ABOVE: Patsy Watkins, UT Extension Williamson County, was honored by Epsilon Sigma Phi with the International Service Award for her work with the Tworore Inkoko Tsunguke project. Also pictured is Johnny Barnes, past president of the Tennessee Omega chapter of ESP. // UT INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURE



Patsy Watkins, a family and consumer sciences University of Tennessee Extension agent in Williamson County, has been awarded the Epsilon Sigma Phi International Service Award for her work in support of farmers in Rwanda.

She was one of six UT Institute of Agriculture faculty members recognized for their commitment and outreach work by Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a national organization that includes thousands of Extension professionals from land-grant universities across the country.

“We submitted entries in nine categories, and won six of those. That’s an impressive number,” said Shelly Barnes, awards and recognition chair for the chapter.

Watkins’ award is available to members of Epsilon Sigma Phi who have contributed significantly to the development or expansion of an Extension program in another country through in-state or overseas work.

Watkins is recognized for her work with the U.S. Agency for International Development Tworore Inkoko Tsunguke project involving UTIA faculty and staff and 750 Rwandan chicken farmers. Watkins is the first family and consumer sciences agent at UT to be involved in an international project. Bringing the expertise of a family and consumer science agent to this project has opened its applications to include nutrition education to the farmers and their families.

UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross credits dedicated people and partnerships for the success.

“UT Extension has more than a 100-year history of advancing Tennessee, thanks to exceptional county financial support, dedicated employees and volunteers, and a strong partnership with our 1890 institution – Tennessee State University,” he says. “Long-term successful state programs tend to result in professionals who are heavily engaged in associations like Epsilon Sigma Phi.”

The full list of UT Extension award winners is below:

Continued Excellence Award – Janie Burney, professor and nutrition specialist

Administrative Leadership Award – David Perrin, Eastern Region director

Visionary Leadership Award – John Toman, Extension evaluation and staff development specialist

International Service Award – Patsy Watkins, UT Extension Williamson County

Diversity Multicultural Team Award – Kane Reeves, UT-TSU Extension Madison County, and Sharon Tubbs, UT Extension Madison County

Distinguished Team Award – Allisen Penn, Central Region program leader, team leader



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