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FYCS faculty are involved in various areas of extension and run multiple programs across the state of Florida.

FYCS faculty are involved in various areas of extension and run multiple programs across the state of Florida.

Catherine Campbell

Dr. Campbell's extension work draws on her research by (i) working collaboratively with local governments to identify policies and programs to support Florida farmers and leveraging community food systems to achieve economic, sustainability, and nutrition goals, and (ii) developing and implementing programs to educate county faculty and community leaders on methods to increase incentives and reduce barriers to local food production and purchasing that is healthful, profitable, safe, and sustainable that fosters youth development, builds communities, and supports food producers. Her current efforts are focused on supporting the sustainability and profitability of urban agriculture and leveraging urban food production to support access to healthy food in urban communities.

Dr. Randy Cantrell

Dr. Cantrell focuses his extension efforts on developing curricula so county faculty can assist home occupants in making financial decisions about their living environment. This typically takes on the form of learning to care for the dwelling they live in or are attempting to gain occupancy to live in.This is accomplished via programs that teach maintenance, energy upgrades, aging-in-place upgrades, and nurturing and improving relationships among occupants residing within the dwelling. The two programs that embody these notions are: 1) Homeflow, and 2) Making It On Your On 

Dr. David Diehl

Dr. Diehl is an associate professor and state extension specialist with expertise in program planning and evaluation. He was formerly the Director of Evaluation Initiatives for Family Support America and a Research Associate and Associate Director of the Center for Practical Evaluation at the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute. He received his doctorate from Cornell University in Human Development, with a dissertation addressing the implementation and evaluation of a Head Start reading project.

Dr. Diehl has research interests in the areas of child welfare and evaluation research and he has expertise in participatory evaluation, community planning, child development, early intervention, survey development, foster care, and youth assets.  He provides program planning and evaluation support for state and county Extension faculty in a diversity of areas, including nutrition, financial education, and parenting. He is currently working on evaluation projects related to common indicators related to Family and Consumer Science programming in the state of Florida.

Dr. Keith Diem

Dr. Diem has served in a variety of Extension roles in multiple states since 1982; including County Extension/4-H Youth Development Agent, County Extension Director, State Extension Specialist, District Extension Director, and Associate Dean for Extension/State Program Leader. He currently holds an 80 percent Extension appointment (20 percent Teaching) and provides leadership for Extension programming related to program planning & evaluation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion and has taught a variety of Extension audiences including Extension faculty/staff, volunteers, 4-H youth, and a variety of community organizations. Some recent examples of his Extension efforts have been teaching workshops at 4-H University for 4-H teens, seminars at National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP) and Joint Council for Extension Professionals (JCEP) conferences, statewide and district training for Extension faculty through Extension Symposia and in-service education, orientation of new Extension faculty through the Extension Faculty Development Academy, and development of and leading an IFAS-wide online professional development course, “Championing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.” He has also taught Extension programs in India and Brazil.

Dr. Jeneé Duncan

Dr. Duncan is an Assistant Professor of Prevention Science and Family Science in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Dr. Duncan’s extension experiences are centered around strengthening family relationships, specifically families experiencing stressful contexts. In her work she has been involved with several intervention programs providing relationship education to youth and families involved in the child welfare system, as well as coparenting education to single and adolescent parents. In this role, she has also provided training to community and public health educators in youth-focused and coparenting education curricula,  led curriculum adaptation, and led program evaluation.

Dr. Martie Gillen

Dr. Gillen is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner and an Accredited Financial Counselor.  She has a 25% Extension appointment and provides leadership for Extension programming related to trauma informed care as well as family and consumer economics.  

Dr. Gillen offers in-service trainings for Extension staff and faculty on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma and the brain, trauma and decision-making, and trauma informed approaches for working with adults and children including the use of TBRI. She also consults on existing Extension programs to apply a trauma informed lens by suggesting program adaptions as needed.  She offers educational programs to the public on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), building resiliency by increasing protective factors, brain development across the lifecycle, child development and parenting, trauma and decision-making over the lifecycle, and trauma informed classrooms for public and private schools and daycares.  She is currently working with a team of Extension educators to adapt TBRI for Extension programming that will be available for county faculty use. 

Her family and consumer economics Extension programming includes educating foster and adoptive families on the adoption tax credit and claiming a foster child as a dependent. As of 2021, this resulted in an estimated amount totaling over $100,000 in tax savings to Florida families. She also provides leadership to the Women and Money: Unique Issues Extension program with new modules released in 2021 focused on difficult financial times such as the pandemic. 

Dr. Gillen also leads the Military Family Learning Network Personal Finance concentration area.  The Personal Finance concentration area seeks to strengthen and build the financial management capability and education of Personal Financial Managers (PFMs) and Cooperative Extension educators who work with military service members and families.

Dr. Victor Harris

Victor William Harris, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Florida in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. Dr. Harris is nationally recognized for his experience with empirically-informed program design, teaching methodologies, and curriculum enhancement. As a Certified Family Life Educator, he currently directs the multi-million-dollar SMART Couples Florida Project designed to help youth, singles, couples, parents, and co-parents better understand how to form and maintain strong, healthy, long-lasting relationships. Over 5,000 youth and adults have completed SMART Couples classes and thousands have enjoyed the over 130 trusted easy-to-read research-based blogs and articles on dating, engaged, married, remarried, divorced, parenting and coparenting topics found at

Dr. Angie Lindsey

Since 2017, Angie has served as the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Point-of-Contact for UF/IFAS. Her Extension work includes serving as the internal point person for disaster management and developing internal communication and outreach tools. She works with Extension administration on managing UF/IFAS’ preparedness, response and recovery in times of disaster.  In addition, Angie works with Extension faculty and staff to provide products and training needed to effectively manage a disaster within communities.  Her outreach efforts have included the development of program materials and outreach pieces including EDIS documents, fact sheets, issue guides, videos and social media.

