Epsilon Sigma Phi Alpha Zeta Chapter recently presented the 2015 Multi-Cultural Team Award to a team leading the Veterinary Science Certificate Program (VSCP) in Fort Bend County. Included in the team is Joe Mask, Ph.D., an assistant professor and extension specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service who is housed in the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence.
Epsilon Sigma Phi is a professional organization for Extension educators that is dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System and developing the Extension profession and professional. The Multi-Cultural Team Award recognizes outstanding efforts and accomplishments in developing, achieving and sustaining Extension programs and audiences in our diverse and multi-cultural society.
Mask says the award comes as a surprise.
“It is truly humbling that one of the counties I previously worked in and continue to work with felt the need to submit this application,” Mask said. “This team in Fort Bend County is incredibly hard-working and has done an excellent job of building and promoting the Veterinary Science Certificate Program to youth in urban areas, homeschools, public schools and 4-H. I’m proud to be affiliated with them.”
This award was in recognition of the work Mask has done and continues to do with VSCP in Fort Bend County. Prior to his role at IIAD, he served as the 4-H and youth development county extension agent in Fort Bend County from 2005-2010 and 2012-2014. During that time nine clubs were established in Fort Bend County to implement the VSCP and more than 100 participants were enrolled.
Mask joined his current role with IIAD and AgriLife Extension in September 2014. In this role, he oversees the VSCP program – including the planning, training, and evaluating results of the program. He travels the country and provides training on subject matter, career skills, and instruction techniques to VSCP participants.
Other members of the team included: Angela Bossier, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Fort Bend County Extension Agent in Urban Youth Development; Justin Saenz, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Fort Bend County Extension Agent in 4-H/Youth Development; and Jennifer Cheeseman, former Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Fort Bend County 4-H Program Coordinator.
Coordinated through IIAD and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the Veterinary Science Certificate Program offers a sound platform for students who wish to pursue an associate, undergraduate or professional degree in veterinary sciences. Currently, no other secondary veterinary science program in the U.S. has the depth and scope of IIAD’s curriculum, which integrates and includes core sciences, clinical science, One Health and laboratory science in 150 lessons. For more information, visit aevm.tamu.edu