Kasey Purcell is an intern in the OSU Extension office in Tillamook County.

I began my internship at the end of May and I’ve really enjoyed both working with the health professionals in my county and experiencing what it is like to build community outreach programs.

I’ve been able to work with the Tillamook County Wellness Coalition on a few projects, one of which was to create content to go along with an initiative to encourage the people in our community to go outside and explore our local parks and trails. I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside my supervisor, Dusti Linnell, on an opioid prevention team as well as a COVID outreach team. Through these teams I’ve been working to find resources already available in our county to help those in need.

At the start of my internship we were all pretty sad that I would be working from home for the next 10 weeks. I was excited and looking forward to the face-to-face interactions and experience what it is like working in an office.

While I’ve been unable to experience that, I had an opportunity in late May to go to the Tillamook Extension office and meet everyone when the office was a distribution point for free personal protective equipment for the farmers and fishermen in our community. I was only there for a few hours, but during that time I was able to meet all of the people I had been Zooming with for the past few weeks. It was nice to have those interactions, even if we were wearing face masks.

In late May, the OSu Extension office in Tillamook was a distribution point for personal protective equipment for the agricultural and fishing industries.
In late May, the OSu Extension office in Tillamook was a distribution point for personal protective equipment for the agricultural and fishing industries. Photo by Kasey Purcell.

Through my work so far, my eyes have been opened to the mission of the Extension Service. Growing up, I didn’t participate much in Extension programs. I did a few art and photography classes through 4-H, but that is all. So, I didn’t really know the mission of OSU’s Extension Service. During the first few weeks I learned that the goal of Extension is to provide education to everyone, with the intention of opening the minds of rural areas in Oregon to the growth that is happening in their agricultural fields.

At the beginning of my internship my supervisor asked me to write a short paper about what the history of Extension and I was amazed. Not only did it bring innovation to rural communities ages ago, but it continues to hold true to its mission today. Through all of the work I have done alongside Dusti, I constantly see how those working in Extension strive to bring new knowledge through education. For example, through my work creating a resource guide for the opioid prevention team Dusti and I talked about how this guide is a resource for everyone, so any business is welcome to it and they have the ability to make it their own.

I have really come to appreciate what Extension Service is and I feel so lucky to be able to work with such awesome people who are constantly striving to bring new and helpful knowledge to our communities.

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