Written by Kevin Leahy for The Daily Astorian, published on November 16, 2016.

[Editor’s note: The outreach and engagement work of OSU Extension Service takes many forms. In this case it’s taking part in a Clatsop County tour showcasing stream restoration and forest best practices for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour. This article appeared in The Daily Astorian and features the efforts of Valerie Grant, a new OSU Extension forestry and natural resources faculty.]

Valerie Grant, new Oregon State University Extension forestry and natural resources faculty shares her story as a fourth generation person connected to forestry work.
Valerie Grant, new Oregon State University Extension forestry and natural resources faculty shares her story as a fourth generation person connected to forestry work. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian.

More than 100 attendees braved the elements for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour this year, including state Rep. Deborah Boone.

The day started out bright and early with an introduction by committee Chairman Kevin Leahy at the Barbey Maritime Center, reinforcing that this sector continues to be 30 percent of our Clatsop County economy, and is 12 percent of our county employment. Leahy also noted that $23,500,000 was distributed from Oregon Department of Forestry to Clatsop County in 2016 from timber harvests that support schools, law enforcement, Clatsop Community College, roads, and more.

Forestry tour participants look through a fish habitat and stream enhancement project.
Forestry tour participants look through a fish habitat and stream enhancement project. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian

From there the group was transported by bus to the Walooski Fish Stream Enhancement Collaborative Project, where Tom Clark from Lewis & Clark Timber/Greenwood Resources, Brook Stanley from the North Coast Watershed Association, Troy Laws from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Jeff Van Osdol from Big River Construction shared the public/private partnership success that included a fish habitat and stream enhancement project, and invited all the attendees to walk down the stairs and across the wood bridge specifically built for the Leaders Tour for an “up close and personal” walk through the culvert where salmon are swimming through for the first time.

Next, the two full school buses headed to the Clatsop Ridge Logging Operation & Reforestation to hear about the “active harvest operation” project from speakers Mark Gustafson, owner of Gustafson Logging, and Sam Sadler of Lewis & Clark Timber and Greenwood Resources.

A box lunch was paid for by the employer members of the Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee and was provided to all attendees. Presentations were given at the Netul Landing, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Interim park Superintendent Marcus Koenen and rogram specialist Carla Cole presented project updates on the park properties on both sides of the Columbia River.

Forestry committee member Valerie Grant, Oregon State University Extension’s new forester, shared her background and priorities within the three-county area that she covers [emphasis added].

State Rep. Deborah Boone, center, and others view a demonstration of logging techniques and best practices.
State Rep. Deborah Boone, center, and others view a demonstration of logging techniques and best practices. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian

Participants were asked to share reflections on this tour and past ones. It was mentioned that the forestry tour was under way Sept. 11, 2001, and the lifelong memory of where you were when 9/11 happened will always be with them.

And Sara Meyer, a longtime tour participant and member of the local American Association of University Women chapter choked up when she said it was so exciting to see so many women in this traditionally male-dominated field.

Column author Kevin Leahy is the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources.

By Mark Floyd, News and Research Communications, Oregon State University

Editor’s Note: A lot of fascinating work is being done by Extension faculty. This is one story that might surprise you. Be sure to watch the mesmerizing video! Leigh Torres, Oregon SeaGrant Extension, specializes in the spatial and behavioral ecology of marine megafauna including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks. The following was distributed to news media on October 4, 2016.

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Leigh Torres, Oregon SeaGrant Extension, whale watching. Photo courtesy of OSU.

A lot of people think what Leigh Torres has done this summer and fall would qualify her for a spot on one of those “World’s Worst Jobs” lists.

After all, the Oregon State University marine ecologist follows gray whales from a small inflatable boat in the rugged Pacific Ocean and waits for them to, well, poop. Then she and her colleagues have about 20-30 seconds to swoop in behind the animal with a fine mesh net and scoop up some of the prized material before it drifts to the ocean floor.

Mind you, gray whales can reach a length of more than 40 feet and weigh more than 30 tons, making the retrieval of their daily constitutional somewhat daunting. Yet Torres, a principal investigator in the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, insists that it really isn’t that bad.

