Breakout Sessions and Presenter Bios

Day 1: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

10:45 a.m.

Innovating for Impact

Find out what’s possible and what can get in the way of even greater local impact. eXtension Foundation’s CEO will share insights gained from 3,000 Extension professionals across all regions during the past four years. This will be an experiential talk including a taste of the Impact Collaborative’s Innovation Skill-Building Kit.

Dr. Christine Geith is CEO to the eXtension Foundation, serving the U.S. Cooperative Extension System. Dr. Geith brings 25 years of leadership experience as Assistant Provost at Michigan State University and Executive Director for Education Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. She provides leadership for innovative strategies for programs, research, Extension, outreach, and corporate engagement. Dr. Geith holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Design from State University College at Buffalo. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

1:00-2:15 p.m.: Breakout Sessions

#1: Exercise Motivation

This presentation will focus on the importance of physical activity and ways to motivate yourself to exercise.  It will include a discussion of the three main types of exercise and the current exercise guidelines for adults as well as the skills and tools needed to get started, and stick with, an exercise routine that works with your schedule.

Hilary Freeman, MS, RD, LD has worked as a TrestleTree Health Coach dedicated to UMS since 2016. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. Hilary received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a Master’s degree in Nutrition Science from East Carolina University. Prior to joining TrestleTree, Hilary has worked as an Education Coordinator delivering nutrition education services, has worked with people one-on-one as a Health Coach, and has experience working in various clinical settings to educate and support individuals in achieving a healthy lifestyle.

#2: Informing Innovations Through Deeper Insight on Strategic Priorities and Expansive Ideas

Recent national Extension initiatives and reports provide insight into innovation trends and issues. In response to questions from participants in eXtension Impact Collaborative events, eXtension adapted two business frameworks to provide deeper insight about innovation. The adapted frameworks are helpful for identifying strategic areas of focus for innovation and prompting expanded thinking about potential types of innovation. This session will explore the adapted Doblin Ten Types of Innovation Framework to highlight innovative ways that Extension programs and initiatives could incorporate. We will then explore the adapted Ansoff Quadrants to help Extension professionals measure the level of innovation a project/program. This session will include insights shared in this Journal of Extension commentary: Informing Innovations Through Deeper Insight on Strategic Priorities and Expansive Ideas.

Annie Jones, Ph.D., is Facilitator Manager for the eXtension Foundation with responsibilities for supporting eXtension’s 100 Impact Collaborative Innovation Skill Building Facilitators and for helping to design, implement, and evaluate events at member institutions. Annie also holds an appointment as a Professor, Organization Development and Tribal Nations Specialist at the University of Wisconsin Madison, Division of Extension. She earned her Ph.D. from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA from the School of Human and Organization Development. Annie’s research interests include the use of indigenous methodologies that are incorporated to achieve outcomes and impact at a Tribal and local level.

#3:  Cloud Storage Services: Know Your Options and Resources

  • Explore the benefits of using Google and Box.
  • Discuss security considerations, confidential data, sharing, and policies.
  • Demonstrate how to create a file or folder structure.
  • Show you how to sync storage devices to your desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
  • Explain what additional tools and resources are available (loaner credit, card devices).

Michele Lodgek has worked for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for 30+ years providing statewide training and technology support and continues this work in her current position as Financial & Data Management Systems Administrator. As part of the new Centralized Data Management System, she works with and trains staff on the intricacies of creating customized events, applications, and reports. Michele provides guidance and answers questions about varied technology tools and resources available to staff, while also researching and developing special projects to help automate systems and processes.

#4:  Un-Survey Evaluation

In order to ensure that our educational programs meet a high standard of quality and accountability, we need to increase evaluation and research skills, knowledge, and comfort among those involved in evaluating programming. This workshop will introduce embedded program evaluation that is not surveys.

Vanessa Klein is the STEM Specialist for Cooperative Extension as well as an Assistant Professor in the College of Education Human Development.

Day 2: Thursday, November 14

9:15-10:30 a.m.: Breakout Sessions

#1: Finding Your Personal Sustainability

In this workshop, participants will engage in large and small group discussion and lots of quiet time for reflection. We’ll use poems, research, writing, and listening to better understand what is needed for personal sustainability. And then we’ll work on taking steps to create more space for it to happen.

Leslie Forstadt, Ph.D. is the Human Development Specialist at UMaine Extension. Her work focuses on well-being, stress, and communication. She enjoys finding ways and providing opportunities for others to examine paths to being personally sustainable.

#2: Adapting to Changing Weather in Maine: Agriculture, Coastal and State Government Activity

Panel Discussion: Glen Koehler, Ivan Fernandez, Sonja Birthisel, and Esperanza Stancioff

Observed and predicted changes in weather for Maine agriculture, weather tools farmers can use for weather-based management decisions.

Glen Koehler: Birth, school, work, marriage, work, kids, work…

Glen’s areas of responsibility include integrated pest management of tree fruits (primarily apple) and weather-based predictive crop, pest timing, and severity models. He contributes to the USDA Northeast Climate Hub and Northeastern IPM Center.