Dr. LaToya O'Neal

Dr. O’Neal is the statewide leader for Extension programs in chronic disease prevention and management. She is program director of the Rural HEALTH (Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle Tools for Heart Health) and Let’s Walk, Florida! Programs. Rural HEALTH is a community-based, integrated research and extension program. County Extension educators provide targeted healthy lifestyle education and support community health strategies for diabetes prevention, diabetes management, and hypertension management among rural, low-income, and racial/ethnic minority families. The Let’s Walk, Florida! Program is a virtual educational program designed to help Floridians achieve and maintain health through physical activity. Participants connect with County Extension educators who help them meet their health and wellness goals. 

Dr. Dale Pracht

Dale Pracht's primary responsibilities include (55% time) serving as State Extension Specialist in community based organizational systems for youth programs. He uses transformational leadership and experiential learning to facilitate collaboration and organizational change in youth programs in rural and urban communities. He supports faculty, staff, and volunteers throughout the state of Florida in UF/IFAS Extension and integrates action research into all programming efforts.  Dale currently serves as a Co-PI on two grants addressing youth issues in rural communities and a Multistate Hatch project evaluating retention of new 4-H members. He also collaborates with Family and Consumer Sciences addressing food safety issues as have provided educational information on risk management for the 4-H Youth Development Program through an EDIS series.  In addition, he collaborates with faculty to address retention efforts for 4-H Faculty across the state of Florida. He serves on the Leadership and Citizenship Action Team for the Florida 4-H Youth Development program and is currently a member of the Extension Roadmap steering committee as they plan future programming efforts for UF/IFAS Extension.  

Dr. Heidi Radunovich

Dr. Heidi Radunovich's responsibilities are focused on stress and mental health, and she is part of the Health and Wellness Priority Work Group. She maintains and supports the Childcare Provider CEU program which allows county faculty to provide CEUs for childcare provider training. She has also developed Extension stress management programs for both adults and youth. In addition to mental health-related talks, much of her Extension work is related to grant funded projects, including disaster mental health trainings, agricultural mental health trainings, and how Extension can help rural veterans. 

Dr. Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar

Dr. Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar serves as a State Specialist in Financial Resource Management. He has developed two programs in collaboration with county faculty: Your Credit Matters (YCM) and My Financial Journey. His background as a methodologist has allowed for cross-departmental and cross-college outreach and extension collaborations in sustainable agriculture and food systems. 

Dr. Karla Shelnutt

Dr. Shelnutt provides statewide leadership for her Extension program that addresses obesity prevention and healthy lifestyles through the lifecycle with a focus on families with low income. She serves as the Principal Investigator of the Family Nutrition Program (Florida’s SNAP-Education Program) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which teach low-resource families to make better food and physical activity choices. These programs also help support changes to policies, systems, and environments to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Dr. Shelnutt has developed curricula and Extension publications based on the most updated dietary guidance that are widely used throughout the state as part of her program.

Dr. Amy Simonne

Dr. Simonne provides statewide leadership addressing food safety and quality issues to reduce foodborne illness risk and improve life quality through food safety training and education for professionals, volunteers, and consumers.  

Her programs include: Food Safety Certification and Training, Home Food Processing and Cottage Foods and  Food Quality, Food Labelling and Regulation Issues.  

Dr. Mickie Swisher

My work involves combined research and extension activities and most of my research occurs on multidisciplinary teams of biological and social scientists. I play two roles on these teams. Our projects address the productivity, environmental impacts, and profitability of agricultural production with a focus on alternatives to conventional production techniques, crops, products and systems. I have major responsibility for many extension activities by these teams. Our current projects include a focus on emerging trends in local, national and global food distribution systems that offer opportunities for new approaches for direct-to-consumer sales and new entry points into large-scale mass market venues for Florida farmers. My second role focuses on strengthening the role of stakeholders in the scientific research process in order to produce innovations that can and will be adopted by end users, whether they be farmers, distributors, or consumers. I typically take responsibility for identifying the needs of potential beneficiaries of the research, incorporating stakeholder concerns and knowledge into research design and data collection during the life of the project, and ensuring guidance and oversight of the research through engaged, active advisory panels. I serve as the Director of the Center for Sustainable and Organic Food Systems (CSOFS). The Center’s mandate is to serve as a catalyst to bring together multi-disciplinary teams for research, teaching, and outreach that address critical challenges to the sustainability of food systems. I am also the state coordinator for the outreach or Extension component of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program. The primary role of the state coordinator is to support, enhance, and extend the impact of the research projects supported through SARE grants awarded in the state. 

Center for Sustainable & Organic Food Systems

Dr. Melissa Vilaro

Dr. Vilaro's integrated research/Extension program focuses on developing culturally tailored behavior change interventions for chronic disease prevention with a focus on the cancer continuum and health disparities. Dr. Vilaro uses qualitative inquiry, mixed methods, and community-engaged approaches in her work. She has served as a PI, co-investigator, and trainee on several grants including CTSI- and NIH- funded projects. As part of a National Cancer Institute, Supplement to promote Diversity in Health-Related she led a project that uses virtual human technology to communicate nutrition risk factors via a web-based intervention. With interdisciplinary teams, she collaborates on innovative strategies to enhance the cultural sensitivity and effectiveness of technologies used widely among diverse populations including minoritized (e.g., Black, lower income) rural adults. She is an active member of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center (UFHCC) and a member of NHLBI-funded, PRIDE-CVD cohort 10 and takes pride in being an active mentor to students.