Laura began her career as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in 1999 and has worked to make the world a friendlier place ever since. During her AmeriCorps years, she learned the basics of grant writing, project management, and volunteer recruitment, skills that she has sharpened in the years since.
Much of Laura’s career has been spent working for Extension in all programs in various states helping farmers increase the productivity of their farms and improve their living standards. She spent four years working to educate immigrants and refugees about healthy food choices and finances through SNAP programs. She has been a 4-H Educator with a program serving more than 2000 urban youth and managing the more than 500 volunteers who mentored them. As a Community and Economic Development Educator, Laura’s projects included teaching seminars on grant writing, working with communities to determine the impacts of oil and gas drilling on their economics and schools, and with prisons to implement entrepreneur education so that prisoners would be able to create their own opportunities upon release. Most recently, Laura was a Regional Director for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Western Region where she managed the teams supporting finance, HR, and IT for nine counties as well as a residential 4-H Summer Camp and her own staff of 21 direct reports.
For eight years, Laura served our country as an Ombudsman for the US Navy Reserve, supporting the Great Lakes chain of command beginning in 2003. During this time, she oversaw the mobilization of more than 500 sailors to Iraq and lent a listening ear to their dependents, a service that led directly to her research interests.
Laura holds a BA in Women’s Studies with an honors thesis on domestic violence in military families and a MS in Sociology with a focus on Community Development.