Meet the Team

Extension Family and Consumer Sciences

Department Head: Robert Moreno, Ph.D.

Associate Department Head: Sonja Koukel, Ph.D.

Administrative Assistant, Intermediate: Tanner Dossey

Administrative Assistant, General: Elisa Anderson

Student Aide: Vacant*

*Manages all EFCS social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Blog. Inputs surveys/evaluations from counties delivering EFCS programs into Qualtrics and Survey Monkey and manages the EFCS website.

Provide statewide leadership in planning, coordinating and evaluating FCS programs. Provide resource material and subject matter training for county Extension personnel. Responsible for securing and managing funding, reporting program results to administration, and maintaining partnerships with other faculty, agencies,and organizations.

Nancy Flores, Ph.D., Food Technology

  • Food safety-steps to avoiding food borne illness through proper handling of food.
  • Home food preservation-information about canning, drying, and freezing food.
  • Master Food Preserver Program (with Cindy Davies, Kelly Knight, Cydney Martin)-statewide program to train community volunteers to provide food preservation workshops to community members.
  • Better Process Control School for Acidified Foods: two-day course for managers and supervisors of food processing operations of thermal procession systems, acidification, and container closure evaluation programs for low-acid and acidified canned foods.
  • FSPCA -Preventive Controls for Human Food FULL Course for Preventive Controls Qualified Individual -training for the food safety professional in efficient management of a FSMA Food Safety Plan and Good Manufacturing practices; conducting a risk assessment to determine controls for process, food allergen, sanitation and supply chain procedures in the food processing environment; an implementation of the requirements for verification, validation, and record keeping.

Karen Plawecki Ph.D., RD, Nutrition (potential programs)

  • Building nutrition practices to meet your needs and promote optimal development and health, including eating well on a budget.
  • Developing healthy relationship with foods.
  • Addressing and applying nutrition habits to lower specific disease risks, such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis,and inflammation.•Using nutrition to improve sports performance.
  • Improving nutrition in areas with limited food access.

Bryce Jorgensen, Ph.D., AFC, CHC, Family Resource Management

Family Finance

1. Easy Ways to Grow your Savings.
2. Eliminate your Debt Quickly and SAVE $1,000’s.
3. Student Loan Debt: What Should I Know?
4. Improve your Credit Score and SAVE $100’s every Month.
5. Why EVERYONE Needs a Will.
6. How to Get a $500 per Month Raise without Asking Your Boss!
7. Building Wealth: How to Become a Millionaire.
8. How and Where Should I Invest my Money?
9. Banking Safely in Today’s World.
10. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft!
11. Should I get a Reverse Mortgage? Facts and Myths.
12. Forming Financial Futures: Teaching Your Children about Money (Two-part program)

Family Resource Management

1. Why resolutions Fail and how to Create Goals that Work
2. The 6 Principles of Strong Families
3. The ProductivityFactor: Accomplishing More by Doing Less
4. The 6 Principles of Happiness
5. The 8 Success Habits Everyone Should Implement
6. Families and Technology: The Realities and Improvements for Technology Management

Sonja Koukel, Ph.D., Community and Environmental Health Specialist

  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program (CDSMEP) -Strategies for living a healthy life with any chronic condition. The suite of self-management programs, most are offered in both English and Spanish, include: general CDSMEP, Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), Cancer: Thriving and Surviving Program (CTSP), and Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP).
  • General Health -The Health Program revolves around activities related to healthy lifestyles, including maintenance of social,emotional, and physical health. The goal of the Health Program is to provide reliable, research-based information that covers the lifespan in all areas of individual, family, and community life. Topic areas include cancer facts, vaccinations and public health, osteoarthritis pain management, selecting over-the-counter medications, stress management, sun safety, and other general health areas of interest.
  • Healthy Homes and Communities –Programs are designed to administer guidance and provide resources for maintaining or rehabilitating areas both within and outside the home or workplace in a manner that supports the health of residents. The program area provides education focused on a variety of human health issues that are impacted and/or exacerbated through the environment in which people live, work and play. Examples are mold control and remediation, air quality, and controlling pest infestation. The program covers disaster preparedness as it impacts individual, family,and community health.