“We’re just looking for a few grams of material and to be honest, it doesn’t even smell that bad,” she said. “Now, collecting a DNA sample from a whale’s blow-hole – that’s a bad job. Their breath is horrendous.”

Being a marine pooper-scooper isn’t some strange fetish for the Oregon State research team. They are conducting a pilot project to determine how gray whales respond to ocean noise – both natural and human – and whether these noises cause physiological stress in the animals. Technology is changing the way the researchers are approaching their study.

“New advances in biotechnology allow us to use the fecal samples to look at a range of things that provide clues to the overall health and stress of the whales,” Torres said. “We can look at their hormone levels and genetically identify individual whales, their sex and whether they are pregnant. And we can analyze their prey and document what they’ve been eating.

whale-fluke
Whale fluke. Photo courtesy of OSU.

“Previously, we would have to do a biopsy to learn some of these things and though they can be done safely, you typically don’t repeat the procedure often because it’s invasive,” she added. “Here, we can follow individual whales over a four-month feeding season and pick up multiple samples that can tell us changes in their health.”

The study is a pilot project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acoustics Program to determine the impacts of noise on whale behavior and health. Torres, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, focuses on gray whales because they are plentiful and close to shore.

“Many marine mammals are guided by acoustics and use sound to locate food, to navigate, to communicate with one another and to find a mate,” said Torres, a faculty member in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and an ecologist with the Oregon Sea Grant program.

Ten years ago, such a study would not have been possible, Torres acknowledged. In addition to new advances in genetic and hormone analyses, the OSU team uses a drone to fly high above the whales. It not only detects when they defecate, it is giving them unprecedented views of whale behavior.

“We are seeing things through the drone cameras that we have never seen before,” Torres said. “Because of the overhead views, we now know that whales are much more agile in their feeding. We call them ‘bendy’ whales because they make such quick, sharp turns when feeding. These movements just can’t be seen from the deck of a ship.”

The use of small, underwater Go-Pro cameras allows them to observe what the whales are feeding upon below. The researchers can identify zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish in the water column near feeding whales, and estimate abundance – helping them understand what attracts the whales to certain habitats.

Joe Haxel and Sharon Nieukirk are acoustic scientists at the Hatfield center who are assisting with the project. They deploy drifting hydrophones near the whales to record natural and human sounds, help operate the overhead drone camera that monitors the whales’ behavior, and also get in on the fecal analysis.

“Gray whales are exposed to a broad range of small- and medium-sized boat traffic that includes sport fishing and commercial fleets,” Haxel said. “Since they are very much a coastal species, their exposure to anthropogenic noise is pretty high. That said, the nearshore environment is already very noisy with natural sounds including wind and breaking surf, so we’re trying to suss out some of the space and time patterns in noise levels in the range of habitats where the whales are found.”

It will take years for the researchers to learn how ocean noise affects whale behavior and health, but as ocean noises continue increasing – through ship traffic, wave energy projects, sonar use, seismic surveys and storms – the knowledge they gain may be applicable to many whale species, Torres said.

And the key to this baseline study takes a skilled, professional pooper-scooper.

“When a whale defecates, it generates this reddish cloud and the person observing the whale usually screams “POOP!” and we spring into action,” Torres said. “It’s a moment of excitement, action – and also sheer joy. I know that sounds a little weird, but we have less than 30 seconds to get in there and scoop up some of that poop that may provide us with a biological gold mine of information that will help protect whales into the future.

“That’s not such a bad job after all, is it?”

For a video of the research, click here

Written by Ricardo Perez, PROMISE Intern

 

Ricardo Perez
Ricardo Perez, OSU Open Campus 2016 PROMISE intern

I am Ricardo Perez and I am the 2016 PROMISE intern for Outreach and Engagement, Open Campus. I am entering my junior year here at Oregon State University studying Business Management with an option in International Business. After hearing about the large professional development growth the previous PROMISE interns had, I decided to apply to the program in hopes of obtaining the same skills.

