Advisory Councils

State Advisory Council

★ Extension council meetings, like many other meetings held by sub units of the university, are open meetings. Interested parties should call 907-474-7246 for information on how to connect to the meeting. ★

Minutes (files below are .docx)




State Advisory Council Duties

Members of Extension's State Advisory Council are advocates for funding and programming with the university, state government and agencies on behalf of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

As advocates for Extension's programming throughout Alaska, the council also provides an invaluable service by providing stakeholder input for Extension on a statewide level.

Voting and non-voting members of the council serve for three-year terms for a maximum of six consecutive years. Terms on the board are staggered so that not all the seats become vacant at the same time. If you are interested in serving on Extension's Advisory Council as seats become vacant, please fill out the application and submit it to the address listed.

The 11 members of the council are elected through a nomination process, with eight of the seats on the board filled by individuals representing a specific geographic region of the state. The other three seats are open and nominations to fill those posts can come from anywhere in the state. There are also non-voting Extension faculty and staff representatives on the council.

                                              Contact Information and Profiles

[Term 2011-2015]
Megan Gregory, Youth Representative

Megan Gregory grew up in Kake. As a young Tlingit woman from a rural community, Megan is passionate about seeing more youth leadership opportunities in rural Alaska. Last spring, Megan completed her term as the youth representative for the Central Council Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. She also served as the inaugural youth advisor to the Sealaska Corp. Board of Directors. In February 2011, Megan was one of three youth board members named to the Center for Native American Youth Board of Directors and has been working very closely with the center to reach out to youth across Indian Country.

Megan works in Juneau as the community project assistant for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. She recently launched the Youth Ambassador Program for high school juniors and seniors around Southeast. Megan looks forward to working with the Extension Advisory Council and taking a more active role with the 4-H program and other programs that promote growing more local food, increasing energy efficiency and economic development. In her free time, Megan enjoys sharing her love for running by volunteering as a coach with the international Girls on the Run program.

[Term 2009-2015, Interior]

[Term 2012-2015, Interior]
Cynthia Erikson 

Cynthia Erickson is Athabascan and has lived in Tanana for 27 years, but she is originally from Ruby. She and her husband, Dale, own and operate the general store and Tanakon B&B. She serves on the Dineega Corp. board in Ruby.

She says that after many years dealing with suicide of family and friends in rural Alaska, she decided to get involved with youth – 4-H seemed to be a natural fit as it represented the 4 H’s by educating and mentoring our children in a positive manner. “We are NOT the mainstream 4-H club,” she says. “I do a lot of activities of positive reinforcement and building self-esteem. I talk honestly and openly on a lot of tough topics: domestic violence, sexual assault, bullying, molesting and suicide. It’s tough and it’s hard but the kids are receptive – change comes from our youth.” Cynthia and Dale have three children.

[Term 2009-2015, Southcentral]
Kyra Wagner

Kyra moved to Alaska in 2000 after four years working and teaching in the Peace Corps.  She lives in Homer and works with Sustainable Homer and with a variety of organizations throughout the community on various topics of sustainability, including alternative energy, food security, climate change and economic development. See more about Kyra at

[Term 2010-2016, Southcentral]
Robert (Bob) Shumaker

Bob Shumaker is a part-time farmer, president of the Alaska Farmers Union, and father, and he also has a full-time job working for the local school district purchasing department. During the summer while working for the district, he also grows close to 3.5 acres of vegetables, and participates in the Eagle River, Southside, and sometimes 15 and Cordova Markets.

Bob has been a resident of Alaska since April of 1989. “There was still snow on the ground and I was living in my car out at Chickaloon and driving everyday to JC Penneys for work,” says Bob. “It was a big change considering that just a few months prior I had been to the Florida Keys after attending Purdue University. Then I moved up to no running water or electricity, at least I had a roof over my head.” Bob can tell you from experience that no longer is he a cheechako! “One time while driving back from UAF (I had purchased some pigs and one big boar from Fred Husby) someone fell asleep at the wheel and we ended up in the ditch. The snow was almost to the top of the truck. But of all the trials none beats good times with 4-H, FFA, or sleeping out with the Boy Scouts at who knows way below zero."

Bob was born in Arizona, and raised mostly in Indiana. He has five children and five grandchildren. Bob partners in a farm business in Indiana with his three brothers. He holds a bachelor’s in general communication from Purdue. Bob is hoping to move into the material stage soon and get a snow machine so he can get out and trap. He loves dealing with people, markets, growing things, and hiring young people so he doesn’t have to work as hard. Currently Bob’s favorite tool is a mulch layer, making life easier for everyone.

