Senior Extension Associate
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman is Senior Extension Associate with the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University. Heidi develops educational programs and tools, facilitates networking opportunities, and conducts research designed to help local officials, community and economic developers, and other local leaders to collaboratively identify, pursue, and achieve their community's development goals. Heidi’s current activities focus on community resiliency and revitalization, local and regional food systems., impact assessment, engaged learning opportunities, school-parent/family engagement and Ripple Effect Mapping.
In 2018, along with Gretchen Rymarchyk, I've begun to develop a research agenda focused on school engagement of parents/families and communities.
Since Fall 2017, I have been involved with a research effort designed to understand and strengthen impact assessment of local and regional food systems initiatives. The study involves using food hub impact assessment as a case for strengthening impact assessment overall.
I am increasingly interested in and starting to pursue a research agenda focused on understanding strategies communities can use to cultivate a commitment to understanding and nurturing community among citizens, particularly young people. The broader context for my interest is a belief that the ability to nurture community is critical to the long-term sustainability of humans, the planet, and the species with which we share it.
Outreach and Extension Focus
As a Senior Extension Associate, I work with communities and regions, typically in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, to provide technical assistance and collaboratively develop research, trainings, tools, and resources for community and economic development. My areas of work include the Rust to Green Binghamton Project, a university-community partnership co-led by Dr. Shorna Allred and CaRDI, designed to better understand the experience of flooding and community resiliency, via participatory action research. I also co-lead the Cornell Local and Regional Foods Systems Initiative, designed to strengthen local and regional food systems and contribute to the vitality of NYS communities. My work on food systems extends to the Local Agriculture Land Use Leadership Institute, which works to build the capacity of communities. I also co-lead the Enhancing Rural Capacity Extension Community of Practice with the nation’s land grant institutions, with the purpose of providing community developers with science-based information and related tools. Through these forums and in other CaRDI programs, I conduct trainings and give presentations on a variety of topics including community capacity building and community development, grant writing, regional economic development, and food systems.
Since 2013, I have worked to develop meaningful, engaged educational experiences and courses for Cornell students through internship placements, practicums, and applied research opportunities. More recently, this has been manifested in my effort to coordinate the design, launch, and implementation of Cornell's Community Food Systems Minor in partnership with faculty and community partners. In addition, I co-teach a pre-departure course for the community food system minor practicum to prepare students for best practices in engaging with communities. I also co-teach ESS 4990, with Dr. Shorna Allred, in which we help students learn about and contribute to community resiliency and revitalization through the Rust to Green Binghamton project.
Awards and Honors
- NACDEP Excellence in Community Development Work -Team (2017) National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals
- NACDEP Regional Winner Northeast: Excellence in Community Development Work, Team Winner (2017) National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals
- Friend of Extension – Campus Collaborator Award (2014) Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County
Presentations and Activities
- The Connection Between Fiscal Stress and Community Vitality: Youth Attraction and Retention Efforts. Big Skys: Bold Partnerships, Joint Annual Conferences . June 2017. Community Development Society and National Association of Community Develpment Extension Professionals. Big Sky, Montana.
- CALS NYS Internship Program: Connecting Coursework, Career, and Community. Building a Path to Resiliency: Uniting Natural Resources and Community Development. June 2016. National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals and Assocation of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. Burlington, Vermont.
- Enhancing Rural Community Capacity Community of Practice Membership Meeting and Planning Session. Building a Path to Resiliency: Uniting Natural Resources and Community Development. June 2016. National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals and Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. Burlington, Vermont.