Karim Martinez, Ph.D., CFLE, Family Life and Child Development

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)-understanding how childhood trauma influences health outcomes across the lifespan.
  • Stress and Resilience-understanding how stress affectsbrain development and learning strategies to build resilience; this included the related program, Resilient Mothers, Resilient Children.
  • Behavioral health and wellness-understanding mental health and reducing stigma of seeking treatment for mental health challenges.
  • Aging and caregivereducation-understanding how caregiving changes relationships; managing grief and loss; and support for New Mexico delivery of Keys to Embracing Aging, a research-based curriculum developed by Extension professionals at Kansas State University, University of Arkansas, and University of Kentucky.
  • Interpersonal communication-strengthening couple and familyrelationships through development of communication skills.
  • Parenting-promotion of online Just in Timeparenting newsletter through Extension.

Extension Associates II:
Masters-level Extension professionals, similar to Extension agents, but housed in the EFCSdepartment. These positions can be involved in a variety of FCS programs at county or state-levels. Many of the programs are grant-funded initiatives.

Lucinda Banegas-Carreon, MPH, CHES, Extension Associate II

  • Fit Families (Program Manager): 12-week nutrition program delivered to families with children 5-12 years of age. Benefits are increased knowledge about healthy food choices, physical activity, and promoting social and emotional well-being. Instruction includes a cooking demonstration and nutritious meal. Available in Doña Ana County.
  • National Diabetes PreventionProgram (NDPP) (Program Manager): evidence-based, lifestyle intervention program taught by lifestyle coaches trained through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Target audience is people with pre-diabetes or risk factors for developing diabetes. Meet weekly for 6 months and then monthly for 6 months. There are multiple NDPP curricula such as Native Balance and Spanish-language curricula.

Lourdes Olivas, MA, Extension Associate II

  • On the Road to Living Well with Diabetes (Program Manager): program provided to individuals with prediabetes and those at risk for developing diabetes. It covers the five most important tests for diabetes; how to discuss test results with your healthcare provider; how to prepare healthy meals; and why it's important to be physically active.
  • Familias en Forma (Fit Families Spanish Curriculum Program Manager): 12-week nutrition program delivered to families with children 5-12 years of age by promotoras. Benefits are increased knowledge about healthy food choices, physical activity, and promoting socialand emotional well-being. Instruction includes a cooking demonstration and nutritious meal. Available in Doña Ana County.
  • Assists with Kitchen Creations, National Diabetes Prevention Program –Lifestyle Coach, Chronic Disease Self-Management Program –Master Trainer, and Healthy U.
  • Undergraduate degree in Kinesiology, (studied human movement as well as the impact of age, injury and/or disease on normal. human function and performance). Interested in assisting with physical activity programs.
  • Supervise graduate dietetic interns. If agents would like dietetic interns to research nutrition related topics, let Lourdes know.

Cassandra Vanderpool, MS, RDN, LD, Extension Associate II

  • Kitchen Creations (Program Manager): 4-part diabetes cooking school funded by a grant from the NM Department of Health Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.
  • Part-time position (20 hrs. per week) from Albuquerque, NM

Program Coordinator

Gabe Calderon, Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program

  • Certified master trainer.
  • Trains and provides support to workshops leaders, assists with scheduling community workshops, promotes the program through collaborative networks with agencies and organizations.
  • The suite of programs includes thegeneral CDSMEP, Tomando Control de Su Salud, Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), and Manejo Personal De La Diabetes.

