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Chizek honored for Extension work

By Staff | Mar 29, 2015

Framed by an educational display about home canning, Jerry Chizek, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach regional education director, works on a project with Linda Cline, the youth and 4-H program coordinator at their offices in the Crossroads Mall.

jhelling@messengernews.net

By Jerry Chizek’s reckoning, this is the golden age of Extension.

“With our technology and resources, we can reach more people,” said Chizek, who has served as education director of the Iowa State University Extension office for Region 7 since 2011.

Though information abounds from online sources, Extension serves to go above and beyond by providing research-based educational programming on a variety of topics.

“It’s information people can bank on,” Chizek said.

A Britt native, Chizek has spent the past 17 years with Extension. Prior to this, he taught agriculture in Manson and Pocahontas.

“What I’ve always enjoyed about education is being around people who maybe make you think differently,” he said.

This opportunity to learn was a factor in Chizek’s decision to pursue his master’s degree at Iowa State University in the early 1980s.

From there, he has moved through the ranks at Extension.

In recognition of Chizek’s work, the Alpha Mu chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi gave him the Mid-Career award.

A fraternity for Extension service professionals, the mission of Epsilon Sigma Phi is to foster the standards of excellence in the Extension system and to develop the Extension profession and professional.

Chizek, who served as Alpha Mu chapter president in 2012-2013, was recognized for his “professional goals similar to those of ISU Extension and Outreach: improve continuously, satisfy clients and look for programming and networking opportunities,” according to an ISU press release.

“Chizek works every day to maintain a proactive, visible community presence and deliver research-based educational programs that make ISU Extension and Outreach a part of people’s everyday lives,” the release said.

Professional development is key to maintaining a top-notch staff, according to Chizek.

As Region 7 director, Chizek works to oversee the development of educational programming in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family programming, community and economic development and business and industry.

Region 7 encompasses Webster, Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties.

Though grouped as a region, each county has considerable autonomy in terms of programming offered, he said. Each county maintains a office.

“We have good staff in all four offices,” said Chizek.

From today through Saturday, offices throughout the state will mark Extension Outreach Week.

From 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Webster County Extension staffers will conduct a public event at the Crossroads Mall to help showcase the office’s work, Chizek said.

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