University of Maryland Extension

Cultural Competence in Outreach Education

The pre-conference session will engage participants in a discussion around serving diverse communities and how to create successful cultural competence educational programs for Extension and other community based audiences. The first part of the workshop will include a presentation on the principles of diversity and inclusive community based programming. The session will include a variety of interactive activities to showcase methods to understand self-identity related to diversity and to effectively discover community input, needs, assets, trends, and emerging issues relevant to these diverse communities. The second part of the workshop will highlight key components of a successful diversity and inclusion training program and provide a step-by-step process for implementing a tailored cultural competence educational program for a wide variety of audiences. Participants will leave the session with an enhanced knowledge of the methods, tools, and resources necessary to create diversity and inclusion programs for their unique communities.


  • Discover strategies for engaging diverse communities through outreach and community based programming with cultural competence and respect for various social identities.
  • Learn how to utilize available data and community based participatory research processes to determine potentially underserved audiences as well as to identify emerging issues relevant to these diverse communities.
  • Learn the components necessary to create an audience specific cultural competence training for employees, volunteers, partners, and community members

Presenter Bios:

Lisa Gonzalez

Lisa Gonzalez is a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent with the University of Maryland Extension (UME). Her research and programming focuses on providing nutrition education to underserved audiences. In addition to educational efforts, she currently serves on the UME committee that performs civil rights audits for county Extension offices and provides trainings across Maryland on the topic of diversity and cultural competence in Extension. She is currently developing an undergraduate course and textbook on Cultural Competence in Community and Extension Programming. She holds a graduate teaching certificate, a M.S. in Nutrition & Integrative Health, a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and a Minor in Intercultural Studies.

Nia Imani Fields

Dr. Nia Imani Fields, 4-H Specialist and Senior Agent, joined the University of Maryland Extension, in 2006. Ms. Fields has a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership, a M.S. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy with a focus in Community and Youth Development and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University. Throughout her educational and professional career, her focus has been to work towards the positive development of children, youth, families and communities. She has created and coordinated several youth and community programs and initiatives within New York, Delaware and Maryland while working with organizations including Civic Works/Americorps and the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. As a Maryland 4-H Specialist, Ms. Fields is primarily responsible for the design, implementation and evaluation of curricular systems and program development.

Jeff Howard

Dr. Jeff Howard is currently an Assistant Director with University of Maryland Extension and the State 4-H Program Leader where he oversees the 4-H youth development program including over 75,000 youth members annually. He has been with the land grant university system for 29 years, serving in Texas and now in Maryland. He began his career as a county Extension agent and served in three Texas counties over a 10 year period. He was promoted to a District based 4-H specialist where is served as administrative oversight for the 4-H program in 44 counties. Following a four year period as a district specialist he transferred to the state office where he served as a state youth development specialist for curriculum and research until his appointment to Associate Department Head where he served for three years. In 2009 he was offered the opportunity to move to Maryland and joined the administrative team where he has worked the past eight years. He has a bachelors of science in agriculture, a master's degree focused on child psychology and his doctorate focused on youth leadership. He has served as PI or Co-PI for in excess of 2.1 million dollars in grants over the course of his career and published numerous curriculum pieces and journal articles supporting the youth development field of study. In addition to his administrative role with University of Maryland Extension he is as a former Board of Trustee with National 4-H Council and on the Board of National 4-H Congress.

Amanda Wahle

Amanda Wahle is a University of Maryland Extension faculty member with ten years of experience in the area of 4-H Youth Development. Her program work focuses on leadership development, camping, diversity and inclusion, and community service and she serves as the Maryland 4-H State Camping Program Coordinator. Amanda's prior experience includes working as mental health counselor in Baltimore City Schools and a special education behavioral specialist in Washington, DC schools. She has a B.A. degree in Psychology and a M.S. degree in Applied Psychology. Amanda has led more than 50 interactive, hands-on presentations at regional, state, and national events.

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