Number CLXV The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma PhiNovember 2022

 President's Message

Daphne Richards, National ESP President

How exciting it was to be installed as your national president, on the final day of our 2022 national conference in Branson! As 2023 and my presidential term begins to come into focus, I can’t help but also reflect on the actions and decisions that led to this moment. If someone had told me in 2000, when I started my Extension career, that someday I would lead a national association, let alone the premier organization for Extension professionals, I would have laughed.

As a fresh new graduate with a horticulture degree, the idea of having an opportunity to present on topics like happiness, and gratitude, and the importance of rest would have seemed ludicrous to me at the time, but that’s exactly what ESP has provided me: the freedom to pursue my own interests, goals, and passions, and the space to do the work that drew me to Extension in the first place: sharing my knowledge and experience with others.

ESP has definitely brought me many opportunities to stretch my wings and fly, and it is my hope to provide the leadership necessary for our organization to continue to create that same space for Extension professionals well into the future. 

As I mentioned recently at the national conference in Branson, I believe in setting intentions. I’ve seen first-hand the power of the wheels that can be set into motion when we clearly define just exactly what it is that we want. Whether you frame this as setting an intention, or outlining a goal, or mapping your future, the bottom line is the same, and we all do it, whether consciously or subconsciously, to one degree or another. I’ve noticed that when I don’t consciously set an intention, my subconscious will do it for me, and my subconscious often drifts over a bit into the negative. But, no surprise, my conscious intentions are always positive, so I do my best to remember to set them.

As you might imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the potential areas of focus for my conscious intentions for the coming year. And as I process those thoughts, one word continually comes to mind: transition. The world is most definitely not the same as it was prior to March of 2020, but it is also far from settled into the mold of whatever “normal” is going to be in the future.

And the same can be said of our organization. With the transition to a new executive leadership team in our national office, we are stepping in to embrace new ideas and new ways of working. I know that you’ve seen evidence of that recently (even you haven’t yet seen our flashy new landing page on the website, head on over and check it out!). And there are even more exciting possibilities ahead, for sure!

But not to be overlooked in all the fun and exciting new changes, we must remember that navigating transitions can also be challenging. I often find myself frustrated when I try to tackle a task and the tools that I’ve always relied on are not “where I last saw them.” Or the way that I’ve always done something no longer works, at all. Perhaps you’ve experienced some of those same frustrations yourself. If any of those frustrations have been around issues in ESP, please know that we are continually striving to make your organization better; and to provide the best, most supportive environment in the nation for Extension professionals.

With that in mind, I want to share with you all right now the intention that I’ve set for my presidential year: “Make it easy.” Make it easy!

As this intention relates to the national board: how can I make it easier for my fellow board members to do the work that they have committed to doing for this organization? How can I make it easier for us to communicate with each other and function as a team? And how can I help my colleagues to be their best, most successful selves?

But also, how can we as a board make it easier for you, our members, to be successful? I obviously have a few ideas, but you probably do too! So, if you have any thoughts on this subject, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to send me an email or give me a call! I would truly value your insight.

I can’t begin to describe how excited I am for the future of our organization, how eagerly I’m looking forward to moving into this strange new world with you all, and how proud I am to lead such a prestigious group of my peers. Thank you for this opportunity. And please, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to me personally if you have a question or a concern, or need help, with anything.


UCDA Affinity Group Discussion Panel

Click the graphic below to register!

2024 Ocean of Opportunities at the ESP National Conference in Virginia Beach

What do you think of when you hear the word “opportunity?” How about a chance to learn, network, meet new people, try something new, find out something to make your easier and job better, and be inspired?

The Alpha Gamma Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) will be the host of the National ESP Conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia October 27-31, 2024.

The planning committee is working to finalize speakers who will inspire you, help increase your leadership knowledge, and more. We have narrowed down tours that will show you the history, agricultural products, environmental aspects of the Chesapeake Bay, art, culture, communities, families, youth, and more. We have so much we want to share with you. There may also be a chance to add a bit of Spooktacular fun to the conference during Halloween. 

Also, you know Epsilon Sigma Phi committees will provide a myriad of presentations and posters to meet your professional development needs, recognize our amazing colleagues with awards, and continue to enhance/contribute to our professional development.

Come early and stay late. Make plans to visit the other places in the Commonwealth of Virginia including, but certainly not limited to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown (the Historic Triangle), Monticello, Natural Bridge, Luray Caverns, our Wine, Brew, Civil War Trails, Tangier Island, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, just to  name a few. You can eat, drink, and enjoy Virginia. No matter what your likes, Virginia will have something for you to enjoy. After all, “Virginia is for [______] Lovers.” You fill in your blank!

