- Assistant/Associate Extension Educator – Soil Health
- Associate Dean for Extension
- 4-H Youth Development Food and Agricultural Literacy
- Assistant/Associate Extension Educator in Water Quality
- Administrative Program Support 1, Storrs Campus
- Educational Program Assistant 1, Fairfield County
- Educational Program Assistant 1, Hartford County
- Education Program Assistant 1, Middlesex County
Merging Fitness and Nutrition to Create Healthy Lifestyles
Umekia “Mickey” Taylor ’83 (CAHNR) merges fitness and nutrition to help people create healthy lifestyles. She is a community nutrition extension educator and the supervisor for Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in New Haven County. “UConn Extension’s nutrition outreach education is valuable because we meet people where they are. Then, we bring them to whatever level they want to go to,” Mickey says. “We’re here to serve the people of Connecticut and bring value to their lives.”
Growing up in Meriden, she always had an interest in food and experimented with recipes in her family’s kitchen. She wanted a health-related career that included food and education. Taylor found a brochure in her high school guidance department about the Allied Health Sciences dietetics program at UConn. She had not heard about it this career, but it intrigued her.
Seniors in UConn’s dietetics program complete different practicums. Taylor gravitated towards the community nutrition practicum. She went on to earn her master of science degree in human performance from Southern Connecticut State University. “I wanted to incorporate fitness as a thread in my career,” she says. “Fitness is practical choices too. Parking farther away from your destination and walking makes a significant difference. Speed walking while running errands, all these small actions add up.”
Her first role was the nutritionist with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in New Haven. Taylor is bilingual and immersed in the Spanish language as she worked with the program participants. She began her career with UConn Extension in 1993.
“In working with EFNEP, there’s a lot of linkages we make with other fields in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and throughout UConn,” Taylor says. “I had close relationships with the UConn 4-H program through Wanda Little, who is a retired UConn 4-H educator and was my mentor. I’ve kept that model in my programming.”
Taylor works with collaborative teams at UConn. One of these is the People Active on Trails for Health and Sustainability (PATHS) team. The team uses trails and exercise to improve health outcomes in residents statewide. Extension educators are not islands, and she emphasizes the benefits of different expertise.
The rewards of being an Extension educator are when participants are engaged and learning – that is when you can make an impact. Taylor and the EFNEP teamwork with people over time. They start slight changes with them that have positive impacts on their health.
“Nutrition involves balance and variety is important,” she says. “You don’t need to go to one extreme or another. We all have cravings, and it is okay to have a treat occasionally, and then get back to healthy eating. A diet should be a well-balanced approach and fun.”
New discoveries and recommendations challenge nutrition and health educators. All science-based educators face this same challenge. This causes mistrust or negative public perceptions. Taylor follows the research and educates her audiences as the science changes. She addresses those misconceptions because people are looking for accurate information.
Taylor’s recent focus is on social media, online education, and training community leaders. “I love the model where we work with teens and then they teach nutrition education in their communities,” she says. Taylor had a USDA-AFRI grant to build this model and is pursuing another grant for further work in the field. Other 4-H and nutrition programs replicated her project.
The past few years have also highlighted the racial inequities that still exist. Taylor participated in UConn’s Anti-Black Racism Course. She connected to the topics and concepts as an African American woman whose parents are from South Carolina. She found the course enlightening, and timely in the wake of violence, hate crimes and injustice against black and brown people. She continues engaging in topical discussions with the Extension Anti-Racism Learning Group.
Taylor’s community nutrition and fitness programs improve the lives of Connecticut residents. Her work is representative of the land-grant mission as she engages audiences with UConn’s research and teaching. Taylor brings enthusiasm and creativity to community nutrition and established models that are enhancing the lives of residents across the nation.
Article by Stacey Stearns
The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university, which is to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region and country.
The Department of Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time, non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, primarily based at the Windham County Extension Office in Brooklyn, CT (75% Extension), with teaching responsibilities (25%) at the UConn Storrs Campus. Position level/rank will be commensurate with experience working with Extension and/or teaching livestock production. Anticipated start date is July 2020.
This is a joint appointment between the Department of Extension and Department of Animal Science with administrative responsibility in the Department of Extension. The successful candidate is expected to establish an externally funded Extension program that meets critical needs and builds the knowledge base with multidisciplinary, collaborative opportunities in livestock production. Livestock species shall include but are not limited to beef, sheep, swine, goats and poultry. Faculty member will assess clientele problems and needs for Extension programs, and is expected to partner with other disciplines, programs, agencies, organizations and groups. Integrated programs may address basic and/or applied issues relative to livestock production including but not limited to animal health and nutrition, food safety and nutrient management. This position will extend the reach of UConn Extension by integrating distance learning technology into program delivery through computer applications, web pages, electronic mailings, multimedia, and emerging technologies. This will be accomplished by utilizing innovative approaches to deliver timely, evidence-based solutions for livestock-related issues to diverse clientele.
The candidate will also teach one course per semester in the Department of Animal Science (e.g. Livestock Management and Livestock and Carcass Evaluation). The incumbent is expected to effectively support and work across Extension and Animal Science teams, especially in applied research in the candidate’s area of expertise. The successful candidate is expected to work with other faculty members in a multidisciplinary team environment, develop a diverse portfolio of educational materials for Extension clients and scholarly materials for professional peers. To fulfill the extension mission, the successful candidate will perform other appropriate duties as needed or assigned.
This is a full-time position with generous benefits package. For more information on benefits, go to: http://www.hr.uconn.edu/benefits/index.html. Starting salary for this position will be commensurate with training and experience. This is an 11-month per year non-tenure track faculty position.
Select “Apply Now” to be redirected to Academic Jobs Online to complete your application. Applicants should submit a letter of application that addresses qualifications identified in the advertisement, a resume, writing sample, and a list of three references with contact information. Please demonstrate through your application materials how you meet the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications for this position.
Please reference Search #2020237 in your application submittal. Screening will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is found. Preference will be given to candidates that apply within the first three weeks.
Employment of the successful candidate will be contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check. (Search # 2020237)
This position will be filled subject to budgetary approval.
All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.
The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.