Having the opportunity to be mentored by Jeff Sherman, the program leader for Open Campus, has been far from boring. Jeff gave me the tools necessary to evolve into a more competent individual in the business world. Through my experience, Jeff instructed me on programming logistics, how to use project management software, how to communicate with community partners and he gave me the freedom to create new projects.

I would also like to mention Hollie Conger. Hollie is in charge of marketing and communications for Open Campus. Hollie greatly influenced my experience and positively impacted my marketing skills. Through our work, Hollie showed me how to manage social media accounts, edit video, maintain the website and use Adobe Illustrator.

My experience as an intern would not have been the same if it were not for these individuals. Being able to intern for people who create an engaging and energizing environment made my time as an intern the best it could be. The support they gave me and the skills I acquired have truly impacted my professional development.

Ricardo Perez PROMISE workshop
Ricardo Perez with OSU Open Campus mentors Jeff Sherman and Hollie Conger

My main project was to organize the 2016 Roads Scholar Engagement Tour. The main goal for The Roads Scholar Tour is to invite newer faculty and employees who are new to engagement, to gain a sense for community engagement and to form relationships with colleagues who do similar work. This year’s tour is located in Central Oregon, with stops in Warm Springs, Redmond, and Bend. Having the opportunity to construct The Roads Scholar Tour and collaborate with so many members has enhanced my communication skills and prepared me for a career in business.

Along with planning The Roads Scholar Engagement Tour, I was involved in small projects for the Juntos program. Through this experience, I had the opportunity to work with Ana Gomez, the main coordinator for Juntos. Working with Ana made this experience so fun and exciting! Seeing someone who is so passionate in helping others really sparked my fascination with the program. Through my experience, I learned how Juntos works to empower families around education, is constructed to prevent youth from dropping out of high school and encourages families to work together to gain access to college. My main project for Juntos was planning the 2017 Family Day, an event where families have an opportunity to visit the OSU campus and learn more about the different resources available.

It is hard to believe that my journey as an intern is more than half way complete. My experience here at Outreach and Engagement, Open Campus has been one I will never forget. The amount of professional, as well as personal growth I developed is something I never thought would happen in a short 10 weeks.

I am honored to interact with people who truly enjoy positively impacting the Oregon community. I would like to give thanks to my mentors who have shown me the immense impact Outreach and Engagement has, as well as preparing me for the professional world. Jeff, Hollie, Ana, and Pam, thank you for all your hard work and for providing me the best experience possible at Outreach and Engagement.

Written by Emalee Rabinovitch, PROMISE Intern
OSU-ALUMNI-CLATSOP-COUNTY-FAIR-2016-11
PROMISE intern Emalee Rabinovitch (left) at the 2016 Clatsop County Fair with Benny the Beaver and a friend.

How do you touch the lives of the people that you meet?

This is a question I find myself asking pretty frequently. My whole life I have known that I wanted to enter a career field where I could continually touch the lives of those around me. So when I found an internship that did just that, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me.

My name is Emalee Rabinovitch and I am about to graduate from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Health and Education. One of my final tasks here at OSU was to find an internship that aligned with the same values and outcomes as my degree. After doing a bit of searching, I came across the PROMISE Program.

The PROMISE Program is a 10-week internship experience that provides opportunities in state and local government agencies, as well as university programs for Oregon State University undergraduate students. These internships are intended to provide students a pathway to a professional career with an emphasis on helping underrepresented students.

After acceptance into the program, PROMISE coordinators set up a number of interviews for students to find an internship site that best understands their career aspirations and needs. On April 26, 2016, I received an email from one of the coordinators saying I received a joint offer from the Division of University Outreach and Engagement and OSU Extension Service Coast Region.

Before I knew it I was set up and ready to go in Ballard Extension Hall on campus.

My first week consisted of getting to know the new faces around me while diving head-first into what Extension was all about. My main project is to create a one-page, double-sided marketing tool template to inform readers about how Extension is influencing the lives of community members in Oregon’s counties.

The goal is to create a customizable marketing tool for each county and region to inform more people about the resources provided through their local Extension offices. Starting with Clatsop County, I visited the office in Astoria and met their very welcoming staff members saw the work they were doing. By visiting the county, I was able to see the impact these programs have on the members of the community and the positive changes being made.

