linfield College   
  • Eastern Oregon University
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Oregon Health Science University 
  • Willamette University
  • Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber
  • CASA of Oregon

Additional Campus Partners:

  • Melissa Rieth, OSU UHDS Coordinator of Scholar Housing/Residential Conferences
  • Penelope Diebel, OSU CAS Assistant Dean
  • Mark Belson, OSU ALI Challenge Course Instructor
  • Mario Magana, OSU 4-H Regional Extension Educator
  • Kyle Cole, Director of OSU Pre-College Programs
  • Shalece Rains, OSU SSS Academic Counselor
  • Cheridy Aduviri, Instructor in OSU College of Education


Prioritization of Watershed Restoration Actions Involving Riparian Landowners 

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_614mxb8n

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Guillermo Giannico, Extension Fisheries Specialist
  • Jon Souder, Forest Watershed Extension Specialist


Federal and State agencies in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have invested millions of dollars assessing watershed health and identifying habitat restoration opportunities. Unfortunately, many restoration efforts lack a clear process for prioritization of projects, leading to inefficient application of scarce financial and personnel resources.  In 2005, Guillermo Giannico and Jon Souder obtained National Sea Grant funding for a collaborative project between OSU Forestry Extension, Oregon Sea Grant and the Coos Watershed Association to develop a series of watershed restoration plans for six lowland coastal basins north of Coos Bay. 

In order to maximize public involvement, a series of “coffee klatches” (i.e., informal conversations) were held within each basin to elicit landowner visions and concerns. Associated with the conversations, work with Oregon scientists led to the development of a restoration prioritization process – called the Coos Bay Prioritization Approach (CBPA) – that considers both ecological and socio-economic criteria.  The CBPA was completed in 2008 and has subsequently been applied in eight additional assessments on the South Coast. 

An outcome of these assessments was the establishment of the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds (PCW), a joint effort with the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.  The PCW convened a multi-stakeholder group and used the CBPA to revise the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan.  In addition, a multi-agency group led by the Wild Salmon Center has identified the CBPA as the preferred method for Coastal Watershed Councils, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering requiring the CBPA for any project requesting state funding to restore Coho habitat on the coast.

During 2016, Giannico and Souder hosted three workshops, which included 55 participants from 45 organizations in 10 states (and Korea).  Many of these participants have requested additional training.  International workshops were also conducted in the Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Mexico.

Community Partners Involved

  • Coos Watershed Association


Thinker Tinker Trailer, The College of Business Mobile Makerspace

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_xrx8qege

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Moriah Shay, Student (Senior), College of Business
  • Steven Miller, Student (Senior), College of Business
  • Dale McCauley, Makerspace Manager - Student Engagement, College of Business
  • Lauren Caruso, Program Manager - Student Engagement, College of Business
  • Amy Neuman, Academic Programs Coordinator, College of Business
  • Maureen Hosty, Professor, 4-H Youth Development Extension, Multnomah County
  • Mitzi Montoya, Sarah Hart-Kimball Dean, College of Business


As College of Business juniors, Moriah Shay and Steven Miller brainstormed for project ideas in their finance class that would combine their passion for social entrepreneurship, STEAM education, and community outreach. The result – a mobile makerspace called “Thinker Tinker Trailer” – won a national social venture competition, garnered funding from their college, the OSU Women’s Giving Circle, the United Way, Oregon State Credit Union, and other community members.  

The transportable trailer contains small-scale fabrication and design tools such as 3D printers, laser engravers, ink-screen printers, vinyl cutters and sewing machines and travels the countryside visiting high schools to teach kids about entrepreneurship and collaborative problem-solving. The goal is to spark the students’ creativity, help them develop new skills in innovation, and, ultimately, get them interested in going to college.

Shay, a first-generation college student from rural Oregon, travels with the mobile makerspace to underserved communities bringing resources and opportunities to rural, minority, and other youth to tinker and invent. Miller, who was born to an impoverished family in South Korea and adopted by an Oregon family, is inspired by the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The model is replicable, scalable, and demand for their workshops is high, with visits to schools and 4-H programs around Oregon occurring as near as Albany and as far as John Day. They would like to replicate the program across the nation and multiply its impact in countless communities where students do not yet have access to today’s cutting-edge innovation tools.

The business partners are in the process of creating a paid internship program for College of Business students and a volunteer network of students who are members of “16xOSU”, the social entrepreneurship organization.

