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ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala.—In the wake of the COVD-19 pandemic, every national Cooperative Extension employee deserves special recognition for their hard work over the past two to three years. By adopting new program delivery and service models, they continued serving colleagues and consumers around the world. As a result of this hard work, several staff from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University received grants and other awards, making it quite an award-winning year.

AEA Awards

Each year the Association of Extension Administrators (AEA) honors programming staff at 1890 institutions across the country. This year, Alabama Extension 4-H and Youth Development Specialist Angela Williams was honored for her body of work. Among her accomplishments, Williams used her talents to reach 703 incarcerated youth, ensuring that 66 percent completed their GED at a local community college.

In addition, Allyson Shabel, an Alabama Extension urban regional agent, placed second in the AEA’s Systemwide Conference Poster Awards contest for the work, STEM in the Garden Virtual Teacher Training Workshop Enables Successful Outdoor Classrooms.

FWNR Team Awards

The Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources team, under the leadership of Environmental Specialist Karnita Garner, received several accolades this year for environmental programming. First, they were named Partner of the Year in January 2022 by the Alabama Project Learning Tree Steering Committee. Second, the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals and its Alabama Chapter awarded Garner and her team the bronze award in promotional and marketing materials for Earth Day and the Dothan Teen Nature Club activities.


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture awards capacity-building grants each year. This funding advances research and program delivery at land-grant institutions across the nation. This year grants were awarded to Alabama Extension staff as follows:

  • Rudy Pacumbaba, an Extension horticulture specialist, received $239,500 to further efforts with the STEM in the Gardens program targeting educators.
  • Haley Burns and Kimberly Holmes, Extension assistant director, received $250,000 for the Upward Alabama: Research and Community Programs initiative.
  • Valens Niyigena, an Extension animal sciences and forages specialist, was awarded $249,999 for the Breeding for Sustainable Control of Gastro-Intestinal Parasites in Meat Goats project.

Honorable Mentions

Other honorable mentions are as follows:

  • Williams was awarded $123,000 for a 4-H Tech Changemakers project.
  • The Association for Communications in Excellence honored the Alabama Extension staff with a bronze award in electronic media and audio for targeted audience for a video depicting nontraditional families.
  • Urban Regional Agent Tyler Thompson received a $17,000 grant from Alabama’s Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council to support 4-H robotics programming and promotion.
  • Pacumbaba and the urban agriculture team received a sub-award grant from Delaware State University to help small farmers secure USDA-GAP certification.

Congratulations to all award winners.

Learn More

Visit www.aces.edu/urban to learn more about Urban Extension programs and services or visit www.facebook.com/AlabamaExtensionAAMU for timely information, upcoming events and program activities.

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