20160628_PromiseCandids_HO-5970 - Copy
Emalee Rabinovitch (right), PROMISE intern, and Ann Marie Murphy (left), mentor, get to know one another during a PROMISE workshop.

The best way I can describe this overall journey is that it is an internship within an internship. I not only was provided with one learning experience through sessions with my PROMISE team, but I also was provided with an experience here at University Outreach and Engagement that allows me to grow as a professional and individual, as well as creating lasting workplace relationships.

This program is unique because it allowed me to gain not one, but several excellent mentors who helped me reach my goals and provided me with excellent resources for my future. One of the mentors I found myself looking to was Ann Murphy, communication and marketing manager for University Outreach and Engagement. I met Ann for the first time during my interview for the position back in April and could tell immediately she had a great sense of creativity and dedication.

Eric Dunker, Regional Administrator for the Coast Region, has been an outstanding mentor in this process as well. I admire Eric’s passion to get out there and be hands-on in order to give the communities what they need. I saw this in both Eric and Ann while getting to know them professionally and personally in these past 10 weeks. Both are extremely driven individuals who want to make a difference and educate people about what Extension Service has to offer. I feel very fortunate to have met these two and to have had the chance to be mentored by them. They taught me much more than they signed up for and provided me with excellent resources as I graduate and enter the “real world.”

After learning so much about the Division, it brought me back to asking: “How do you touch the lives of the people that you meet?” University Outreach and Engagement and Extension Service do this every day.

I never knew 10 weeks could go by so fast, but in my time being here I was able to see incredible staff members make positive changes in the communities and people they cared for. The programs offered are directly touching the lives of neighbors, friends, local business owners and many more, as well as letting local stakeholders be involved in the decision making process.

Each faculty member touches the lives of those they interact with and had a significant influence in making my time here great.  As I go on in my future endeavors, I hope to educate more people about Extension resources and how they can benefit everyone involved.

I may be just an intern, but after this experience I feel like I have the necessary tools in my toolbox to go out into society and touch the lives of those around me because of what I have learned from my time here at University Outreach and Engagement.

To learn more about the PROMISE program, click this link.

 

Reprint of Corvallis Gazette-Times article by James Day, June 22, 2016
Lindsey Shirley_Corvallis Gazette-Times_Anibal Ortiz
Photo of Lindsey Shirley by Anibal Ortiz, Corvallis Gazette-Times

Editor’s Note: Lindsey Shirley, new University Outreach and Engagement associate provost and associate director of OSU Extension Service received some front page attention in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. The article provides some insights into Lindsey’s way of thinking so I thought the article is worth sharing in its entirety.

Lindsey Shirley has perhaps one of the most far-reaching positions at Oregon State University.

As associate provost and associate director of the OSU Extension Service, Shirley runs the day-to-day operations of the service and works with outposts in all 36 Oregon counties. She succeeds Deborah Maddy, who retired this year.

One of her first orders of business since assuming the position June 1 is to visit all 36 counties. She will start with visits to the Portland metro area, Eastern Oregon and Central Oregon. She doesn’t have a sense yet of how long it will take, and it sounds like one of those enterprises that could turn into a bit of an adventure.

“The extension service is the front door of the university,” Shirley said. “It’s really important for me to spread the word about the benefits of the extension service. We have diverse offerings and programs and ways to communicate that information.”

Shirley also notes that she has to have a dual focus: understanding the breadth of the service’s programs and accomplishing group goals.

“I need to be combining information gathering with task-oriented advocacy on things that can be implemented,” she said. “I don’t want to take my first 100 days just information gathering.”

When you think OSU Extension Service, 4-H and other agricultural programs wind up top of the mind, but Shirley emphasizes that the service is much more than that and tailors its programs to the needs of people in those 36 counties. Shirley also noted that 4-H has a presence in all Oregon counties.

She offered a handout that identified the activities the [Extension] service is involved in, including energy, poverty, economic development, urban issues and human health.

“What activities are appropriate? What gets you the outputs and outcomes you want?” she said. “It could be a change of behavior that could help fight obesity — for adults and children.

