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NMSU family and consumer science agent Cindy Davies receives Distinguished County Agent AwardNew Mexico State University’s Bernalillo County Extension program director received the Distinguished County Agent Award.

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • Nov 11, 2016
Three people ‘canning’ food

Cindy Davies has worn many hats during her career, but the one she feels is her calling in life is that of family and consumer science agent with New Mexico State University.

Davies’ 11-year career with the Cooperative Extension Service has covered the gamut from urban 4-H agent to home economist, now called a family and consumer science agent, and finally as program director of the Bernalillo County Extension office.

This year, Davies received the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Distinguished County Agent Award recognizing the work she has done for the university’s outreach mission. She joins Karim Martinez, program director for Dona Ana County, as the FCS women to receive this award.

“Receiving this recognition is such an honor because of all the great work being done by county Extension agents around the state,” she said.

The driving force behind Davies is her knowledge that county Extension agents make a difference in their communities by educating people in ways to improve their lives.

“I am very passionate about helping people in the areas of general home economics,” she said. “Especially helping young moms learn how to take care of their kids, how to feed them well. How to balance work and family while living well on a budget.”

Helping others has been a part of her life since she became a lifelong Girl Scout. 

“Being in Girl Scouts set the tone for serving my community,” she said. “We did all sorts of community service projects.” 

Having excellent parents, a strong faith and opportunities like Girl Scouts gave her confidence. 

“We gave each other confidence to be who we were, so I have never lacked confidence. I believe if you are passionate and confident, and don’t mind working hard, you can achieve anything,” she said.

That work ethic has carried her through a variety of jobs including junior and senior high school home economics teacher, professional cook in assisted living facilities, and child care specialist with New Mexico’s Children Youth and Family Department. 

In addition to her career, Davies said her “greatest life achievement is being a wife to Patrick for 31 years, and raising three wonderful adult sons, who are all NMSU graduates.”

Davies is the epitome of a true Extension agent, a person serving the needs of a community. 

“I love to learn. People’s questions, concerns and calls always give me a reason to do some research and find the answer for them,” she said. “What I like about this job is having the opportunity to be creative. No two days are alike, no two classes or workshops are alike even if you are teaching the same material.”

Davies has conducted a wide variety of programs from food preservation, food safety and emergency preparedness in the home, to food and nutrition, gluten-free cooking, specialty cooking classes and diabetes education. Family resource management, parenting and child development instruction are also important parts of her work. 

Along the way she has become a mentor for other county family and consumer science agents from across the state.

“One of my favorite aspects of the job is actually mentoring other FCS agents in how to meet the needs of their county,” she said. “I have also conducted workshops in one-agent counties where there are no home economists.”

Meeting the needs of the largest populated area of New Mexico – Bernalillo County – is not easy.

“To meet the needs of all the different groups in the county is really a challenge for us,” she said, noting that in Albuquerque over 23 different languages are spoken. “We have to do things differently if we are going to reach people and help them improve their lives.”

Working with Davies at the Bernalillo County Extension office are seven county agents, 10 nutrition educators, two part-time program assistants and three administrative support staff. 

“The three areas of Extension – agriculture/horticulture, family and consumer science and youth development through 4-H – all target an aspect of community development,” she said. “I don’t see Extension as something that can separate out these areas. I see it as a whole where we need to work together. I’m very privileged to work with agents who are excited to do their part in making this office serve the community.”

While Davies’ calendar is pretty full with workshops and classes, she believes in the importance of being involved on the national level of professional associations. She has served as the western district director of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science and is on several national committees. 

“I encourage my agents to go to national conferences,” she said. “It is so important for people to see what else is going on in this country. We are part of a bigger picture than just our state’s Cooperative Extension Service. We have people all over the country who can help us and whom we can help. Networking with other state agents is so valuable.”