Cavalier County Extension’s Macine Lukach has been awarded the AGSCO Excellence in Extension. The award, sponsored by AGSCO based in Grand Forks, is an annual award given to members of Extension who have 11 or more years of service and that have significant accomplishments and excellence in educational programs.
By Melissa Anderson
“Due to her extensive knowledge of youth development, parent education, and educational design, and her strength in building community and state partnerships, Macine is very deserving of the AGSCO Excellence in Extension Award. NDSU Extension is fortunate to have her as one of our Extension team members. North Dakota 4-H youth development truly appreciates Macine’s contributions and leadership to so many facets of our Extension programs,” Rachelle Vettern, NDSU Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development, Leadership & Volunteer Development Specialist, stated in her nomination letter.
Lukach was nominated by Vettern and Kim Ruliffson, NDSU Extension East District Director. She discovered she had been nominated for the award about the middle of October. Lukach had already planned a mini-family vacation and was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
“Kim, my district director, texted me following the award presentation to let me know I won. So I learned shortly after arriving at our vacation designation on December 6,” Lukach said.
“When I received the text, I was ‘Wow I won!’ I couldn’t believe it. It took a while to accept that I had really won. It is truly an honor to be nominated for this award and then to win is even more astonishing and very humbling.”
Lukach has worked in Cavalier County for NDSU Extension for over 26 years, starting on 4-H Achievement Day, in July of 1992. Her responsibilities have changed over the years but what has remained constant is her dedication to working with and improving the lives of the youth and families of Cavalier County. Since the fall of 2010, along with her extension agent role, Lukach has been working with 4-H Youth Development and Family and Community Wellness (Family and Consumer Sciences) and is also the parent educator/coordinator for the Parent and Family Resource Center – Region 3. This position services six counties.
“I love my work with the NDSU Extension as I get to work with so many different people in all walks of life, all ages and different subject matter. When I think about when I first started to what I have gotten to do over the years, all the variety makes my position so interesting and rewarding,” Lukach shared.
Working with the 4-H youth is very rewarding, for Lukach, as she is able to watch the members grow and gain confidence in addition to other life skills. She looks forward to going into the elementary classrooms with the On the Move to Better Health programs which include On the Move, On the Move to Stronger Bodies and On the Move Jr.
“It was great to partner with Amy Kram, LAHS FACS teacher, this past spring to do an On the Move Cooking School,” Lukach said.
Lukach explained that the programs vary depending on the needs of the Cavalier County residents. Other favorites include Passing on Family Memories, Real Colors, Fish Philosophy and Character Counts. Lukach also works with area child care providers, giving them necessary training as they care for the future.
“Providing training for child care providers has always been a need, and I feel like I have a good relationship with them,” Lukach stated.
Lukach has also created programs with the help of area youth. She is the lead person for the Building Tomorrow’s Leaders program developed in partnership with ND Department of Public Instruction. This began with the program Dawson Schefter and Lukach put together a few years ago, Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.
“It was combined with two other programs and is now being offered in high schools across the state,” Lukach shared.
Lukach’s nomination support came from just about every facet of the area she works in including from fellow Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla who shared, “She [Lukach] is absolutely dedicated and is always willing to go beyond her schedule to address the needs of the community. She is well respected in our community as well as children for her great teaching skills. I have nothing but admiration for Macine and take her as a role model in my job.”
Deb Lee, the Family and Community Wellness agent in Ransom County, agreed stating, “Macine gives everything she does at least 150%. She always goes above and beyond to make sure that her work is applicable, research-based, usable and well done. Even when a project is done, she continues to re-evaluate and makes necessary improvements to make it even better.”
Lukach would like to say thank you to Kim and Rachelle for nominating her. She would also like to thank Kim, her district director, for gathering the many letters and paragraphs of support from county commissioners, co-workers, fellow extension agents, 4-H leader, partners and legislators. And a special thank you to those who wrote letters/paragraphs of support. Your positive feedback and comments were very humbling.
Lukach has two very special quotes that give her inspiration and purpose in her position as a Cavalier County Extension agent. She shared the quotes that have helped her make an impact in the lives of many over the years.
“I believe ‘Today I will make a difference’ is a quote on a sign I received as a gift from my administrative assistant, Jane. In my role, I take this quote to heart and hope I am making a difference in the lives of Cavalier County residents as I enjoy helping others. ‘Extending knowledge. Changing lives.’ is the NDSU Extension motto and a motto I believe in and work by.”