“We need to look at the people in each county. What are the needs for this region?”

That’s why the visits are so critical. Although Shirley knows that some spots on the Extension Service map are much more conveniently reached by air, “you could also see it as a road trip, a way to see all the dots and what’s between the dots.”

Shirley came to OSU from Utah State University, where she initiated a bachelor’s program in outdoor product design.

“There are more than 1,000 companies in Utah that are involved in outdoor products,” she said, “and no career path. We worked on everything from materials to manufacturing, snowboard gear and apparel.”

Shirley grew up in Iowa, with two of her degrees being awarded from Iowa State University in her hometown of Ames. The strong extension programs and agricultural resources in the state definitely influenced her “life path,” she said.

And the life path of her family as well. Her parents have moved from Iowa to Portland, and her brother also left Iowa and is now working for the University of Oregon. Shirley previously had only brief experience traveling through Oregon but she felt “Oregon was a great place to live and work and this position gets me connected with people in Oregon.

“We continue to be pioneers.”

Excerpts from the Spring/Summer 2016 Confluence, an Oregon Sea Grant publication –
drought map May 2015_National Drought Mitigation Center
May 2015 U.S. Drought Monitor Map, National Drought Mitigation Center

Editor’s note: Climate change is perhaps the toughest problem facing our world today. This week’s blog features excerpts from the most recent issue of Confluence, a publication produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG). OSG works on issues related to freshwater and marine waterways and climate change is dramatically impacting both.

Oregon Sea Grant has an interesting history and is an integral part of OSU’s community outreach and engagement model. Housed on the OSU campus, OSG is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funds research conducted at OSU and other universities. Climate change, tsunami preparedness, and wave energy are three areas of research priority.

According to the OSG website, “congress created the NOAA Sea Grant program in 1968 in an effort to bring the kind of national attention and resources to ocean and coastal issues that the USDA’s Extension Service had brought to rural agricultural communities since the early 20th century. In 1971, Oregon was designated one of the nation’s first four Sea Grant states, along with Washington, Texas and Rhode Island. Today Sea Grant programs are found in every coastal state; and Oregon’s is still widely considered one of the very top programs.

Drought map intensity key
Drought intensity

“With resident Extension faculty stationed up and down the coast, a core of marine educators and aquarists at the (now Hatfield) Marine Science Center, and capable scientists, communicators and administrators on the OSU campus, Sea Grant has become an important part of OSU’s research and public engagement portfolio.”

Drought map May 2016_National Drought Mitigation Center
May 2016 U.S. Drought Monitor Map, National Drought Mitigation Center

Four new videos produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) show how certain business practices, farming techniques, and riparian management strategies are better poised to tolerate droughts in Oregon. The videos, produced by OSG videographer Vanessa Ciccone in collaboration with John Stevenson, a climate specialist with OSG Extension at OSU, can be found on the OSG YouTube Channel along with other fascinating videos.

 

The short videos form a series called Documenting the Drought: Mitigating the Effects in Oregon. OSG created them in response to the state’s 2015 drought, said Stevenson. “We found that the people and places that did better during the drought were the ones where investment had been made in water conservation and restoration efforts over the past decade.”

 

The conditions that led up to the 2015 drought is described in one video. Another features Frank Burris, the county leader of the OSU Extension Service in Curry County and OSG’s watershed health specialist for the southern Oregon coast, describing riparian restoration projects along Pea and Gallagher Creeks. The projects were prompted by concern over the effects of rising stream temperatures and reduced stream flow on salmon, a mainstay of the region’s recreational fishing economy.

 

If you’ve skied in Ashland, one of the videos may be of particular interest to you. Mt. Ashland Ski Area adapted to sparse winter snowfall by relocating snow and was able to open for 38 days in 2014-15 versus none in the prior ski season. During the summer months, you’re likely to be able to enjoy ziplining, a bungee trampoline, disc golf and concerts, all of which will supplement declining ski-season income.

