The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has announced the hiring of new agents in districts across the state.
AgriLife Extension employs county agents to serve every Texas county. These county agents are the agency’s connection with the people in communities and provide hands-on education and programming based on scientific research.
A complete county agents list can be found at https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/counties/.
Following are the individuals hired in the AgriLife Extension districts and the county agent positions they will fill:
Disaster Assessment and Recovery, DAR, agents
— Cody Allen, Disaster Assessment and Recovery, East Area, Disaster District 15 and 16c. Allen, of Huntsville, received his associate of applied science degree in criminal justice at Angelina College and earned his bachelor’s in criminal justice and master’s in science at Sam Houston State University. He spent the past nine years working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, five of those years were as a food service sergeant. Allen was active in FFA and held both the advisor and the chaplain position in his four years of high school. “I joined AgriLife Extension because I have the ability to teach others about disaster preparedness, but also to serve my community,” Allen said.
— Giovanni Carrillo, West Area, Disaster District 8. Carrillo, of El Paso, earned his bachelor’s in kinesiology at the University of Texas at El Paso. During a span of four years, he was employed in various roles with the U.S. Census Bureau, City of El Paso Office of Emergency Management, fire department and emergency preparedness program. In these positions, he gained valuable experience in data collection and analysis, disaster response and mitigation, and emergency planning and management. He said he believes in the power of collaboration. “Working with community members, organizations and stakeholders can lead to more impactful and sustainable solutions for our challenges.” Carrillo said he aims for a meaningful impact through his work with AgriLife Extension and aspires to contribute significantly to disaster assessment and recovery efforts, leveraging his skills and expertise to enhance the unit’s effectiveness.
— JerriAnn Cornett, West Area, Disaster District 7. Cornett, of Throckmorton, earned her associate degree in farm and ranch management at Vernon College. She earned her bachelor’s in agriculture services and development from Tarleton State University and master’s in agriculture science from Texas A&M-Kingsville. Cornett spent the last year and nine months working for the Texas Division of Emergency Management, TDEM, as a Region 1 mitigation coordinator for Disaster District 7. Prior to her work at TDEM she was the AgriLife Extension agent from 2018-2022 in Throckmorton County. She was active in 4-H and FFA growing up, participating in horse and livestock judging, public speaking, chapter conducting, showing livestock and horses, and was actively involved in rodeo.
— Luke Drosche, South Area, Disaster District 17. Drosche, of Lexington, earned his bachelor’s in environmental geoscience with a minor in meteorology from Texas A&M University. While at Texas A&M, he worked in the Outdoor Adventures program and completed various research projects on severe thunderstorms, flooding and lightning. After graduating, he spent a few months working in San Marcos as a lake management technician before jumping on the opportunity to come back and work for AgriLife Extension. He likes to hunt, fish and do any other activity outdoors. He looks forward to using his geosciences background to work in the DAR program helping Texans whenever they need it most. “I am most passionate about helping folks during a tough time,” Drosche said.
— Carlos Garza, South Area, Disaster District 24. Garza, of Edinburg, earned his bachelor’s in criminal justice at the University of Texas Pan American. He spent the past 15 years as a teacher for IDEA Public Schools in Edinburg. Garcia also ran a beef cattle operation with his father for the past 30 years, working cattle on their family ranches in South Texas since the age of 5. They were producers of Beefmaster cattle. Garcia is an avid hunter and fisherman and loves to be in the outdoors when possible. He said he is most passionate about agriculture and wildlife and helping people with new ideas and improving old ones.
— Sean Semko, West Area, Disaster District 10. Semko, of El Paso, earned a bachelor’s in public health with an emphasis in community health from the University of Texas at El Paso. He spent the last two years at the Department of Public Health in El Paso as a preparedness planner. In that time, he was able to successfully bring Project Public Health Ready re-accreditation status to the department. His passion lies in working with the people in the communities he serves, and he strives to help them face the challenges that emergency situations can bring. “I joined AgriLife Extension to bolster my experience in emergency management while gaining new experiences from the agricultural and livestock perspective,” Semko said. “I hope through my work I can help communities be better prepared to mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from the disasters they may face. My passion for working with people will help make that a reality by learning, understanding and connecting with them.”
