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Using Mass Media for Extension Messaging

This group is for a 2019-2020 New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) project led by the National Pesticide Safety Education center with partial support from the eXtension Foundation. The project is focused on using Mass Media - radio and digital ads- to drive the public to Extension resources.

Back to the Future – Using Mass Media for Extension Messaging

Recording Available Here

Is the Extension system using the most modern and effective platforms and strategies to distribute content? How can extension reach new and untapped audiences? Mass Media used as an integrated system may provide a highly effective way to distribute content, reach new audiences and impact a broader range of demographics. But doing this requires working within two very different cultures and mindsets that will require a new thought process for extension professionals and a change in at least some of the bureaucratic structure and risk aversion commonly found in higher education. This has the potential to lead to a new paradigm shift for extension and opens up an opportunity to reach and impact millions of new audience members.

This webinar will share information about a pilot project led by the National Pesticide Safety Information Center (NPSEC) with partial support from the eXtension Foundation through the USDA New Technologies for Agricultural Extension (NTAE) grant.  


Presented By:

Tom Smith is the Executive Director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC), a non-profit he was hired to form and operate in 2017. NPSEC’s mission is to  serve and support extension Pesticide Safety Education Programs (PSEPs) in every state and US territory. Tom works with extension Pesticide Safety Educators and other stakeholders to manage the organizational, fiscal and governing structure of the Center. He oversees the development of services and products to help state and territory pesticide safety education programs operate more effectively and efficiently. Tom also works to identify and develop new revenue streams to help support pesticide safety education and to sustain NPSEC.  

Tom is also an Extension Specialist in Agriculture and Agribusiness at Michigan State University, where he is the PI of a $2.5 million EPA Meetings Implementation Cooperative Agreement with MSU for national pesticide safety and worker protection education.

He also is a co-principal investigator for VESTA, a National Science Foundation National Center of Excellence focused on online wine and grape education. Tom also does work related to standards and has conducted training programs for international delegations for inspection and certification of agricultural products. Other international work has included skills and workforce development in East Africa and Southeast Asia as well as teaching in China.




@Kara Maddox is the Creative Director of Communications for the National Pesticide Safety Education Center (NPSEC). Kara’s responsibilities include developing and implementing communications & marketing strategies, managing digital content and social media activity, and supporting Corporate Social Responsibility engagement efforts for NPSEC.

Kara joins the NPSEC team after 10 years of teaching in higher education. She is an Associate Professor of English and Communications at Georgia Military College. Her teaching career began when she was fifteen years old living just outside the city of Chicago where she worked as a Sensei with Illinois Shotokan Karate Club. She is a two-time national champion and junior Olympian in kumite.

In 2005, Kara moved down south to attend the University of Georgia where she double majored in English and English Education. She holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Augusta State University. In 2018, Kara earned her Master of Arts degree in Communications from Johns Hopkins University with concentrations in Public Relations & Digital Communications. She is the founder of KJMdigital and now lives in Colorado Springs, CO.




As the Executive Assistant, @Courtney Weatherbee provides administrative support to the National Pesticide Safety Education Center by coordinating meeting logistics, managing travel and expenses, preparing reports, responding to information requests, and maintaining the national Paraquat training database. 

Courtney is also an Administrative Assistant with Michigan State University Extension where she arranges travel and manages expenses as part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to host meetings related to Worker Protection Standard and Pesticide Certification & Training. 

She holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Entomology from Michigan State University (MSU). Before joining NPSEC, she served as Lab Manager for the Benbow Applied Ecology Lab at MSU and conducted forensic entomology research.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit extension.org. You can view the terms of useat extension.org/terms.

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