Community Partners Involved

  • United Way
  • Monroe School District
  • Oregon State Credit Union
  • Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments
  • Santiam Christian School
  • HELPS - Community Service Consortium


Warm Springs Alternative Break Program 

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_vp7a5kq1

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement
  • Rosanna Sanders, OFNEP Nutrition Education Program Assistant, OSU Extension Service – Warm Springs
  • Beth Ann Beamer, Family and Community Health Extension and County Leader, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs


Alternative Break trips are designed to meet various community needs while providing compelling learning and civic leadership development opportunities for students. In Warm Springs, from June 13 to June 17, 2016, nine students and one staff member worked with the Warm Springs Extension Office and nine community partners on various environmental, cultural, and health and well-being projects during a week-long community-based learning trip sponsored by OSU’s Center for Civic Engagement.

The students participated in community-based service learning to gain increased cultural understanding and intercultural connections, complete projects that met community-identified needs, and explore policy issues affecting the Warm Springs community. In total, the group contributed 78 service hours and participated in 176 educational hours. Projects included assisting in landscaping work, invasive species removal, and grass planting. 

Through educational sessions, community events, and direct service work the group explored cultural programming and events, tribal policy and governance, community services and resources, education, healthcare, and hydroelectric energy that all affect the cultural preservation and celebration and health and well-being of the Warm Springs area.

Educational sessions covered a wide range of topics related to tribal life, challenges, and solutions. The group discovered various factors affecting community health and well-being in Warm Springs by exploring elements of food sourcing, tribal ceremonies, community and cultural activities, and outdoor recreation.  The group visited extensively with faculty and staff at the Warm Springs Extension Office to learn about the services and programs put on by OSU Extension for the community and the role of OSU Extension in the Warm Springs community.  Students also learned about Native traditions, customs, and the history of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes and the Treaty of 1855 through their conversations with tribal members and visiting the Museum at Warm Springs. By spending time with tribal members, trip participants explored and learned about the tribal customs and issues impacting tribal communities today through personal narrative and story sharing.

OSU units, tribal government agencies, and local nonprofits are all a part of this program to co-create environments for students to learn about social issues and contribute to addressing community needs each year. Partnerships are foundational to this program, the content is cross-disciplinary (public health, ethnic studies, environmental science, education), and the result is transformational learning for OSU students

Community Partners Involved

  • Museum at Warm Springs
  • Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Warm Springs Culture & Heritage
  • Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises
  • Warm Springs Police Department
  • Frank Smith (Footer), Tribal Elder


Honorable Mention Projects (alphabetical order)

Video: https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_aoq6rpwv


4-H Urban-Rural Exchange-Bridging greater understanding and awareness of urban-rural interdependence 

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Maureen Hosty, Professor, 4-H Youth Development Extension, Multnomah County
  • Deb Warnock, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Community Health, SNAP-Ed and Co-County Leader, Wallowa County
  • John Williams, Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, OSU Extension Service - Wallowa County
  • Amy Derby, 4-H Youth Development and Ag Faculty, County Leader, OSU Extension Service - Wheeler County
  • Shanna Northway, 4-H Youth Development and Ag Faculty, Grant County
  • Carol Waggoner, Office Coordinator, OSU Extension Service - Grant County
  • Shana Withee, Family and Community Health, 4-H Youth Development, Co-County Leader, International Youth Development, OSU Extension Service - Harney County


Oregon has long struggled to bridge the urban-rural divide. With the recent elections and the issues surrounding the Malheur Refuge takeover, the issues that divide us only appear at times to become more profound. In 2005, they were barely teenagers when a group of Portland middle school youth spoke out in defense of wolves at an Oregon Fish and Wildlife Hearing. Eastern Oregon ranchers who were also at the hearing stood up in protest. What started out as a classic rift between urban and rural life in Oregon ended when OSU Extension staff and Eastern Oregon Extension ranch families stepped in. Out of this conflict, an OSU Extension program was designed to bring urban and rural youth and families together every year for a week to help bridge a greater understanding, awareness and appreciation for the interdependence of urban and rural Oregon.

Since the program began in 2006, more than 35 five to six-day exchanges have taken place and more than 430 Portland youth, teachers and parents and 535 rural 4-H family members have participated in the program.

Walls start to come down when Portland city kids spend a week living and working face-to-face with ranchers in Eastern Oregon the walls start to come down. An important ingredient to the success of this program is providing a venue for rural and urban families to share their stories, their lifestyles, their beliefs and their practices for managing the land for the next generation, all leading to understanding each other and Oregon’s interdependence. The Exchange provides youth and teachers, who are too often exposed to viewpoints on only one side of an issue, a first-hand experience in their landscape and community culture. It is their experience of being on the land and walking in the shoes of their host family that youth can begin to understand more deeply how and why Oregonians in many regions of the state live the way they do and to celebrate the differences and diversity within in Grant, Gilliam, Harney, Klamath, Morrow, Multnomah, Wallowa and Wheeler Counties.

