2015-16 Cohort

Carolyn Ashton

Carolyn Ashton

Carolyn Ashton is an Associate Professor, 4-H Youth Development in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. She has been involved with Extension for over 17 years in both Oregon and Illinois. Currently, she administers the 4-H Youth Development Program in Benton County, which includes over 250 adult volunteers, 700 4-H club members, and 1,700 school enrichment participants. Recent projects include developing a Teens as Teachers program for older youth (grades 9-12) in which they learn skills to teach elementary school youth about food and nutrition and environmental health. Last year the Teens as Teachers team delivered over 105 hours of educational programming to approximately 850 elementary and middle school aged youth. She also leads the Benton County 4-H Ambassadors, an older youth leadership club with 27 active members promoting 4-H throughout the county. She is the Co-PI of a five-year, $670,000 CYFAR (Children, Youth and Families at Risk) grant focusing efforts on reaching Latino youth (grades 6-8) to teach and improve their knowledge and practice with food and nutrition and physical activity. She is one of the adult advisors of the Oregon State Ambassadors, as well as an OSU Faculty Senator. Her areas of interest include older youth leadership, healthy living and cultural competence programming. Her hobbies include golfing, hiking and yoga.

Kyle Whitehouse Cassady

Kyle is the coordinator of Career and Academic Success for OSU Ecampus. She has spent her professional career creating connections between education and career development. She grew up in Austin, Texas, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. After working for UT Austin and Round Rock Schools during her early career, she fell in love with the northwest on a road trip and she moved her family to Corvallis in 2002 to begin her career with OSU. At OSU, Kyle has worked as a career counselor, an academic advisor for students actively exploring majors, and an online instructor. She now works with the Ecampus Success Team developing curriculum and new programs to support distance students. Kyle enjoys family time, taking in all that Oregon has to offer, and is most often planning her next travel adventure to anywhere she’s never been.

Rose Jepson-Sullivan

Rose joined OSU Extension in 2013 as the Nutrition Education Program Coordinator for Lane County. She transitioned to the statewide leadership team for SNAP-Ed in 2014. Her focus in this role is on provision of resources and training for county units. For the past two years, she has served on the joint 4-H, FCH, SNAP-Ed and EFNEP spring conference planning committee. Rose also serves as county leader for OSU Extension in Lane County, a position she has held since early 2015. After earning a master of science in nutrition from the University of Utah, Rose worked for the Veterans Health Administration as a clinical dietitian and program manager before coming back to Oregon. In 2013, Rose was honored as the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year by the Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and received the Outstanding Alumni Award for the University of Utah Division of Nutrition.

Mike Knutz

Mike Knutz has worked with OSU Extension Service as a youth development faculty member at the county level for over 14 years. In addition to managing a successful 4-H Club program, Mike is known for developing and implementing successful 4-H outreach efforts through after-school programs and summer camps. He has grown one of Oregon’s largest and longest-running residential summer camps; under his leadership, the camp has grown over the past 12 years from serving 62 youth to over 200. Mike’s commitment to the work of Extension has motivated him to serve in leadership roles in Extension and professional organizations. He served as the president of the Oregon affiliate of the NAE4HA in 2006 and as Oregon’s Epsilon Sigma Phi Chapter president in 2015. Mike serves as county leader in addition to directing the 4-H Youth Development Program in Yamhill County.

Marilyn Lesmeister, PhD

Marilyn is an Associate Professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. She provides leadership for volunteer development and civic engagement for the OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. Areas of focus for her research, teaching and consulting have included volunteer development, leadership education, risk management, youth-adult partnerships, decision-making boards and committees, and youth philanthropy. She has applied adult learning principles at local, national and international levels. Marilyn has enjoyed working with volunteers of all ages in Oregon, Florida, North Dakota and Wisconsin land-grant university programs.

Johanna LounsburyJohanna “Hanna” Lounsbury

Hanna has been a project manager with Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) for three years where she builds programs ranging from the Craft Cidery Startup Workshop to the online E-learning Design Certificate. She has a bachelor's in anthropology from the University of Washington and a Master in Public Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She worked with the World Affair's Council and the Chinese Information Center in Seattle, the YWCA in Monterey, California, and the Education Development Center in Gabarone, Botswana. She has a severe case of wanderlust, having traveled to and lived in 23 different countries. The best part of traveling, hands down, has been the people and communities who challenge and influence her worldview. Originally hailing from Seattle, Hanna actually enjoys Oregon's grey clouds of winter and loves exploring Oregon with her husband and infant daughter, from Cape Perpetua to the Steens Mountain.

Melanie Mitchell

Melanie is the Acting Director of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). In this role, she oversees all aspects of staffing, enrollment management, marketing, curricula development, and infrastructure design and maintenance. She is results-driven with a track record of meeting deadlines, producing world-class educational products and maintaining positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. With nearly a decade of experience in higher education, specializing in program development and corporate training, Melanie thrives on leading and developing partnerships within the business community, exploring new markets, and building relationships with faculty, and high-level business, government, and community leaders. Melanie is a results-driven individual with a track record of meeting deadlines, producing world-class educational products and maintaining positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. As a skilled negotiator and project manager, Melanie enjoys managing and motivating a diverse staff, while working together in local, national and international markets to surpass goals. When she's not working, she enjoys traveling and exploring Oregon with family, or hiking local trails with their chocolate lab.