[Term 2010-2016, Southcentral]
Meera Kohler

Meera is the president and CEO of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, a nonprofit utility serving more than 7,500 consumers in 53 villages – home to more than 40 percent of Alaska’s village population. She has been a resident of Alaska since 1976 and her career in the electric utility business spans 31 years, mostly in rural Alaska. She has been the chief executive officer of three Alaska utilities and has been at the helm of AVEC since 2000. Meera has a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration, both from the University of Delhi, India. She is married and has two grown sons and one perfectly exquisite granddaughter.

[Term 2012-2015, Southcentral]
Julie M. Goode

Julie was born in Portland, Ore., and she spent most of her youth living on a small farm southwest of Portland, where she participated in several 4-H clubs. She moved to Fairbanks in 1983 to attend UAF and used the services and advice offered by the UAF Cooperative Extension to adjust to living in the cold North. When Julie moved to Colorado in 1995, she continued her support and use of the local Cooperative Extension. She raised three children in Colorado and participated in several 4-H clubs with her children.

Julie holds a related master’s degree as well as a bachelor’s degree in business management. She moved back to Alaska in 2008 and works at the Anchorage Pioneers Home. She lives in Eagle River with her husband Bart, daughter Libby, three dogs, two cats and a black bunny.

[Term 2013-2016, Southeast]

Jeste Burton

Jeste grew up in New York about two hours north of New York City, on 100 acres with a lake and streams that were surrounded by another couple thousand acres that were largely undeveloped. She says she grew up in a more rural setting than many here even in Alaska. She adds,“People have regularly underestimated me by my accent and proclivity for stylish accessories but have consistently been dismayed by my proficiency in fire building, wood splitting and stacking, construction, gardening and a general battery of domestic skills.”  

Jeste came to Alaska to stay with friends’ parents to play, for what was supposed to be a part of a summer. Five years later, she is still here and has traveled around the state and “had the good fortune to have access to a great many quintessentially Alaska experiences.” She has been working as a chef. Through her work in many kitchens here, she says she has fed nearly everyone in Juneau at some point or another. .

[Term 2011-2014, Northwest]
Jon F. Wehde

Jon Wehde is the Director of Career and Technical Education at the Northwest Arctic Borough School District. Jon has experience as a teacher and a school leader and brings a passion for serving rural Alaskan students and their families. Jon completed graduate studies at South Dakota State University in Education and at the University of Alaska-Anchorage in Vocational Education. He has 20 years of experience as a high school vocational instructor in rural Alaska and the Lower 48 that included operating his own farm in South Dakota. His last 10 years have been in public school administration in Alaskan rural schools.

Jon was Alaska’s career and technical education Advisor of the Year in 2003 and he has helped lead state level efforts to address the needs of vocational education for students in Alaska’s villages. Jon was the second Chairman of the Mid-Kuskokwim Soil & Water Conservation District based in Aniak. During his tenure, he collaborated as a consultant to the Kuskokwim Native Association’s production garden project and bank erosion mitigation control for the traditional Native Village of Upper Kalsgag.

[Term 2013-2016, Southwest]
Carrie Longpre

Carrie originally moved to Alaska with her parents in 1955 when her father was a Russian language translator for the US Army. They fell in love with the state, and after her father's tour of duty, her parents finished college and returned to teach in Southwest Alaska villages starting in 1962. Since then, she has lived in a variety of Southwest Alaska communities (Emmonak, Nunapitchuk, Kwigillingok, Bethel, Takotna, Grayling, Aniak). In addition, she homesteaded forty acres on the Holitna River in 1972.

Her professionarl career has been as a secondary teacher in Bethel, Alaska. A few years after she retired from teaching there, Carrie and her husband moved from Bethel to Aniak, Alaska in order to live in the same town as my grandchildren. Living in Aniak has allowed her to pursue several passions - participating in family activities, doing community service (for example: volunteering in schools, serving on the Kuspuk School District board, volunteering for the K-300 and Aniak 150 dog races), engaging in outdoor activities (boating, fishing, snowmachining, hiking). She has no plans to leave the rural area she has called home for most of her life.

At-Large Seats (3)

[Term 2011-2014, At-Large, Southwest]
Alice Ruby

Alice Ruby is from Dillingham and has served as city mayor for the past five years. She graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in urban and regional planning. She is the program manager for the Economic Development and Permit Brokerage for the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. Prior to that, Alice devoted 20 years as land manager and then as director of operations for Choggiung Ltd., the Native corporation for Dillingham, Portage Creek and Ekuk. She has been active with several local organizations, as a firefighter and emergency medical technician, rescue squad director and fire chief. She also served on the board of the local domestic violence shelter.