The Alpha Gamma Chapter looks forward to seeing you in October of 2024 for an Ocean of Opportunities.


THANK YOU: Growing Support for The ESP Development Fund

Submitted by David Ross, Resource Development Management - Affiliate Member 

The Development Fund grew from conference contributions!  Thank you – they provide more program support. 

The 2022 National ESP Conference is now history but the 2023 Development Fund Campaign is off to a great start since June 1, 2022.  Contributions from chapters and members for the 2023 campaign year are at $11,580 as of October 13, 2022, following the conference. An additional $450 was contributed at the end of the 2022 campaign which ended May 30th.

The auctions at conference did very well, raising $5,072.00.  This contribution is split in half, so $2,536 will go the Development Fund and the Organizational Fund.  In addition, a Raffle was held that raised $990.00.

The presidential wooden Key Plaque in recognition of the service of the national president, Karen Reddersen, raised $2,120, to date, that is included in contributions above.  The conference pin has been a popular item and is still available for donations of $100 or more.

Fundraising totaled $14,566 for the Development Fund and $2,536 for the Organizational Fund so far.  If you haven’t given in 2022, please consider an end of year tax-deductible contribution now.  Support your profession.  Log into and go to “Donate Now for Members” at the bottom of the Home page.  Payment by check means more money to ESP.

Earnings from the endowed Development Fund will provide $46,400 for 2023 professional development programs – scholarships, grants and stipends.


Scholarships and Grants are Due December 1!

Submitted by Scholarships Grants and Recognition Committee 

The following applications are due December 1. Do you have a program or professional development idea that needs funding? Do you need travel support to PILD or the 2023 ESP Conference in Billings Montana?  Don't let this opportunity pass by without your participation. Additional conference scholarships are also available in the spring. Please check the Awards section on the ESP Website for information on all scholarships and grants.

PILD Scholarship Due December 1

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, has established this scholarship for eligible members to attend the Public Issues Leadership Development National Conference in order to become informed about and develop skills in responding to public issues and legislative matters affecting Extension programs and personal needs. The scholarship is to be used to defray the cost of attending the Public Issues Leadership Development Conference. Four scholarships of $600.00 each will be awarded annually.

Angus Professional Development Scholarship Due December 1

Epsilon Sigma Phi, through the ESP Development Fund, provides $4,000 annually to fund scholarships not to exceed $1,000 per member to encourage, stimulate, and support professional development through participation in courses, seminars, conferences or workshops.

There is currently a proposal working through committee to raise the amount of this scholarship to $1000. The proposed 2020 budget would increase the overall funding to $4000.  Stay tuned for possible changes in this scholarship.

Professional Development Programming Grant Due December 1

The purpose of the Epsilon Sigma Phi Professional Development Grant is to stimulate development of Extension professionals. Grants will be awarded to interdisciplinary teams to plan and conduct a project with an appeal to a broad audience of Extension professionals. Through the ESP Development Fund, funding for at least four $1,000 grants is available annually and will be awarded through a competitive process.

Rita T Wood Grant Due December 1

The Rita T. Wood Grant is intended to provide funds for one or more grants per year to individual members or chapters of Epsilon Sigma Phi. Grants to a chapter may be for programs or activities supporting leadership development and chapter growth. Grants to individuals may be made for the leadership or professional development of others within ESP. Award amounts may vary. Current maximum annual grant award is $1250.00.

Visit the Award Section of the ESP Website for a list of all scholarships and grants.



Submitted by: Travis West, Professional Development Committee Chair

The ESP Professional Development Committee is seeking webinar proposals that will assist Extension educators with programming focusing on emerging issues and/or reaching new audiences. New for 2023, there will be two calls for webinars proposals: Winter 2022 submission and Spring 2023 submission. These webinars will be offered in Spring and Summer of 2023.

The lead presenter of the webinar must be an active ESP member. Proposals may be a presentation, panel discussion, or other methodology appropriate for a webinar. Topics could include but are not limited to innovative program ideas, management techniques, community issues, new technology or tools, and methods to reach diverse audiences. All proposals will go through a blind review process. Webinars must be a maximum of 60 minutes.

