Serving farm families, women in agriculture, food-service workers, and dozens of Northwest communities for nearly 50 years, Washington State University Extension leader and educator Margaret Viebrock will be honored with the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences‘ 2019 Distinguished Service Award, this summer in St. Louis, Mo.
Viebrock, director of Chelan and Douglas County Extension, will receive the award in June at the society’s annual conference and expo. Established in 1979, the Distinguished Service Award is the most prestigious honor in family and consumer science, recognizing professional achievement and sustained leadership.
Hired in 1970, Viebrock began as an Extension educator in North Central Washington, teaching residents how to use microwaves and small appliances.
Today, she leads the five-state Women in Agriculture educational program, teaches food safety to central Washington families and professionals, helps youth embrace healthy foods, and manages a successful diabetes prevention program.
Constantly looking for new ways to help people, she founded a program that helps Latino business people find success, developed educational programs to address farm family challenges, and has supported professional family and consumer science associations with active membership and presentations at the state and national level.
“Family and consumer science is constantly changing, and that’s what keeps it satisfying,” said Viebrock. “The job is ever-changing as I try to meet people’s learning needs, whether it’s diabetes prevention, helping women farmers be successful, working with consumers, food preparers and restaurant managers on safe cooking and canning, or helping families improve their parenting skills.”
Over her WSU career, Viebrock has earned many awards and grants for her work with farm families, women in agriculture, Spanish-speaking families, and for helping people develop specialty food products, walking programs and economic development.
A certified family and consumer scientist, Viebrock serves on the national board for the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. A certified instructor and proctor for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, she has taught safe food handling classes for more than 15 years.
“It’s humbling to be recognized by my peers and the national organization, but also very reassuring that I’m doing what is important for families and communities,” Viebrock said. “Being an outstanding Extension professional takes a lot of effort and dedication, and it’s only for the person who wants to make a difference with families and communities. Over nearly 50 years, I feel that I’ve succeeded in that, and that’s gratifying.”