2018-19 Cohort

Katie ahern

Katie Ahern

Senior Instructor, OSU Extension Service Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed, Deschutes County

Mentor: Jennifer Alexander, Director Extension and Experiment Station Communication

LDPE Project Summary:

My project was completing a Nutrition Education Volunteer Toolkit for the Family and Community Health SNAP-Ed volunteer program. The toolkit has four main components: training manual and volunteer notebook, marketing toolkit, onboarding paperwork and an electronic sign-up process for events. I applied for and received a grant to increase an employee’s FTE for two years to focus on the editing of the training manual and implementation of trainings in our region. The goal will be a ‘toolkit’ of supplies for other units to replicate trainings with ease. Working with my leadership mentor and her team, we started the process of a marketing toolkit for this program. The marketing toolkit will have a flyer (English and Spanish), press release, list of potential sources/partners to market trainings, and social media posts. Next, we chose a ‘sign up’ app so that volunteers will know schedules of events, be able to sign up for the events and communicate with each other regarding location, recipes etc. A pilot group of volunteers will be trained in setting up the app this fall.

During LDPE, I valued the self-assessment components including having the time to continue growing, reflecting, and evaluating how to best utilize this information as I move down the leadership path. Working together with strong leaders and connecting with campus resources allowed me to develop beyond my program area. I am more confident in reaching out for collaboration with other divisions, my abilities to support a team, and mentoring colleagues.


Carrie Berger

Associate Program Leader, Forestry & Natural Resources

Mentor: Melody Oldfield, Assistant VP University Relations and Marketing

LDPE Project Summary:

My leadership project for the 2019 LDPE was on the Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) Extension Fire Program. There were two parts to my project. One, I focused on ways to make the Fire Program’s Fire Science Core Curriculum more accessible to our diverse group of stakeholders. The end result was a developed plan for the Curriculum through the Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) team here at OSU to provide five short courses for certificate to meet the needs of our FNR working community. We also developed a plan to scale the short courses into courses suitable for landowner education. At the national level, we worked with a group of agency professionals to contribute the Fire Ecology Module of the Curriculum to the Wildland Fire Learning Portal. This Portal is available to all fire and resource professionals across the United States. I also focused my project efforts on garnering funding for the Fire Program. Through a needs assessment process, I contributed to the development of the FNR Extension Fire Program Initiative. This Initiative became part of the Statewide Public Service ask to the Oregon State Legislature for new funding. Due to the assessments taken at the beginning of LDPE, I was able to harness my strengths while shoring up weaknesses and jump into the arena – and out of my comfort zone – to talk with Senators and Representatives on the importance of a statewide Fire Program. The end result? Approved funding by the Governor for the FNR Extension Fire Program!


Erica Curry

Academic Programs Manager, Division of Extended Campus

Mentor: Jesse Nelson, Associate Vice Provost of Academic Achievement

LDPE Project Summary:

As Chair of the Board for Oregon Women in Higher Education (owhe.org), I focused on facilitating the strategic planning process for our Board of Directors during our leadership retreat and throughout the summer.

Throughout the program, I valued creating the space and opportunities to learn about myself as a leader and to recognize how to leverage that authentic self into an effective leader. Post-program, I'll be placing a lot more trust in myself and stepping back to let others contribute. I'll also be focusing more on developing management skills to pair with leadership.


Susan Fein

Instructional Designer, Division of Extended Campus

Mentor: Deborah Maddy, Associate Provost Emeritus, Outreach and Engagement

LDPE Project Summary:

I valued the LDPE cohort's collaboration, connection, team activities; seeing "leadership" demonstrated in a variety of ways. I now know I can provide leadership from any role or job title and am more willing to offer my input.