Community Partners Involved

  • Oregon 4-H Foundation
  • Portland Public schools
  • Wallowa County Stock growers
  • Public School Districts (Enterprise, Joseph, Wallowa)
  • Wallowa County 4-H Association
  • Malheur Lumber Company
  • Grant County Stock Growers
  • Grant School District #3
  • Rocky Top 4-H club
  • Grant County 4-H association
  • Prairie City Schools
  • Mitchell and Spray schools
  • Big Sarvice Corral
  • Service Creek Lodge and Stage Stop
  • Twickenham School House


Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Lane Selman, Faculty Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jim Myers, Professor, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Pat Hayes, Professor, Barley Breeding & Products, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Alex Stone, Associate Professor, Horticulture Extension - Vegetable Cropping Specialist
  • Nick Andrews, Senior Instructor and Small Farms Extension Educator
  • Heidi Noordijk, Education Program Assistant—Small Farms


Often times, it is not a high priority for seed companies to engage with or consider the unique needs and preferences of organic farmers and their customers during the plant breeding process. To ensure success, organic farmers need varieties bred under organic conditions in order to select for traits including weed competitiveness, disease resistance, organic nutrient management and stress tolerance. Organic customers demand superior flavor and culinary attributes and have an appreciation for uniqueness, quality and novelty. Incorporating chefs, farmers, produce buyers and other stakeholders into the plant breeding process gives breeders deeper insight into preferred traits while also increasing awareness and understanding of organic plant breeding to a broader audience.

In 2012, the Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) was formed to convene breeders and these stakeholders to discuss and identify traits of culinary excellence for vegetables and grains. The Variety Showcase is an annual CBN event with a goal to increase communication in order to develop more relevant and desirable cultivars for all parties. Attendees have the opportunity to taste commercially available cultivars, provide feedback on breeding populations, and exchange ideas and perspectives with breeders.

Event attendance has more than tripled from 2014 to 2016 and attendees have been exposed to more than 150 commercially available cultivars and 135 breeding lines of vegetables and grains. Seed companies report significant sales increases because of the events. Creating a venue to facilitate an interactive exchange of specific needs has resulted in a greater understanding of what consumers want for breeders and, for all other participants, a greater understanding of the important role breeders play in the food we eat. Engaging with chefs and buyers through qualitative sensory evaluations like the Variety Showcase to assess cultivars and breeding lines sets this work apart from standard quantitative sensory panels.

Community Partners Involved

  • Organically Grown Company
  • Oregon Tilth
  • The Sage Restaurant Group 


Envision Tillamook Coastal Futures

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Peter Ruggiero, Associate Professor, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • John Stevenson, Faculty Research Assistant, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • John Bolte, Associate Professor, Biological & Ecological Engineering, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Denise Lach, Professor and Sociology Director for the School of Public Policy, College of Liberal Arts
  • Patrick Corcoran, Associate Professor and Oregon Sea Grant Extension
  • Katherine Serafin, Eva Lipiec, Alexis Mills and Chad Zanocco, graduate students


Imagine a future where local sea levels rise anywhere from half a meter (1.5 feet) to as much as 1.5 meters (5 feet) by the end of this century. Imagine a world where the Pacific Ocean comes crashing into your coastal town, blocking the only road leading to safety. These are some of the research-backed thought experiments community members in coastal Tillamook County, Oregon, considered as part of the Envision Tillamook Coastal Futures (Envision Tillamook) project.

Initially funded jointly by NOAA’s Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) program and Oregon Sea Grant, Envision Tillamook became part of the research portfolio of the OSU-led Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) in 2011. Using the innovative ENVISION computer modeling platform developed by OSU professor John Bolte, CIRC (led by Peter Ruggiero and John Stevenson) worked with residents, planners, and government officials in Tillamook County to develop what amounted to a series of high-tech thought experiments. The thought experiments empowered community members to visualize how climate change and local planning could affect their natural and human landscapes.

During these meetings, a series of probable future scenarios that mixed possible policy choices (from shoreline armoring to doing nothing at all) with climate projections (including rising sea levels and increasing wave heights) and local human impacts (including population projections and infrastructure growth to the year 2100). By combining all these factors in a series of differing combinations, residents in Tillamook County were able to glimpse how the policy choices they make now could help them as their landscape changes.  

Community Partners Involved

  • Neskowin Coastal Hazards Committee
  • Oregon Coastal Processes and Hazard Working Group
  • Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
  • Tillamook County Office of Planning
  • Tillamook County Commissioners
  • Tillamook County Director of Community Development
  • Oregon Sea Grant
  • Oregon State Parks
  • Climate Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC, Pacific Northwest RISA)
  • Community Advisory Committees
  • City Managers and Mayors
  • Property Owners
  • Developers
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
  • Regional Solutions


Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Shauna Tominey, Assistant Professor of Practice, Family Community Health Extension
  • Michaella Sektnan, Senior Faculty Research Assistant, Family Community Health Extension
  • Karley Lewis, Faculty Research Assistant, Family Community Health Extension
  • Kim Deck, Family Research Assistant, Family Community Health Extension
  • Sally Bowman, Associate Director Family Community Health Extension and Program Leader SNAP-Ed


A wealth of research shows that sensitive and responsive parenting relates to social, academic, and health outcomes for children. Parenting education opportunities, however, have been limited in terms of funding and accessibility. The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) is a partnership between four of Oregon’s largest foundations (The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Collins Foundation) and Oregon State University (OSU).

