OSU Extension adds new faculty in 4-H and Family and Community Health

September 7, 2016
Jessica Linnell joins Family and Community Health in Tillamook and Lincoln counties. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.
Jessica Linnell joins Family and Community Health in Tillamook and Lincoln counties. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – New Oregon State University Extension faculty in 4-H and Family and Community Health are now on board in Hood River, Tillamook, Lincoln and Jackson and Josephine counties.

Liana Harden is the new county leader and 4-H program coordinator in Hood River. Harden is in charge of 4-H youth development. Most recently she worked for Extension in Columbia County on the GROW Healthy Kids & Communities research study, which focused on developing community-driven programs supporting healthier food systems and recreational opportunities. In her new position, Harden is focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and animal sciences programs.

“I’m driven and inspired by working in youth development and community engagement,” Harden said. “OSU Extension allows me to be responsive to community needs and develop positive opportunities for diverse youth across Hood River County.”

Jessica Linnell joins Extension’s Family and Community Health faculty in Tillamook and Lincoln counties. As a doctoral student at University of California, Davis, Linnell investigated factors that influence the effectiveness of school-based nutrition education to improve children’s health. She also helped develop and evaluate Shaping Healthy Choices, a school-based nutrition program implemented in 11 California counties.

In her OSU position, Linnell is working with Tillamook County Year of Wellness, a coalition of community partners that promotes health with programs and events in nutrition, physical activity and mental health. She is also beginning a project in partnership with Extension 4-H to evaluate a program to help teens develop skills in teaching nutrition to younger children.

Caryn Wheeler joins Extension’s Family and Community Health faculty in Jackson and Josephine counties. She is coordinating and developing a plan to expand the Master Food Preserver and Strong Women programs. In addition, Wheeler is working on the Veggie Rx program, which was developed in collaboration with her previous employer, Jackson County Health & Human Services, as well as a variety of other organizations.

About her work, Wheeler said, “For me it is really about being of service to my community. Any time I have the opportunity to bring the right partners to the right table to have the right conversation, I see great reward.”

The three county-based Extension faculty members are reaching out to the community in their respective territories with the mission to pass on research-based knowledge and problem-solving to their constituents.

Author: Kym Pokorny