KAFCS turns the spotlight on individuals, their experiences, and how they have benefited from KAFCS membership and/or family and consumer science programs. It offers an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues and the greater FCS community, inspire future FCS professionals, and strengthen awareness of the profession and association.
Isn’t it your turn to grab the spotlight? Download a submission form here!
My professional career has always revolved around being a teacher educator. I taught in lab schools training early childhood teachers at five universities for a total of 14 years working with college students, infants, toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary ages. To me the best job was always to have one foot in the programs serving children and families and one foot in the training of teachers. Over the past 16 years I have traded the time with children for the administrative roles of first director of the PSU Early Childhood Preschool and then for the past 13 years as the department chairperson for Family & Consumer Sciences.
A typical day now involves meetings, teaching, appointments with students, working on projects such as recruitment for the department and working with faculty.
I joined KAFCS shortly after arriving on campus based on the encouragement of our then chair Dr. Lynette Olson. I have been a member since 1999. Prior to that I was very involved with NAEYC and KAEYC. Over the past 14 years I have served on a variety of committees at the national level and chaired the Family Relations and Human Development Community for three years. I have served as the 1st Vice Chair of the Assembly of Higher Education, the treasurer and board member of the Council of Administrators of Family & Consumer Sciences, the treasurer of KAFCS and the KAFCS foundation. I was recently elected and installed on the national board of directors this June in St. Louis.
The best thing about professional organizations is the people that you associate with and the ability to make a difference. It takes some of your time but we need people being wiling to serve at all levels or else they forfeit their right to complain. You truly do not understand an organization by only being a member. You need to get involved at any level that you can. Every one of us makes a difference every day by both what we do as well as by what we don't do.
What I like the most is working with people who see the vision and know they are making a difference. My greatest thrill comes in seeing others succeed. That means more to me than any personal accomplishments or recognition, knowing that I helped them to be successful.
My biggest challenge is overcoming my natural tendency to want to stay in the background. Everyone influences countless others who take their lead by watching us. If we want people with a family & consumer sciences background to be in positions of decision making then guess what, we might need to be that person and not expect someone else to do it. I have a good friend that has been a mentor throughout my professional career and I often find myself when faced with a difficult decision thinking, What would Marjorie do?, then I do it. It has never let me down. Take the lead from others and do something.
My first love has always been Extension, but my career to this point had always been Education. That's hard for some to believe because, those who know me well, they know I love teaching Family and Consumer Sciences. However, my journey began as a child watching and learning from the work and career of my idol and mentor, my dad. As the Marshall County Agriculture Extension agent’s daughter, I tagged along to a wide variety of meetings, lessons, and farm visits. I planned to graduate with a degree in Extension, but my dad strongly encouraged me to pursue a degree in Home Economics Education because it would afford me more options when I graduated. Fathers know best and the Extension hiring freeze of the late 1980’s helped to set my career path in a different direction towards classroom instruction. I began after college with a short stint (~1 ½ years) at Frito Lay, Inc. as a packaging manager in charge of 40 employees and over $100,000 in product every day. This experience served me well as I later began a teaching position where the CTE department worked together to develop and implement a state and nationally-recognized school based business, The Brave’s Spice Rack. After 22+ great years in the classroom with 14 years at Council Grove High School and 8 rewarding years at Kansas State University in the College of Education, I finally headed back to my original destination - Extension. I have been on board at K-State Research and Extension in Geary County as the FCS Extension agent since July 1, 2013. Just as many of you, I begin my day with e-mails and correspondence, but that’s where "routine" stops and my knowledge, skills, and experience really get to work in my community and county. My role is to provide Family and Consumer Sciences programming to the adults and their children in Geary County. I work with a wide variety of ages and family structures that is very ethnically diverse. I have been working with older adults in the community through the SHICK program to help them make retirement decisions about their health care coverage. I have trained Head Start staff on safe food handling and preparation techniques in the classroom. I write a weekly newspaper article on the subject of my choosing and typically use "hot topics" from the media or conversation with friends for my inspiration. Just recently, I met with one of the JCHS FCS teachers to talk about how we can co-program to work alongside each other in the FCS field.
My two degrees both come from K-State with an undergraduate in Vocational Home Economics (1988) and a Master's in Family Studies and Human Services (1996) and am very proud to be a product of the College of Human Ecology.
I have been a member since I was a freshman in college. Dr. Virginia Moxley and Dr. Jan Wissman made it clear to all the undergraduates that AHEA/SHEA membership was an expectation and part of assuming a professional career. They promised that it would be a decision we wouldn't regret and I can attest that they were right! The knowledge and support I have gleaned from this organization and its members is another story in and of itself.
