Karen DeBord of Moneta, Va., has been appointed family and human development specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension. Her position is housed in the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

In this position, DeBord will provide Extension agents with research-based information about family and human development topics that agents can pass on to members of the communities they serve. DeBord’s research covers topics like helping children deal with stress and choosing a child care provider.

“My main goal is to raise the capacity of the Extension agents in this field working with families across the state,” she said. DeBord wants to provide resources that can be tailored to fit the public’s needs — for example, information specifically for teen parents or military families. DeBord said the Extension agents are eager for this kind of information and she is excited to provide it.

“Dr. DeBord has hit the ground running and is already positively impacting Extension’s human development programming,” said Brian Calhoun, associate director for family and consumer sciences. “We are fortunate to have her in this role and to serve as a resource for Virginia communities.”

“I feel like I’m coming home,” DeBord said. She has spent her entire career working for Extension. She started in Virginia as a 4-H Extension agent in Wythe County before taking educational leave to obtain a master’s degree and Ph.D. After serving as an Extension specialist in Virginia, she worked for Extension in Missouri and then in North Carolina for 20 years before returning to Virginia in 2012. “I’m delighted to be serving the state of Virginia again,” she said.

A Blacksburg native, DeBord holds a bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.



Written by Allison Hedrick of Chatham, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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