In her personal time, she is a reader, cook and crafter. Many of her favorite activities are done with sisters, brother, nieces and nephews. She says, “My sister, Amy, and I are avid ‘canners’ and have been great fans of the Cooperative Extension Service for techniques. We love to surprise our family and friends with an almost never-ending variety of home-canned gourmet fish.

[Term 2010-2016, At-Large]
William (Bill) Martin, Vice Chair

Bill Martin was born in Petersburg. He is Tlingit and Tsaagweidi, Eagle/Killerwhale. He is married to Lorraine Martin and they have four children and nine grandchildren. He is past president of the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Tribes. Prior to serving as president, he was the Central Council vice president, and participated in the Alaska State Suicide Prevention Council (Chair 2005-2006), served as president of the Juneau Tlingit & Haida Community, and chairman of ITMA. Bill worked as an operations manager for Tlingit Haida Technology Industries, a programmer for MVS mainframe systems, IBM and Affiliated Computer Corporation and a customer service representative for hardware systems at IBM.

Bill served as the Alaska Federation of Native's representative to the State Suicide Prevention Council. He plans to continue these and other interests on the Cooperative Extension Advisory Council. He is a committed advocate and believes that "[i]n issues which come up, the grandchildren, and their generation, must be the first consideration."

[Term 2011-2014 At-Large]
Paul McIntosh, Chair

Paul grew up in an agricultural community in central Illinois where the prairie soil is deep and black, and the land is very flat. When he was old enough, he worked summers for farmers and was a member of a crew that painted and reroofed houses and farm buildings. Following his forestry studies at the University of Illinois and the University of Washington, he began a 35-plus year career with the USDA Forest Service which took him to New Hampshire, Oregon, Arkansas, Georgia, West Virginia and Southeast Alaska. His work on the national forests progressed from visitor center interpretive planning to public affairs to rural community assistance. Paul’s last USFS assignment was a detail to the Denali Commission in Anchorage where he managed the Economic Development Program.

Paul believes in the university’s “community college” mission through its extended campuses around Alaska, and its outreach mission through the Cooperative Extension Service and the Marine Advisory Program. He served nine years as a member or chair of the UAS Ketchikan Campus Advisory Council as well as two three-year terms on the CES State Advisory Council. Paul and his wife have a married son 

Ex Officio (non-voting) Members

Faculty Representative
Derylee Hecimovich, 4-H & Youth Development Faculty

A Minnesota native, Derylee received a Bachelor of Science in resource management at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she met husband, Lan. They migrated north to Fairbanks with the Air Force but have lived in the Palmer area since 1990. Lan works with the Anchorage Fire Department and both adult children — products of 4-H, FFA and the UA system — work in the forest firefighting field. Lan and Derylee also received master’s degrees in career and technical education at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

They began their 40-acre farm from “scratch” and currently raise registered Icelandic sheep, also courtesy of a 4-H project, and have had everything from horses and llamas to poultry, hogs and dogs. Most of these were also 4-H projects.   Interests include environmental education, outdoor skills, Ag in the Classroom and sustainable living. In her spare time, she also enjoys gardening, boating, hiking, crafts, music, travel and reading.

Derylee says, “I have enjoyed being part of the CES family for the past 10 years as the 4-H agent in the Mat Su/Copper River District and look forward to working with the CES Advisory Council.”

Staff Representative
Winona Benson
I was born and raised in Anchorage. As a native of this great state, I have a vested interest  in my community. In 1984, I graduated from a small private school in Anchorage and  then went on to college in Denver. My field of work in the past has been working with  developmentally disabled children and adults. I worked for six years in Anchorage in the  field when I met my (future) husband, Eric. He joined the Army and we traveled for 12 years across the states. We ended up back in Alaska and moved into the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in 2000. I have been an active part of my community since then.
Community service was very much an important part of our lives as my children were  growing up. We were involved in the homeschool community, Girl Scouts and our church ministry programs. In 2008, I accepted the position of nutrition educator in Palmer and have been working at the district for five years. I thoroughly enjoy my job and all aspects of Extension.

    Extension State Advisory Council Support

Fred Schlutt, Director

Fred has served as the vice-provost for Outreach and the director of the Cooperative Extension Service for the University of Alaska since May 2009. Fred has a Ph.D. in adult and extension education, a master's in horticulture, and a bachelor's in sociology all from Texas A&M University.

He began his career in the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in 1979 as a county Extension agent. Prior to joining the University of Alaska, he worked in Extension administration at the University of Wyoming and the University of Maine.

He and his wife, Ann, have three children: LuAnn who is a high school special education teacher and softball coach; Trey who is attending Husson College; and Laura who is a student at the University of Alaska.

Melody Hughes, Assistant to the Director
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