UConn Extension award winners

UConn Extension Recognizes Award Winners

Each year the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources and the College’s Alumni Association host their annual Awards and Honors event. This event has a long history of recognizing outstanding and distinguished alumni, faculty, staff and supporters, including outstanding individuals of UConn Extension.

Excellence in Outreach Award –The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) team of UConn Extension including; Linda Drake, Erica Benvenuti, Angela Caldera, Toni Ellis, Sharon Gray, Doris Little, Heather Pease, Heather Perrachio, Dianisi Torres, Umekia Taylor, Zoraida Velaquez received the Excellence in Outreach Award for their dedication and commitment to improving health and the quality of life. Reaching over 48,000 families with more than 150,000 family members, and close to 200,000 youth, EFNEP has been an important part of the land grant mission of the University of Connecticut within UConn Extension.

Mary “Lib” Jacobson Award – Rineicha Otero is the Program Administrator for the AFRI 4-H Youth program at the New Haven County Extension Center. Innovative and engaging, she works in community nutrition with a focus on youth. Ms. Otero promotes fitness, good nutrition and leadership.

Arland R. Meade Communications Award – Dawn Pettinelli manages the UConn Home and Garden Education Center and the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory within the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. Ms. Pettinelli is an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated contributor to public education. The magnitude of her publications is evidence of her tireless commitment to the outreach mission and is truly a credit to the College and UConn Extension.

Doris Lane Award – Carol Quish is the voice and face of the UConn Home and Garden Education Center. Ms. Quish is known as a great resource for her technical assistance, informal talks, and educational programs. She shares all that she has learned and is very deserving of the Doris Lane Award.


Alpha Chi Chapter Award – Lorraine Downing is currently the secretary at the New Haven County Extension Center and received the Alpha Chi Chapter Award due to her professional improvement. Ms. Downing received an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Accounting in 2011 and expects to earn her Bachelor of Science degree by the end of 2014.


Nancy Balcom
Dean Weidemann, Nancy Balcom, Dr. Nancy Bull and Colonel David Bull. Photo by Lucia Maria Parisi.

David and Nancy Bull Extension Innovation Award – Recipients of this award include members of the Connecticut Shellfish Initiative: Tessa Getchis, Nancy Balcom, Anoushka Concepcion (all from Connecticut Sea Grant/UConn Extension), Julie Rose (NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Milford Laboratory), Sylvain De Guise (Connecticut Sea Grant/Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science), and Peg Van Patten (Connecticut Sea Grant). The Connecticut Shellfish Initiative is a two-year program that will drive the development of new programming (research, extension, policy, etc.) based on future needs assessments. Recognizing the potential for growth among important shellfish sectors. Connecticut Sea Grant/UConn Extension is facilitating the development of a Visioning Plan for Connecticut’s natural, recreational and commercial shellfish resources.


4-H Alumni Award – Kathy Dillon Orduz learned to “Make the Best Better” as a 4-H member in Hartford County and continues to follow that philosophy now by serving on the Hartford County Camp board of directors, with the 4-H Fair Association and as a club leader. Ms. Orduz is truly committed to the 4-H program and its ideals.


4-H Meritorious Service Award – Dr. Robert Beaudoin has been a volunteer for the past three years with the Connecticut 4-H Mentoring Project conducted at the Waterbury Youth Services, Inc. Under Dr. Beaudoin’s guidance, the program has grown into a major part of the 4-H Mentoring Project, with about 45 youth participating in workshops that meet twice a week throughout the year.


4-H Leadership Award – Since 2006, Cathy Verbridge has been a 4-H leader and has a keen sense of the strengths and weaknesses of each youth and encourages each to stretch beyond their comfort level. Ms. Verbridge encourages her youth members to see the entire world as their community and to be involved in community service projects. She also encourages the youth members of her clubs to take leadership roles and to put their ideas to work.


Congratulations to all of our award winners and thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of UConn Extension.