The goal of OPEC is to increase awareness of and access to evidence-based parenting education programs for families with young children (prenatal to age six) throughout Oregon. With support from OPEC, 15 Parenting Education Hubs have been established, supporting parenting education in 27 counties in Oregon as well as Siskiyou County, California. In addition to funding, OPEC supports grantees through research and evaluation, technical assistance, and professional development led by OSU.

Evaluation is embedded into OPEC programs. Over the first six years of the initiative (2010-2016), data were collected from over 18,290 parents as well as 430 community partners. Through OPEC, 17,984 parents have participated in 20,167 classes as part of 1,950 multi-week parenting series. In addition, 6,270 new families have been reached through home visits, and 429,335 families have participated in 17,252 family programs.

Families report significant improvement in parenting knowledge, skills, and behaviors as well as in their child’s behavior after participating in OPEC programs. OPEC Hubs have expanded community capacity to provide parenting education to families through training 974 facilitators across communities, leveraging $19.5 million in new funds and in-kind support, and creating partnerships with the Department of Human Services, faith-based programs, schools, and Coordinated Care Organizations. Over the past six years, OPEC has had a significant impact on expanding parenting education in Oregon and is serving as a national model.

Community Partners Involved

  • Clackamas Parenting Together (Clackamas County
  • Columbia Gorge Parenting Education Program (Hood River and Wasco Counties
  • LaneKids (Lane County)
  • Marion and Polk Early Learning, Inc. (Marion County)
  • Mid-Valley Parenting of Polk County (Polk and Yamhill Counties)
  • Northeast Oregon Parent Education Hub (Wallowa, Baker, and Malheur Counties
  • Northwest Parenting (Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook Counties)
  • Parenting Education Hub of Central Oregon (Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson Counties)
  • Parenting Success Network (Linn and Benton Counties)
  • Parenting Together Washington County (Washington County)
  • Pathways to Positive Parenting (Coos and Curry Counties)
  • Siskiyou Parenting Hub Project (Siskiyou County, CA)
  • Take Root (Douglas, Klamath, and Lake Counties)
  • The Family Connection (Jackson and Josephine Counties)
  • Union-Umatilla-Morrow Parent Education Collaborative (Umatilla, Morrow, and Union Counties)


What Workers Think: Communication Needs Assessment for Latino Nursery Workers

OSU Faulty/Staff Involved

  • Dionisia Morales, Publishing Manager, Extension & Experiment Station Communications (EESC), University Outreach and Engagement
  • Ariel Ginsburg, Publishing Manager, EESC, University Outreach and Engagement
  • Luisa Santamaria, Extension Specialist—Nursery Pathology and Bilingual Educator, North Willamette Research and Extension Center
  • Gilbert Uribe, Program Assistant, North Willamette Research and Extension Center


Spanish-speaking workers make up most of the labor force in Oregon’s horticulture industries, but few Extension publications and multimedia materials are designed to meet their vocational and linguistic needs. Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC), translates some publications from the Extension catalog, but the feedback received from Extension faculty working in Latino communities is that the choice of topics is not always well suited to horticultural workers because it is too technical, is written at too high a reading level, or requires a computer to download and print.

This feedback sparked a number of questions: Do workers want information to help them do better at their jobs or learn key English vocabulary to communicate more easily with their employers? Are workers more interested in web-based training they can do on their own time or in face-to-face sessions? Are they more likely to access information on their smartphones?

Using a $1,500 professional development grant from the Association for Communication Excellence, our team held three focus groups (with a final one planned for the spring 2017) to ask workers directly about their needs and interests, and how Extension can better support them. The focus groups were integrated into existing, employer-supported worker training events to maximize participation.

The findings (e.g., making more photo-rich content available on mobile devices and creating publications in which English and Spanish appear side-by-side) have already started to shift how EESC delivers translated content. In 2017, members of the team will collaboratively write an article for the Journal of Extension and present findings at conferences to make other Extension and communication specialists aware of ways they can reach out and engage Latino community members to hear from them about the information they are interested in and the formats they find most useful.

Community Partners Involved

  • The three focus groups we’ve done so far involved 21 community members; we anticipate involving an additional 9 community members in a final spring 2017 focus group.


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