February 29, 2004 - Vero Beach Press-Journal: Honduras RPCV Christine Kelly-Begazo takes over as Cooperative Extension head

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: February 29, 2004 - Vero Beach Press-Journal: Honduras RPCV Christine Kelly-Begazo takes over as Cooperative Extension head

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-188-54.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 7:08 pm: Edit Post

Honduras RPCV Christine Kelly-Begazo takes over as Cooperative Extension head

Honduras RPCV Christine Kelly-Begazo takes over as Cooperative Extension head

Kelly-Begazo takes over as Cooperative Extension head


By Tonya Alanez staff writer
February 29, 2004

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, FLORIDA Friday the 13th may not seem like an ideal day to begin a new job, but it marked a favorable beginning for Christine Kelly-Begazo, the county's new extension director.

The ominous starting date, which simply placed Kelly-Begazo at the beginning of a new pay period, progressed without any hitches.


Kelly-Begazo, 45, was one of about half a dozen who applied to head the county's Cooperative Extension Service. She comes into the position after it stood vacant for almost a year.

"It's kind of frustrating waiting for such a long time period to fill a vacancy," said Joe Schaefer, South Florida extension district director. "We considered lowering our standards, but we stuck by our guns ... and waited for the best person to fill the job."

Schaefer said it was Kelly-Begazo's relevant training in agriculture, her experience with the Master Gardener Program and her demonstrated leadership ability as the statewide coordinator for the University of Florida's Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program that made her stand out among the applicants.

Tom Frame, the county's director of general services, said Kelly-Begazo's assets include her tremendous insight and understanding of the university system and the respect she garners from her peers.

"I just liked her assertive, positive attitude," said Frame. "And she projected a real can-do attitude that I think is going to be good for the county."

Kelly-Begazo is employed 60 percent by the University of Florida and 40 percent by the county and will serve not only as the extension's director, but also as an agricultural agent and coordinator of the Master Gardener Program.

As county director, Kelly-Begazo said she will "try to assess the needs of the community and create educational outreach programs to fit those needs." And as an agricultural agent, she said her interests lie in the agricultural commodities produced in Indian River County and addressing the needs of those producers.

She said one of the biggest mandates coming from the university is to increase agriculture and extension awareness in the community. To do so, the extension office will set up booths at public and county venues dealing with agriculture or environmental issues, such as the county fair, Earth Day and Sebastian Arbor Day celebrations, she said.

Kelly-Begazo completed her undergraduate studies in anthropology at California State University, Fresno, and earned a master's degree in agronomy at the University of Florida. Between degrees she spent four years with the Peace Corps in Honduras, where she worked with small farmers in rural villages. Kelly-Begazo, a married mother of three, has chosen to put her doctorate coursework in adult education on hold for now.

She said she looks forward to getting to know the community and its needs and she wants to extend an open-door policy to the community.

"If a grower or farmer would like me to see what they perceive Indian River County to be, I'd like to go out there with them to see it," Kelly-Begazo said. "I'm still getting to know the county and the best way to do that is with the people that have been here the longest."

- tonya.alanez@scripps.com

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Story Source: Vero Beach Press-Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; Agriculture



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