    • Education: M.S., Insect population genetics, University of Maine, 1987
    • Work-related Certificates: Maine Pesticide Applicators license
    • Professional Organizations: Northeastern Integrated Pest Management Center Advisory and Steering Committees

#3: Best Practices to Becoming an “Influencer” in Your Area of Expertise (Panel Discussion)

Panel consists of:

Lynne Holland is a Community Education Assistant and Social Media Influencer with a background in Horticulture and Marketing. Lynne has spent 20+ years in the wholesale/retail horticulture industry. She lives in Brunswick and works out of the BEST county office in Extension: the Androscoggin/Sagadahoc office.

Mari Glatter’s primary duties entail coordinating and managing the 4-H education program in Aroostook County, with a special emphasis on 4-H STEM programming. Mari has 20 years of experience in education and volunteer recruitment and management.


      • Graduate Certificate in Classroom Technology Integrationist, University of Maine, 2018
      • B.S., Elementary Education, University of Maine, 1995
      • B.A., Music, University of Maine, 1994

Audrey Cross works for the Maine Food and Agriculture Center (MFAC)–formerly the Maine Agricultural Center (MAC). Which has been connecting food-related research efforts of the UMaine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station since 1999. Audrey is involved in MFAC research grant processes, and she manages the website Maine Food and Agriculture Center, including the expertise directory. Audrey is also the point person for food system inquiries from the public and can suggest resources or experts to consult.

    • Education: B.S., Ecology & Environmental Sciences (major), Sustainable Food Systems (minor). University of Maine, 2016
    • Professional Organizations: Association of Communication Excellence (ACE)

#4: UMaine and “The Web”: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

This workshop will detail the features available through the Cooperative Extension’s website, as well as other tools you can use to make the best impression online in the communities you serve.

Mike Kirby is Manager of Digital Communications at UMaine’s Division of Marketing and Communications. He is responsible for UMaine’s overall web presence and is passionate about the potential for a robust Internet presence.

10:45 a.m.

The State of Maine Office of Innovation and the Future (OIF)

Hannah Pingree, Director of State of Maine OIF, will discuss what the OIF is, what the OIF is seeking to accomplish and how the OIF intersects with Extension.

Hannah M. Pingree is the Director of the State of Maine Office of Innovation and the Future (OIF). The unit will “dive into major policy challenges, foster collaboration, and propose concrete, workable solutions” to the state’s problems. She has served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives (State Legislature), including one as Speaker of the House. She was the second woman to serve as Speaker of the House in Maine.

1:00 p.m.: Breakouts

#1: Idea Creation and Problem-Solving with Innovation Engineering

Learn a system that will help you rapidly create ideas, solve problems, and clearly communicate solutions.

Jason Bolton is a Food Safety Specialist and Academic Director of Innovation Engineering.

#2: Resilience: Learning to Navigate Rough Waters?

Resilience can be broadly understood as capacities for persistence, creativity, emotional intelligence, grit, cognitive flexibility, adapting to change, delaying gratification, learning from failure and success, and overcoming adversities.  Resilient individuals have strong relationships and support networks that help them bounce back from life’s stresses and challenges. Resilience isn’t about avoiding stress or difficult situations but rather it’s about learning to navigate rough waters and thrive within the stress. This interactive multimedia workshop on resilience will talk about principles and examples of resilience and give participants the opportunity to explore the role of resilience in their own lives.

Melissa Ladenheim received a BA from Hamilton College, a Master’s of Environmental Studies from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she specialized in material culture and folk art. She began teaching in the Honors College in 2005 and became Associate Dean in 2015. Melissa continues to teach in the first year of Civilizations sequence and has also taught Honors tutorials on social justice and food systems.

Melissa is a co-founder of the Honors College Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative and the Servant Heart Research Collaborative (Sierra Leone focus), which align undergraduate research capacities with issues facing societies at home and abroad using the knowledge to action model. She is also a member of the University of Maine Diversity Leadership Advisory Committee and offers workshops on religion and diversity. In 2012, Melissa received the Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence given by Maine Campus Compact and in 2017 received The Steve Gould Award for service to the University of Maine.

She is the author of “Birds in Wood: The Carvings of Andrew Zergenyi,” and her recent publications have focused on honors pedagogy and community-engaged research.

Sara Henry is the Director of Student Accessibility Services at the University of Maine. Sara earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education from the University of Vermont and has a wealth of experience in higher education working with students who have disabilities as well as a diverse student body including individuals who are low income, first-generation, students of color and LGTBQ. 

Sara helps students build self-awareness, resilience, and independence in her work at the University. Her recent work with students on resilience uses personal narratives to develop a growth mindset. Sara believes that assisting students in their educational journey is a privilege and every day she looks forward to driving onto the beautiful UMaine campus (even in winter). 

Sara gives presentations on disability awareness, ableism, executive functioning training for students and professionals, the transition from high school to college for students with disabilities and their parents, navigating the college accommodation process, resilience, professional presentation skills, and leadership development.

#3: Procurement 101

Training on Marketplace, Contracts & PCARD/TCARD

Renee Day is the Procurement Coordinator in Strategic Procurement office.

#4: UMaine and “The Web”: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

This workshop will detail the features available through the Cooperative Extension’s website, as well as other tools you can use to make the best impression online in the communities you serve.

Mike Kirby is Manager of Digital Communications at UMaine’s Division of Marketing and Communications. He is responsible for UMaine’s overall web presence and is passionate about the potential for a robust Internet presence.