Sarah Burkett of Pulaski, Va., received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for her contributions in the areas of leadership, outstanding programs, and personal and professional growth. The award was presented in September at the 2009 Annual Session held in Birmingham, Ala.

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest award presented by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Burkett has worked as a senior Extension agent for family and consumer sciences (FCS) in Pulaski County since 1991. She provides leadership in determining, implementing, and evaluating educational programs designed to solve citizens’ economic and social problems. Local input is used throughout the program process in order to achieve better results.

Burkett offers a multitude of programs on nutrition, exercise, parenting, and financial management to a wide range of audiences and secures external funds to support her programs. Her proximity to both Radford University and Virginia Tech provides Burkett the opportunity to network with FCS faculty and students through involvement in community education projects. She is able to utilize student volunteers and works cooperatively to develop educational materials on nutrition. At Virginia Tech, she recruited and trained 18 students to teach nutrition education to elementary school children.

Burkett currently serves on nine committees – ranging from local working groups on healthcare access, preschool for limited-resource audiences, and school wellness – to university and cooperative Extension committees that include the Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids evaluation team and the commission on outreach and international affairs.

“Having worked with Sarah on several committees, she doesn’t just attend, she takes her involvement seriously,” said Elena Serrano, associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise.

Burkett received her bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and her master’s degree from Indiana University.

The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences educates and recognizes Extension professionals who improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. Members provide education in food preparation, food safety and nutrition, financial management, healthy lifestyles, home and work environment and safety, and relationship and parenting skills.

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Written by Ashley Estes of Chesterfield, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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