Amanda Bielenberg-Hayes

Conference and Events Manager, Outreach & Engagement, Extension Service, Open Campus, and Marketing Manager, Open Campus

Mentor: Jennifer Almquist, Chief Assistant to the President

LDPE Project Summary:

Using a non-traditional community engagement model, my project was to create and execute an equitable and wider-reaching Juntos Family Day 2019, with new and comprehensive partners, a fundraising campaign (which raised $9500 for Family Day), and a post-event impact assessment. On May 11, 2019, the Corvallis campus welcomed over 1500 Juntos, Mi Familia students, their families, and partners to Oregon State to engage in college and career showcase workshops, as well as connect with educational resources, social groups, programs, financial aid, and other opportunities. The driving goal behind Family Day is to give families a snapshot of OSU college life and build upon the Juntos tradition of offering community-based preparation and educational pathways. Among many positive quantitative results, after attending, 93% of students could see themselves as college students, with 62% of all students hoping to attend OSU. For a full qualitative look at the event's impact, watch our video here: beav.es/ZsC.

During LDPE, I valued the interpersonal assessments and in-depth facilitated look at them with Jeff King. I have learned a lot about the broad definition of leadership, as well as how this differs from "managing." I also now see different approaches as positive and invaluable additions to my work. As a leader, being able to celebrate, encourage, and bring out everyone's different perspectives and personal strengths is intrinsic to a well-rounded team.


Dr. Claudia Maier

Professor, Department of Chemistry; Director, Oregon State University’s Mass Spectrometry Center

Mentor: Ben McLuen, Senior Director of Development, Earth Systems Science Division, OSU Foundation

LDPE Project Summary:

Development of an endowed fellowship for student success and graduate students with interest in analytical chemistry and mass spectrometry and a vision of advancing biomedical research to improve human and animal health. During LDPE, I valued the reserved time to explore leadership, coaching, communication and engagement strategies, and I will incorporate, more regularly, continuing education in and implementation of leadership and coaching concepts.


Didgette McCracken

Open Campus Coordinator, Grant County

Mentor: Dana Martin, Former Central Oregon Regional Director

LDPE Project Summary:

I have developed a Rural Health Medical Career Day for our County. This will include all schools in our county and a partnership with our local hospital and medical community. Our day will focus on careers locally and how students can access pathways to those careers. There will be a variety of careers showcased, all of which are within our community.

I truly enjoyed the components of the self assessments within the program. This was very valuable in learning about self traits, as well as those of others. Post-LDPE, I think a lot about what others are thinking and what their reasons are for thinking and approaching problems as they do. Everyone has different needs to be successful. Being aware of others' needs is valuable.


LeeAnn Mikkelson

Oregon Natural Resources Education Program Director

Mentors: Stella Melugin Coakley, Professor Emeritus, Botany and Plant Pathology and Associate Dean Emeritus, College of Agricultural Sciences; SueAnn Bottoms, Director, Precollege Programs

LDPE Project Summary:

Programmatic Strategic Planning Phase #1 was my leadership project. I organized a 2 day strategic Delete repeated word summit with 20 different stakeholders and partners. They came to learn Program Operations and Management, Strategic Leadership, and Program Development and Implementation. Combining their prior knowledge and experience with the program and the present realities they went through a process that laid out suggestions for short term, medium-term and long term actions. At this point the whole group prioritized the suggestions to provide a robust set of recommendations that were organized and ready for the new program director.

Dedicated time to think about leadership--you as a leader, and how you show up as a leader--has been valuable throughout the program. Also, that LDPE has a cohort that has the professionalism to keep you accountable without pressure. I am now being more intentional about valuing and sharing my perspective, while listening and validating others' perspectives. I trust my team and I own what is not working so that we, as a team, can puzzle through an issue collaboratively.


Maurine (Reni) Powell

Summer Session/Program Insights Assistant Director, Division of Extended Campus

Mentor: Jeff Sherman, OSU Open Campus Program Leader

LDPE Project Summary:

Peer-Coaching Presentation (Spring 2019) - A presentation that helped the cohort better understand: What coaching is vs what is it not? What types of (professional) coaches exist? What it mean to be a certified coach? The elements of coaching and the framework that supports it, along with an opportunity to practice peer-coaching in preparation for peer-coaching others within the cohort.