 

In another video, Bill Buhrig, a crops specialist with OSU Extension in Malheur County talks about planting faster maturing plants as a success strategy for farmers where a full season of water is no longer available. Strategies to conserve water through buried pipelines and gravity systems are described and extend the irrigation season by two to three weeks.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
Katie Linder
Dr. Katie Linder, Research Director, Ecampus

Every day I learn something new. Today I learned that Oregon State Ecampus launched a podcast on research literacy in higher education. The “Research in Action” podcast is hosted by Katie Linder, Ecampus research director.

 

(Ecampus is part of Extended Campus, which rolls up to Educational Outreach, and then to the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. The Division has a full and flourishing family tree!)

 

If asked, I would guess that the podcast focuses on research related to online learning. But no, its purpose is broader than that. “Research in Action” addresses topics and issues facing researchers across the nation with goals to increase research literacy and build community among researchers.

 

For those in the Division conducting research, there is much to learn and contribute. For those of us curious about the scientific process and research conducted at universities, accessible information is also available.

 

Podcasts are recorded and are available on the Ecampus Research Unit website and on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

 

“No researcher has all of the skills or expertise, and it’s incredibly valuable to have researchers come in with a diverse range of experiences and talk about these niche areas,” Linder said.

 

“Research in Action” has already published four episodes and has received more than 500 downloads. Over a dozen guests have been pre-recorded and more than 10 episodes are in production.

 

Upcoming “Research in Action” episodes include:

  • Jim Kroll, Office of the Inspector General, National Science Foundation, discussing research misconduct.
  • Nina Huntemann, researcher at edX, learning new research skills at mid-career.
  • Joshua Weller, psychology researcher from OSU, discussing psychometrics.

 

Source: April 28, 2016 press release written by Heather Turner

Dave Hansen photoDavid Hansen accepted the role of Interim Associate Provost of the Division and Associate Director of the OSU Extension Service effective January 1, 2016, on a 0.6 FTE basis. He will retain a 0.4 FTE role as Outreach and Engagement Lead for the Oregon Sea Grant Program.

“This is an opportunity for me to see the Division from a different perspective,” said Dave. “I am looking forward to viewing and interacting with the Division outside of a program perspective. I have worked with Extension’s Regional Administrators as a member of the Program Council, but look forward to expanding my geographic boundaries. The interim position also provides an opportunity for me to interact with more programs within the Division and Extension.”

Dave is veteran of Extension outreach and engagement work. He was an associate professor of soil and environmental quality and Extension Program Leader for the Agriculture and Natural Resources program at the University of Delaware before coming to OSU in 2010.

He is a member of Oregon Sea Grant’s leadership team and oversees a large and diverse outreach and public engagement team, including Sea Grant Extension faculty on the coast and on campus with expertise in a wide range of matters related to Oregon’s ocean and coastal resources, natural and human. In addition, he manages Sea Grant’s small team of professional science communicators who serve the program’s needs for print, web, video and other media to inform and educate the public.

Calvin & Hobbes quote

The faculty and staff of the Division of University Outreach and Engagement make the lives of others better every day of the year. It may be difficult in the moment to see your impact, but as we look back, “everything is different,” as the wise cartoon characters Calvin and Hobbes suggest.

Each of you is celebrated for the energy you give and the work you are doing as 2015 comes to a close and all the possibilities of 2016 open before us.

“Making a difference starts with one step, with one foot, then the next.” Hope Galaxie

Happy New Year!

Share greetings with your colleagues and community partners.

738764-1003-0031sName: Ana Lu Fonseca

Position:  4-H Youth Development Faculty

Hometown:  Uruapan, Michoacán, México

# of years at OSU:  It will be 4 in February 2015

Best part of your job: I love hanging working with vibrant, smart and awesome youth as well as colleagues that make me realize how wonderful knowledge discovery can be and how important is to stay open and enjoy what we do…

I really, really enjoy seeing a “discovery face” when working with youth in different settings.

Something someone might be surprised to know about you: I am a marathoner. I love running and will do The Boston Marathon on April 2015!!!

Favorite book/movie/album:  I love non-fiction books, some of my lately favorite authors are Dan Arely and Charles Duhigg. I also love the “Freakconomics” podcast and book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner


Ana Lu is a member of the first cohort of the division’s Leadership Development Program.