Shanna Northway

Shanna was raised in rural Grant County and graduated from Grant Union High School in John Day, Oregon. She went on to receive a bachelor of science in general agriculture and a master’s degree in agriculture education from OSU. Shanna began her career instructing high school agriculture at Grant Union High School. She worked for the school district for six years teaching both agriculture and alternative education. Shanna began working for OSU in 2014 as Agriculture/4-H Youth Development Faculty at the Grant County Extension office. Over the past two years, her focus has been on building relationships with local agriculture producers and growing the 4-H program. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, coaching high school volleyball, little league softball, camping, and being an active community member. Shanna is extremely honored to work for her alma mater while giving back to the community that gave her so much. GO BEAVS!

Jason O’Brien

Jason is the Oregon Master Naturalist Program Coordinator, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Program, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. Born and raised in Iowa, Jason received degrees from Iowa State University (ISU): a bachelor of science in animal ecology with an emphasis in natural resources interpretation, and a master of science in wildlife biology. For his MS thesis, he evaluated the environmental education program and exhibits at a national wildlife refuge. He worked as an environmental educator at a residential YMCA Camp and as an interpreter/ranger at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge-Prairie Learning Center in Iowa. In graduate school, he created the Iowa NatureMapping Program based on a University of Washington citizen science program, and was its coordinator for 11 years. He was also the instructor for a junior/senior-level Interpretation of Natural Resources course at ISU, coordinator of the Iowa Master Conservationist Program and Interim ISU Extension Wildlife Specialist. Jason came to OSU in 2009 to start the Oregon Master Naturalist Program (OMN). To address equity and access to programming around Oregon, he pioneered the first online curriculum for a Master Naturalist Program. Since 2012, the OMN Program has trained over 350 Oregonians. OMN volunteers have given back 8,700 hours of service for Oregon natural resources projects, impacting nearly 130,000 people. He serves on Forestry & Natural Resources Extension teams developing a fire ecology curriculum and writing forest-related climate change blogs. He also edited a book on Pacific Northwest geology and is a proud father to two beautiful girls.

Jennifer Oppenlander

Jennifer works full time in her home town of Madras, Oregon, for OSU Open Campus as an education coordinator and co-county leader in Jefferson County. She is a two-time graduate of OSU, first with an elementary education degree and again in 2013 with a master’s degree in adult education. Jennifer taught elementary school for a few years before starting her family and then worked in the school system off and on for many years as a substitute teacher and other jobs. She feels lucky to have joined OSU and Open Campus. An OSU Beaver through and through, she believes that her blood is likely to be orange (orange now is her favorite color). When she is not spending time with her three teenagers, who top her list of what she loves most, Jennifer enjoys creativity on all levels, having fun, reading, and eating at new restaurants. Her oldest son attends OSU; another is a junior at Culver High School; and last, but not least (because she demands that she be heard), her daughter is a freshman at Culver High School. Jennifer grew up as a farm girl raising animals and helping out around the farm when her dad could talk her into it. Her kids love living on the farm; they raise beef cattle and show them between sporting events.

Silvia Rondon, PhD

Silvia is an Associate Professor and OSU Extension Entomologist Specialist affiliated to the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences. Silvia received her BA and MS in Entomology at the Agraria University in Lima, Peru, and her PhD in Crop Sciences with a major in Integrated Pest Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she worked on the influence of different cropping systems on the population dynamics of the western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte). In 2002, Silvia worked as a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In Florida, her responsibility was to develop an IPM program for field and greenhouse strawberries to reduce insecticide use. Her area of expertise is pest management, insect ecology, insect movement, and biological control. Her works involves various crops such as potatoes, onions, sweet corn, tree fruits and other high value vegetables, both, field and greenhouse. She enjoys travelling and nature as well as spending time with her husband and two kids. 

Tianhong Shi

Tianhong is an instructional designer at Ecampus Course Development and Training. She has a master’s of Instructional Technologies & Instructional Design from Utah State University and has worked for more than eight years in the field of instructional design, faculty development and course development. Her experience includes two previous Learning Management Systems migrations. Currently, Tianhong is primarily working with courses in the business undergraduate degree program, engineering undergraduate courses, and master of engineering in industrial engineering program. In 2015, she presented at national conferences, including ADEC (American Distance Education Consortium), Quality Matters (QM) Annual Conference, and Technology, Colleges and Community (TCC) Online Conference. Best practices and strategies on teaching 21st century skills – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity – in online courses was the focus of her presentations. She is passionate about pursuing excellence in teaching and learning, especially in teaching 21st century skills in online courses.

Stephen Ward

Stephen’s love for communication and design started at an early age. The son of an educator and engineer, he loves to problem-solve as well as help people learn. As a child, he would create adventures through audio on tape and Claymation video; now he uses photography and virtual reality. Professionally, Stephen is very interested in using the latest technologies paired with classic artistic approaches to tell stories and reach people in their busy daily lives. Originally educated in architecture with a strong emphasis on art and technology, Stephen now uses his education to bring media and technology together to help educate through the internet and other new and exciting forms of communication. Prior to his work as multimedia tech designer in Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC) at OSU and a stint at Texas A&M University, Stephen owned and operated a successful design, graphic and photography company for seven years. Outside of work Stephen is a proud husband and is kept very busy by three amazing and active children. He enjoys doing just about anything outdoors and can be found backpacking, kayaking, or playing ultimate Frisbee throughout the year. He is active in the community of Silverton, Oregon, where he resides, and volunteers his time at his church and a local meals outreach.

Victor Yee

Born in Salem, Victor has lived in Oregon throughout his life. After high school, he obtained a degree in Computer Science from OSU. Beginning his career in online education as a student worker, Victor has been with Extended Campus for 10 years. He has worked with numerous faculty to develop award-winning online courses involving video, audio, interactive learning objects and web applications. Victor currently provides leadership to a team of developers who create multimedia projects for use in courses and open educational resources. He enjoys spending time with his family, cycling, running, gardening, slaying dragons and defending the galaxy from alien invaders.

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