— Kyra Sucharski, West Area, Disaster District 12. Sucharski, of Laurel, Maryland, earned her bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in emergency and environmental management from the University of Delaware. Along with her degree, she also received minors in animal science and equine science. She spent the past three years stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as an engineer officer in the U.S. Army. She primarily worked as a Command Family Readiness representative, managing emergency communication plans between family members and service members as well as planning unit-level social events. Sucharski said she is passionate about disaster preparedness education and is looking forward to interacting with the members of her district. “I strive to provide educational tools and training that will help both my agents and members of the community to be better prepared and resilient when faced with a disaster,” she said.
New county agents
District 5, headquartered in Overton
Lori Frederick, Better Living for Texans, Nacogdoches. Frederick, of Garrison, earned a cosmetology instructor license from Panola Junior College, a bachelor’s in family consumer science from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master’s in curriculum and instruction at the University of Texas-Tyler. For the last nine years, Frederick has worked in public school districts as a high school education and training, culinary arts, and child development teacher. She was voted Teacher of the Year at Timpson High School for the 2021-2022 school year and has been a teacher leader for the Texas Association of Future Educators at the region, area and state level. She also was chosen to present at the national Educator’s Rising Convention in Washington, D.C., in 2022. She was active in FFA while in school showing chickens, heifers, steers, market lambs and goats; and she also participated in livestock judging, plant identification, and various other nutrition and apparel projects. “I am passionate about giving back to my community to help enrich the lives of others by understanding their needs and helping to overcome the obstacles they are facing by using innovative solutions focusing on health, agriculture and environmental factors,” Frederick said.
District 6, headquartered in Fort Stockton
Erica Batla, 4-H program assistant, Glasscock. Batla, of Valley View, earned her bachelor’s in agricultural services and development at Tarleton State University. Before starting as the 4-H program assistant, she spent the last five years working as support staff in the AgriLife Extension office in Glasscock County. Batla said she is passionate about working with youth and promoting the 4-H program in Glasscock County and looks forward to working alongside other colleagues in this new position. “I hope to make our youth feel inspired and passionate about what all they can accomplish through 4-H,” she said.
District 8, headquartered in Stephenville
Jennifer Powell, Better Living for Texans agent, Williamson County. Powell, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, earned her bachelor’s in biology from the University of Missouri and a master’s with an emphasis in human nutrition and food science from New Mexico State University. Powell spent a year as a program coordinator for Cooperative Extension Services in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and a year as a program coordinator for Thurston County Extension in Washington state. She earned a personal training certification and worked for 12 years as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Powell said she has worked with a wide range of audiences from preschoolers to senior citizens, people with Type 2 diabetes, those with Parkinson’s, and youth and young adults with autism or other special needs. “I’m passionate about helping as many people as I can,” she said. “I want to help the community become healthier through nutrition and physical activity.”
District 10, headquartered in Uvalde
Julieta Leija, Better Living for Texans serving Zavala, Dimmit and Uvalde counties. Leija, of Eagle Pass, earned her bachelor’s in agricultural services and development with a minor in Spanish at Tarleton State University. She has spent her time navigating her field by interning in the Wilbur Ellis Company in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. “I always knew that the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service existed when I was younger but never knew about the resources that were available to the community,” Leija said. “I would like to make a difference and let the community know what is available to them and what we are here for.”
District 11, headquartered in Corpus Christi
Kimberly Davis, family and community health, Goliad, Bee and Refugio counties. Davis, of Kingsville, earned her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She spent her career in education and taught in Yorktown, Calallen and Victoria school districts, with the last 20 years teaching with Goliad Independent School District teaching first grade, language arts and serving as the gifted and talented coordinator. Davis said she is passionate about educating youth and is looking forward to working with the youth of Goliad, Bee and Refugio counties in her new role where she will implement Healthy South Texas programs. “I hope to have a positive impact on the youth of the counties I serve,” she said. “I look forward to helping them take their next step toward a healthier lifestyle.”
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Author: Kay Ledbetter