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 CaRDI, Cornell’s new Community Food Systems Minor and Seed to Supper. 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 Stronger Economies Together (SET) program, a project of the four Regional Rural Development Centers and U.S.D.A. Rural Development, in partnership with land grant institutions and communities across the country. SET is a nine-module training program designed to help multi-county regions develop and implement regional economic development plans. I have been a part of the NY and Pennsylvania State Training Teams working with regions in New York (3) and Pennsylvania (1).
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. Part of this work includes co-organizing and co-hosting Foundations of Practice in Community Development, a training program also developed by the four Regional Rural Development Centers and Extension leaders from Land Grant Universities across the country.
In addition to these initiatives, I co-organize and teach several classes in CaRDI's annual Cornell Municipal Clerks Institute, as well as provide leadership for the Institute’s Learning Action Plan component, which is designed to help participants be intentional about applying what they have learned during the Institute in their communities.
Through these forums and the multiple other venues CaRDI provides training in, I conduct trainings on a variety of topics including community capacity building and community development, grant writing, regional economic development, and food systems.
The two courses I currently teach are related to my role as Coordinator of the CALS NYS Internship Program. DSoc4200: The Internship Prep and Orientation course is 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.
DSOC 4971 - CALS NYS Internship Program Independent Study is 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
- Friend of Extension – Campus Collaborator Award (2014) Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County
Presentations and Activities
- 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.