UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 16, 2022. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.
UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Carrie Castille hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I am so excited to recognize excellence as exemplified by the award-winning members of our UTIA faculty and staff,” Castille says. “Their continuing commitment to our land-grant mission ensures that the Institute develops and delivers real-life solutions to improve the health and economy of our state and beyond while also enhancing our environment.”
Sarah Keenan, a 4-H agent with UT Extension in Maury County, was honored as the winner of the Vernon and Ida Darter. The award is named for the late UT Extension Dean Emeritus Vernon W. Darter and his wife, the late Ida Darter, and recognizes excellence among the ranks of associate Extension agents.
“I am very humbled and honored to receive the Vernon and Ida Darter Award. It is a privilege working with the amazing 4-H members and the Maury County community on a daily basis,” Keenan says. “I feel very fortunate to be able to collaborate with many community partners and coworkers to provide programs and opportunities for the youth of Maury County.”
Keenan has been with UT Extension ten years, starting her career in Sumner County, and then moving to Columbia in 2016. Today she leads 1,500 4-Hers in more than 60 clubs. She has received past honors from the National Association of 4-H agents.
Keenan has coached 4-H Horse Bowl and Horse Judging teams and during COVID-19 worked to ensure her 4-H’ers received valuable learning opportunities. In collaboration with an Arapahoe County, Colorado agent, she organized a virtual exchange program between kids in each state where they played online games, asked each other questions and shared about their 4-H projects. This program has since been replicated in 15 other states.
Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.