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EDUCATOR SPOTLIGHT: Melanie Taylor
Melanie Taylor, McIntosh County Extension, Extension Educator, FCS/4-H/CED
I have been with OCES almost 15 years (will have my 15th anniversary in October 2015)
Program highlights include: being a member of the Health & Hunger Issue Team and the Risky Behavior Issue Team. I teach Growing Strong Bodies & Minds, Character Critters, Ag in the Classroom, Co-Parenting for Resilience, and OrganwiseGuys. I have a 50/50 assignment so I also work on numerous 4-H programs, camps, and day camps. For years I served on the old Food, Nutrition, and Health Impact team and was known throughout the county as the “Nutrition Lady”. I have been able to reach hundreds of students with nutrition/health based programs like Healthy Oklahoma, Walk across Oklahoma, Growing Strong Bodies & Minds, and OrganwiseGuys. McIntosh County Extension staff along with community volunteers are currently working through a Health & Hunger grant to build and sustain a community garden to help with the issue of food insecurity in the county.
I chose an Extension career because I wanted to do something where I felt I was helping people. I have the freedom to choose exactly which programs I provide based on my county needs, but all my programs provide information that will make their lives a little better.
There are two issues I’m most passionate about…Co-Parenting for Resilience and issues of hunger. I come from divorced parents and have been divorced myself. I want ALL divorcing parents to know that they CAN help their children adjust to their new way of life. Divorce is not a death sentence by any means, it’s just a different life than what they’ve been used to. It also breaks my heart to think of anyone going to bed hungry. I love the CNEP program and their mission to fight hunger. My county currently has a grant to build a community garden to help those who suffer with food insecurity. I can’t wait until harvest day when we can take food to those needing it most.
Diana Romano MS, RD Family & Consumer Science Education
County Assignment: OK County
Diana has been an FCS educator for 5 years. She worked as the Farm to You interactive exhibit coordinator for two and a half years traveling around the state to 57 counties. She visited elementary schools where she reached around 40000 kids.
Diana says the decision to be an Extension educator came after doing an internship
at the Oklahoma County Extension office and learning about what Extension is about.
She loved the fact that an FCS educator can reach so many people with different programs
to enrich their lives.
For the last 3 years Diana has been working with the Latino community in Oklahoma County. She teaches in group and individual settings with information about nutrition, physical activity, health,food safety and eating on a budget.
Diana has partnerships with the City County Health Department, Integris Hospital, local libraries, Head Start, and Manos Juntas Diabetes Foundation where she teaches nutrition and cooking classes in Spanish. She also partners with Buy for Less to do market tours in Spanish. Diana is a certified Arthritis Foundation Land Exercise Program as an instructor, she teaches this program at different senior centers around the county.
Diana earned her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics at the Pontifician Xaverian University in her native Colombia. There she worked 8 years as a Registered Dietitian in a clinical setting before moving to Oklahoma to pursue a Masters of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from OSU.