The Webinar Proposal Submission Deadline is December 1, 2022. Lead presenters will be notified by January 15, 2023. Webinars will be scheduled from February – June 2023 with lead presenters. For more information regarding the call for webinar proposal requirements and to submit a proposal visit:

If you have questions, please contact Travis West, ESP Professional Development Committee Chair at

Membership Chair Virtual Open Houses

Submitted by Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee 

Are you the membership committee chair for your chapter? Your National Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee members are offering three open house virtual events to answer your questions about membership recruitment, ESP website etc. Join the first opportunity on November 15th at 11 am PST at .


Get To Know Your New Board Members

Second Vice President - Jennifer Wilson, Kansas - Alpha Rho

 Jennifer Wilson will serve as this year’s 2nd Vice President. Jennifer has been a member of Kansas’ Alpha Rho Chapter since 2000. She has served in multiple roles on the Chapter level including; President-elect, President, Past-President, Treasurer, Annalist/Historian, Annual Recognition Banquet Committee Chair, ESP 80th Anniversary Committee Chair and ESP Endowment Board Member and Chair. On the National level, Jennifer was co-chair for the 2018 ESP National Conference and served as the North Central Regional Vice President from 2020 to 2022. Jennifer serves as the Leader for Extension Operations at Kansas State University. She has been with K-State Research and Extension for 27 years, and served as a county 4-H agent, youth and families agent and county director prior to taking her current position in 2018. Jennifer and her husband, Donnie, live outside of Manhattan, Kansas. They have a son, daughter and two beautiful granddaughters.  During her term on the board, Jennifer is looking forward to providing opportunities for ESP members to enhance their core competency and leadership skills.

North Central Region Vice President - Barbara Dunn Swanson, Iowa - Alpha Mu

Barbara Dunn Swanson is a Human Sciences Specialist in Family Wellbeing with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Barbara reaches parents, educators, community stakeholders, and youth with research-based information to empower people and grow lives. Barbara is a co-author of the Science of Parenting blog and is a certified Master Trainer for the national program Powerful Tools for Caregivers. Barbara has been an active member of ESP for 28 years. Barbara looks forward to representing the North Central Region and networking with members during her time on the board.

Southern Region Vice President - Tyrone Gentry, Kentucky - Alpha Kappa

Tyrone Gentry is a 28-year County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development serving in a rural Kentucky county. He has successfully received over $500,000 in grants and enjoys teaching youth leadership, natural resources and safety programs. He currently serves as the Secretary of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation and has reached over 10,000 youth with safety day programming. He has served as Kentucky’s ESP President. Tyrone looks forward most to learning and sharing success from the states of the Southern region.

JCEP Extension Leadership Conference: Engage, Inspire, Achieve

Sponsored by Joint Council of Extension Professionals­ 

The Extension Leadership Conference Planning Committee is pleased to invite Extension Professional, specialists, and administrators to attend the 2023 Extension Leadership Conference. The purpose of the conference is to support and challenge Extension Professionals in their leadership development journey nationwide, across all disciplines. This conference provides professional development that addresses leadership and management skill development critical for building confidence in today's Extension Leaders.


Scholarship and Grant Report Stories

"Expanding and Strengthening my Academic Networks at the Twelfth International Conference on Health,

Wellness and Society"

Celina Wille, Utah/Iota Chapter - Richard Angus Professional Development Scholarship

Early in September, I attended and presented at this international conference on our nutrition education work at USU Extension with culturally diverse audiences during the pandemic. . The conference was hosted by the School of Human and Community Development at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and it was focused on building an epistemic community where academicians can make linkages across disciplinary, geographic and cultural boundaries. Attending round tables, poster sessions and presenting exposed me to innovative ways I can expand Extension health and wellness initiatives I am involved in, helped me learn health promotion strategies for people of diverse backgrounds and provided opportunities to broaden my academic networks on policies and practices in the health sciences beyond my local and national connections. I am very appreciative for the funding support I received from ESP to attend this conference as it has profoundly impacted me personally and professionally..


Save the Date

UCDA Affinity Group Extension Director Discussion Panel November 8

Membership Chair Open House November 15

2022 ESP Webinar Series

  • Wednesday, November 30: Ripple Effect Mapping of Community Garden Impacts

  • Wednesday, January 25: Building Community: Recognizing Implicit Bias and Microaggressions as Barriers

2023 ESP Webinar Proposals Due December 1

Scholarship and Grant Applications Due December 1

Intent to bid for the 2025 National ESP Conference Due March 1

JCEP Extension Leadership Conference February 7-9, 2023, Kansas City, Missouri 

JCEP Public Issues Leadership Development Conference April 16-19, 2023 Washington D.C.

2023 ESP National Conference September 24-28 Billings, Montana

2024 ESP National Conference October 27-31 Virginia Beach, Virginia

This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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