Having gained, through LDPE, more clarity on the difference between leadership and management (i.e. supervision), I am and will continue to approach the avenues of leadership, communication and supervision from the lens of "Can Do!" as opposed to questioning myself with "Can I Do?" The three days of self-assessment at the beginning of the program were incredibly insightful and an excellent starting point for helping break the ice to encourage folks to get to know each other. On the back end, the 2.5 days the cohort spent together presenting on each of their capstone projects combined with everyone's progressive insights on the panel discussions/interactive presentations was the cherry on the cake (per se) as it provided a great platform for highlighting our progress and accomplishments as leaders throughout the past year.


Stuart Reitz

Director, Malheur County Experiment Station; Former Professor and Extension Faculty, Cropping Systems

Mentor: Bill Boggess, Executive Associate Dean, CAS

LDPE Project Summary:

As a new director, I wanted to make sure I understood the organizational structure of our station from three different viewpoints – what was on paper, what was my perception as the director, and what was the perception of the staff members. My project concerned reviewing position descriptions with all of the staff members and then modifying them as appropriate to make sure they reflected the employee’s actual work, what I believed the station needed, and satisfied the employee’s expectations for their position.

I valued the opportunity for self-reflection that LDPE offered. The personal assessments provided a great starting point for that, but the greatest benefit came from the other members of the cohort. I appreciated the opportunity to compare and contrast my ideas regarding leadership with those of my colleagues in the program and how they viewed the concept of being a leader and how they aspire to being good leaders.


Dr. Ramesh Sagili

Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture

Mentor: Dr. Alan Sams, Dean College of Agricultural Sciences

LDPE Project Summary:

My leadership project focused on creation of “Center for Pollinator Research”. As insect pollinator (bees) declines have been in the limelight for more than a decade, there has been an exponential increase in interest in pollinators (bees) and pollinator health, thus increasing the demand for pollinator research, outreach and education. Pollinator research is becoming more interdisciplinary involving researchers from various disciplines that were not a part of pollinator research in the past. Over the past 5 years, the number of faculty conducting research on pollinators at Oregon State University has increased significantly. To facilitate collaborative research and extension/ outreach activities, i envisioned the need for a center for pollinator research. I sought advice from my mentor Dean Alan Sams regarding this ambitious project, who graciously provided excellent input/suggestions regarding the process and steps involved in creation of such a center. The objectives of this project include (i) building a website with faculty, staff and student profiles involved in pollinator research (ii) organizing joint seminar series and (iii) organizing annual pollinator conference/symposium. Potential benefits of having a center for pollinator research: (a) enhanced research collaborations (b) graduate student recruitment (c) boost funding opportunities (may qualify for USDA NIFA “centers for excellence” criteria for priority funding (d) increases public presence. This project is in progress and hope to accomplish all the objectives during the next couple of years.

Throughout this program, I had the opportunity to identify my strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, my participation and interactions reinforced some very important values that i had overlooked due to increasingly busy schedule.


Nicole Strong

Regional Director, Central Oregon, Outreach and Engagement

Mentor: Wiley Thompson, Regional Director, Oregon Coast, Outreach and Engagement

LDPE Project Summary:

Form a team, develop a process towards building a Strategic Direction for private landowners in the Forestry and Natural Resources Extension program.

Through this program, I valued problem-solving with peers, increasing self-awareness, permission to dig deep. I feel more comfortable being myself and using my own style and tools in leadership now. I will continue to lean on peers for coaching and bouncing ideas.


