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New extension team gains familiarity

Staff writer

There are two relatively new faces at the Kansas State University/Marion County Extension Office. Tristen Cope and Jana Miller have joined 16-year veteran Rickey Roberts in running the department.

“The transition is going good,” Roberts said. “My board hired good people, and that made the transition smooth.”

Cope, the new family and consumer science agent, took over an office that had been vacant for about a month, and she is learning as she goes. Being involved in early childhood education, she was familiar working with families and communities.

She received three days of preliminary training at Kansas State University and relies for help on a Harvey County extension agent who has been assigned to mentor her in her new position.

“I got a lot of emails, calls, and letters from other agents welcoming me to extension,” she said. “It’s different not having someone to train me, but I get to explore and learn everything on my own.”

She became immersed in county fair duties last month, overseeing the 4-H building, checking in exhibits, working with the foods manager, and communicating with judges.

Now she is busy entering qualifiers in the state fair. She and Roberts are brainstorming ways to get more families to join 4-H.

“It’s a change from what I was doing, but I do enjoy the opportunities to meet so many different people,” she said.

Having grown up on a farm, office manager Lana Miller of Peabody brings with her a familiarity with farming and 4-H. She was thankful for the month and a half of training she received from Doris Winkler before Doris retired July 31.

“She tried to teach me everything she knows, but there are things I’ll have to learn on my own,” Miller said. “I miss Doris, but I’m excited to meet new people and learn new things.”

Roberts agreed that replacing Winkler’s expertise would take time.

“With Doris, 55 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge will be difficult to replace overnight,” he said. “There’s a hole there, but Jana is proving to be very valuable to us.”

All agreed they get along well.

“We’re getting closer the longer we work together,” Cope said. “We are learning each other’s skills. I’m grateful for Rickey and his experience.”

Last modified Aug. 10, 2017

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