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 include support for university-wide collaboration around local and regional food systems, resilient communities through her work with Rust 2 Green Binghamton, and the expansion of professional development opportunities for community and economic developers as co-chair of the national Enhancing Rural Community Capacity community of practice. She also facilitates student engaged learning through internships with CaRDI, Rust 2 Green Binghamton, and Cornell’s Community Food Systems Minor. Within these initiatives, Heidi’s focus is on designing and supporting engaged learning opportunities that provide Cornell students with career related work experience and structured opportunities to strengthen their civic engagement skills, while making meaningful contributions to businesses, agencies, organizations and communities. Overall, Heidi is interested in an array of issues related to community and economic development and sustainable communities, including community capacity building, youth retention and attraction, agriculture and food systems, leadership and organizational development, evaluation & impact assessment, and professional networks for peer- support and collaboration.
I am increasingly interested in and starting to pursue a research agenda focused on understanding strategies communities can use to cultivate a commitment civic engagement, a sense of place and a sense of community, among citizens, particularly young people. The broader context for my interest is a belief that a civically engaged citizenry is key to socially, economically, and ecologically vital communities.
Outreach and Extension Focus
As a Senior Extension Associate with an interest in community development and community capacity building, 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 to help them achieve their community and economic development goals.
Much of my recent work over the last several years has included support for 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. Another of my focus areas is local and regional food systems. As part of my programming in this area, I co-lead the Cornell Local and Regional Foods Systems Initiative, designed to strengthen local and regional food systems, support the health and well being of individuals, and the social, environmental, and economic vitality of NYS communities. I am also part of a collaborative team which has co-developed the Local Agriculture Land Use Leadership Institute, designed to build the capacity of communities within regions to support agriculture and food systems-based development.
I also co-lead the Enhancing Rural Capacity Extension Community of Practice, with the purpose of providing community developers with science-based information and related tools, from the nation’s land grant institutions, designed to support them as they help communities achieve their development goals.
Through these forums and the multiple other venues through which CaRDI provides educational opportunities , 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.
The courses I have taught and academic support I have provided, most recently, relate to pre-during-post courses and training for student engaged learning and research opportunities. Starting with the most recent, these efforts include:
(1) Coordination of the design, launch, and ongoing implementation of Cornell's Community Food Systems Minor (along with members of the faculty team and community partners) (2015-2017+)
(2) NTRES 4990 (Fall 2017). Along with Dr. Shorna Allred, co-taught three undergraduate students who followed up a student internship focused on flooding, community resiliency, research, and community engagement with an independent study that involved data clean-up and analysis, literature reviews, development and implementation of outreach materials (e.g. a video and two community presentations).
(3) Weekly Reflection Assignments, co-led with Shorna Allred, for Rust to Green Binghamton Student Interns (Summer 2017). The internships focused on better understanding Binghamton community members' relations to the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers and their ideas for utilizing the rivers to support community and economic development.
(4) Community Food Systems Minor Pre-Departure Seminars (two sessions), Spring 2017. These 2-hour seminars focused on (1) Practicum Overview & Health, Safety and Security; and (2) Cultural Awareness, Code of Conduct, and Making the Most of the Practicum Experience.
(5) DSoc4200: The Internship Prep and Orientation, co-taught with Robin Blakely-Armitage, (2013-2016), is a course designed to help prepare students for their career-related internship and community engagement experience. Topics covered include: service-learning, community development and civic engagement, youth retention and attraction, knowing the internship host, socio economic demographic characteristics of the host community, personal safety and well-being, professional protocol,and developing a learning action plan.
(6) DSOC 4971 - CALS NYS Internship Program Independent Study, co-taught with Robin Blakely-Armitage, (2013-2016), and designed to help CALS NYS Internship Program participants reflect on and synthesize all that they learned during their internship experience and pre-departure class. The independent study requires students to write a report and develop a poster summarizing a variety of lessons learned.
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.