Center of Innovation(COI)

This program is housed in the EFCS departmentwith a focus onChildren’s Behavioral Healthand related program areas.COI staff collaborate with State of New Mexico funding partners, including the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) on a number of initiatives and federal grants. This groupprovides training and program implementation support and technical assistance to the State of New Mexico and Community Behavioral Health Provider agencies. The center also coordinates and provides continuing education trainings to social workers, attorneys, advocates, law enforcement, educators,peer support workers andcommunity members. They have also provided trainings for 4-H agents and are open to providing training for other Extension agents as well.

COI staff can deliver the following trainings to agents:

  • Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect
  • Nurtured Heart Approach: primarily for parenting and working with “intense” children
  • Trauma Informed Care, and Behavioral Health Services

COI Staff

  • Brooke Stanley Tou, MPH, LMSW, Director
  • Liz Bennett, MPH, LMSW, Program Manager
  • Sandra Gallegos, LBSW, Program Manager
  • Bob Brazell, Program Specialist Senior
  • Lorretta Diaz, Event Planner
  • Mary Ortaleza,Program Coordinator
  • Jesus Romero,Program Specialist
  • Julia Maciel,MPA,Program Coordinator
  • Alana Hancock,Program Coordinator
  • Priscila Solis, Program Coordinator

ICAN Program

Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition (ICAN):

Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition (ICAN) is a NMSU Cooperative Extension Service program funded by USDA's EFNEP and SNAP-Ed grants to provide nutrition education to limited-resource audiences in New Mexico. ICAN's mission is to inspire New Mexico's limited-resource families to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. ICAN is federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in two programs: The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), from National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Supplemental NutritionAssistance Program –Education (SNAP-Ed), from Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
For a listing of counties providing ICAN education, visit the ICAN website

State ICAN Staff:

  • Donna Sauter, MS, RDN, LD, Director (Albuquerque Office)
  • Gabriel Gomez, BS, Northern District Regional Coordinator (Albuquerque Office)
  • Sally Cassady, MPH, MA Ed, Food Systems Specialist (Albuquerque Office)
  • Savannah Lee-Jake, BPH, Administrative Assistant (Albuquerque Office)
  • Brenda Weatherford, BA, Eastern and Southwest District Regional Coordinator (Lincoln County Extension Office)
  • Marisa Van Dommelen, MS, Program Manager (Las Cruces Office)
  • Abigail Orta, BS, Financial Manager (Las Cruces Office)
  • Marisa Stevenson, MS, Data Manager (Las Cruces Office)
  • Ester Thompson, MBA, Administrative Assistant (Las Cruces Office)

County Family and Consumer Sciences Agents


  • Andrea Brazausky, Prog. Educator-Sr ICAN
  • Dianne Christensen, FCS
  • Vacant, FCS
  • Nicole Jacobs, FCS/4-H
Chavez: Tamara Rowland, FCS/4-H

Cibola: Vacant,FCS/4-H

Curry: Mindy Turner, FCS

Doña Ana:
  • Diana Magallanez, ICAN/FCS
  • Beatriz Favela, FCS
  • Sandy Taylor, FCS
  • Vacant, 4-H
Grant: Vacant, FCS/4-H

  • Robin Mack Haynes,FCS
  • Laci Kennedy, 4-H
Lincoln: Melody Gaines, FCS/4-H

Los Alamos: Desaree Jimenez, FCS/4-H

Luna: Jennifer Shafer,FCS/4-H

McKinley: Katie Sharpton, FCS/4-H

Otero: Kelly Knight, County Program Director/ FCS


  • Susann Mikkelson, FCS
  • Vacant, 4-H
Rio Arriba:
  • Joy Czmyrid, FCS
  • Vacant, 4-H
San Juan:
  • Rick Griffiths, FCS
  • Vacant,FCS/4-H
Sandoval: Nicole Lujan, FCS/4-H

Santa Fe:
  • Vacant, FCS
  • Amanda Benton, FCS/4-H
Torrance: Vacant,FCS/4-H

Tribal Extension: Vacant, FCS/4-H

  • Vacant, FCS
  • Vacant, FCS/4-H