I have been a student association secretary for the state (back when we had a functioning SHEA chapter at most of the 4-year colleges in the state.) I have held every state executive board officer position except treasurer (don't get any ideas!) and I have served on the AAFCS Leadership Academy planning team for the last 4 years. Additionally, I have presented at 4 national meetings and was recognized in the late 90's as being an AAFCS Top Ten Teacher of the Year. It may seem like a lot but I take occasional "extended vacations" from each of the professional organizations I belong to. I still belong, but I take myself off the radar to regroup, revitalize, and re-vision. I think that is an important lesson taught to me by one of my AAFCS mentors, Joyce Miles.
Collegial support, friendships, and opportunities to grow in both your professional and personal life. That's the beauty of FCS – it's a holistic approach to the people we serve and the people in the profession.
Helping people is the best part about being in FCS and it is also the greatest source of job satisfaction for me. The impact we can have in Extension is direct in nature. We help people where they're at in meeting both their immediate and long term needs. Sure, we also deal with the everyday practical needs and interests, but even those "small things" enrich the lives of the people we work with and for.
Regrouping after my daughter, Jessica's, death has been my greatest challenge. Trying to teach parenting after you've lost your child is a tough thing to do. I didn't handle it alone, though. I had an amazing support group in by high school with an amazing principal, Bob Kiblinger, who walked alongside me, especially in that first year after her death. Additionally, I had phenomenal support from my FCS colleagues and my students in the classroom. Again, we take care of people and my co-members of KAFCS took care of me when I needed the most help. They were amazing and remain dedicated professionals and close friends. And, although this has been my greatest challenge, I now use it as a source of strength to help me through any other challenges I have faced.
My husband, Duane, and I reside on his family's homestead where we raise our three – 6th generation children (Mark, age 10, Joey, age 8, and Zach, age 7.) We have a small cow-calf operation, a couple dozen laying hens, and 4-H goats. I like to read, cook, garden (but never have time for it), and sing or listen to music (usually both at the same time.) As a family, we like to camp, swim, travel and participate in activities centered around our churches. A "bucket list" desire I have is to write historical fiction books and a book about my journey of losing a child and yet gaining so many blessings.
Deb Evans is the middle school FCS Teacher at Fredonia Middle School in Fredonia, Kansas. She began her teaching career in 1980 and is currently in her 33rd year at Fredonia. Mrs. Evans teaches 6th grade FCS, 7th grade Life Skills, 7th/8th FCS and Life Skills 2 in addition to being a very involved FCCLA adviser of the Fredonia Middle chapter. One of her most recent accomplishments is having 13 students competing in 7 STAR Events this year at SLC in April. Deb stays active in guiding her FCS students and FCCLA members in multiple community service projects and attending state and national conferences.
I have been as a ACTE/KCTE member since 1980 but when the 1986 AAFCS Conference was in Kansas City, I wanted to attend. I attended the meeting and I have been a member ever since. I think it is very important for FCS professionals to get involved in their professional organizations. It gives you an opportunity to stay up on current trends in our profession and also I enjoy the networking that occurs with other FCS professionals. I have been involved at the district level as the District J Treasurer. I was the KAFCS Teacher of the Year in 1993-94. I have also been a workshop presenter at the UAC meetings throughout the years.
I enjoy the networking with other professionals, going to conferences and getting new ideas to use in the classroom.
We help students become prepared for skills they will use everyday. I enjoy our curriculum and feel it is relevant to the students today and also in their future. FCCLA is a great opportunity for students to develop the skills they will need when they begin their careers. It also gives them needed skills to be on their own or when they have a family. I am most proud of watching my students grow into leaders in our community.
I have been very lucky to be in a school district that supports the FCS curriculum and our FCCLA chapters at the middle school and high school. I would say one challenge is at times having low numbers in my classes. I am always willing to have more students and never complain even if they are maybe a little too large for a nutrition lab. We just make it work and am thankful for the students that are interested in the FCS curriculum.
I am very proud of my family. My husband, of almost 35 years has always been supportive and has come to learn that the extra hours I spend away from home are helping young people to grow and become productive members of society. He knows that I enjoy what I do. I am also proud of my children and their families. They were both involved in FCCLA and qualified for nationals in FCCLA STAR Events. I am also proud of all of the students that have been successful in STAR Events. I have had students qualify for national STAR Events all but one year since 1982 to the present.
Learn more about Megan