Jackie Thorsness

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), College of Agricultural Sciences; Manager, Agricultural Sciences and Marine Sciences Business Center (AMBC)

Mentor: Sherm Bloomer, AVP Budget & Resource Planning

LDPE Project Summary:

My project was to work with the College of Agricultural Sciences’ (CAS) leadership to consider changes to the college’s budget model in light of OSU’s newly implemented Shared Responsibility Budget Model (SRBM). The ultimate goal for the project was to determine how best to allocate CAS budget resources. As a college, we want to maximize the funding coming to our college and to allocate budget to our units in a way that incentivizes decisions that are in alignment with the college’s strategic intent. While my project is not complete, we have made good progress in the technical components - such as fully understanding OSU’s new SRBM and utilizing existing data to see how each of our departments/units is contributing to the bottom line. The various metric data has been shared with unit leaders for ground-truthing the data used in the SRBM. The current CAS budget model has been reviewed with CAS unit leaders, showing how the current CAS model is unsustainable. The budget allocation methodology can have a big impact on units, as this funding is a lifeline for departments, their programs, and faculty/staff/students. The next step is to share some potential allocation scenarios in more detail at the CAS Fall Workshop in November and to work with a committee to further determine the best way to allocate CAS budget resources.

Within LDPE, I really enjoyed learning more about the various leadership assessments, such as Emotion & Social Intelligence, Myers-Briggs, Strengths Finder, and Change Style Indicator. From the various leadership “assessments,” I have a better understanding of myself, my strengths, the way I approach change and conflict, etc. I am more intentional and put more up-front planning and thought into my leadership and communication after having gone through the LDPE program and believe it has made me more effective in my various roles.


Dr. Desiree Tullos

Professor, Biological and Ecological Engineering Department

Mentor: Jane Lubchenco, Professor

LDPE Project Summary:

My primary leadership project was focused on supporting a large and diverse stakeholder group to identify potential solutions to address a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) occurring in the Willamette River near downtown Portland. The project involved hosting a design charrette early in the project, two meetings with local, state, and federal regulators mid project, and a dissemination and visioning workshop at the end of the project. Other activities included developing a project website, synthesizing current knowledge about the system and science, and leading 11 teams of students in developing alternatives analysis to examine the technical and regulatory feasibility of different solutions. This project required that I rely on my network to develop facilitation skills (thank you Lynette, Greg, and Todd!) and to provide technical review of significant scientific assumptions and uncertainties around HABs (thank you Theo, Kurt, and Petra!).

This program also helped me advance work related to sustainable flood management and gain insight and experiences on leading science-based policy. My project mentor, Jane, helped me understand the key pathways to contributing to policy at the national scale, some of which I was able to execute during the LDPE program. The highlight for me has been meeting with legislators on the Hill in Washington DC to discuss the science basis for reform of the National Flood Insurance Program.

With a deeper understanding of what leadership is, and new skills tools in my toolbox, I feel better equipped to support others in their success, make decisions that reinforce by my values, listen and communicate from a position of non-judgement, and be curious about my own limitations and assumptions that limit the impact of my work. I am so grateful for the relationships, tools, experiences, and inspiration that the LDPE program provided. I have no doubt that these are resources that I will be revisiting throughout my career.


Bethany Ulman

Student Success Coach, Division of Extended Campus

Mentor: Ana Lu Fonseca, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Outreach and Engagement

LDPE Project Summary:

For my LDPE leadership project, I offered coaching to all employees within Ecampus. It was specifically to help folks in our organization think more intentionally about how they were including diversity, equity, and inclusion into their work. In alignment with the campus-wide We Have Work to Do campaign, I wanted to help people think about how they could take responsibility for DEI work. I was able to meet with 3 individuals and provide a group coaching session for the assistant directors in the Marketing team.

The most valuable components of LDPE were the assessments that Jeff King facilitated. I learned a lot more about myself and how I see myself as a leader. Through this program I feel like I found a lot of strong examples of good leadership. Vulnerability, courage, and facing conflict will be helpful in terms of leading those on my team in a more productive way.