Michele Walfred, communications specialist at the Elbert N. and Ann V. Carvel Research and Education Center in Georgetown, was honored with the 2017 Excellence in Service Award. The award was presented to her at the convocation ceremony held in Newark on May 26 by the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).
The award, which is presented by the college every other year, recognizes professional excellence and superior dedication. In addition, the recipient receives a $2,000 monetary award with the honor.
“Michele has significantly reached across her unit to provide outstanding service to our college. Her efforts and commitment to promoting our college is exemplary” said Mark Isaacs, director of the Carvel Center.
Walfred has 16 years of service to UD. Isaacs shared in his nomination letter that Walfred began her UD career as a receptionist and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree while, “providing amazing service to our facility as well as our college.”
“In her role as communications specialist, Walfred leads the communication efforts for our Carvel Research and Education Center’s research and extension programs, including Lasher Lab. She does this through numerous venues with a focus on website content, social media, press releases, videography and print media and outreach education in the forms of seminars, workshops and trainings,” Isaacs wrote.
In addition to Walfred’s service across college programs and departments, her involvement with partnerships and outreach across state lines was noted. These included trainings and presentations with the University of Maryland Extension on Annie’s Project, Mid-Atlantic Women in Agriculture, Mid-Atlantic Crop School, regional FFA, and nationally with 4-H and eXtension.org, the latter serving as an Extension Fellow, and Innovation Creative Coach to Extension professionals in Ohio and Oregon.
In 2015, Walfred led a social media campaign on behalf of Delaware 4-H, that resulted in a national First Place award of $10,000, which was used for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for Delaware youth.
“Michele has an exceptional work ethic, working outside the normal work hours including many nights and weekends promoting and marketing our college and UD,” Isaacs said.
In supporting documentation, colleagues praised Walfred as an innovator. “She truly understands that in order to reach the people we serve, we sometimes have to think differently and creatively than we have in the past,” wrote one co-worker.
“Delaware Cooperative Extension outreach has been able to shine through her efforts. Locally she has done YouTube videos, Facebook Live, Flickr, Twitter, advertising with Facebook boosts, Instagram, press releases and UDaily articles to promote our gardening, beginning farmer, ornamental horticulture, production agriculture, and volunteer programs,” wrote another co-worker.
For several years Walfred served as communications chair for the Kent-Sussex Alumni Club, and is a contributing member of the UD’s Delaware Diamonds Society. She has served as chair of Extension’s Delaware State Fair committee and currently chairs the UD Extension Innovation team. She is a current Fellow in Class IV of LEADelaware, an agriculture leadership program. In addition to her degrees, Walfred earned the UD Social Media Strategic Marketing Certificate in 2014. Walfred also serves on the board of the Delaware Press Association.
“Michele exemplifies the type of individual that the college would like to recognize for this award. I can’t think of a more deserving individual,” said Isaacs.