Ana Lu Fonseca, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) state specialist for the Division of Extension and Engagement, has received a 2021 National Diversity Regional Excellence in Extension Award.

Fonseca was awarded for the Western region, which encompasses 13 states and four U.S. territories. Each of the awardees are deemed by a regional selection committee to exhibit sustained and meritorious Extension programming, and who have maintained at least five consecutive years of work experience in Extension

She was honored for her “transformative leadership advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through responsive educational programs for all learners.”

“I am both thrilled and honored to receive this award,” Fonseca said. “My career journey with OSU Extension began in the 4-H Youth Development and nutrition education programs, where I taught science and healthy living in a culturally relevant manner and responsive way to Spanish and Arabic speakers, dance for visually-impaired youth, and other healthy living and STEM-related educational programs. My dedication to creating a more inclusive community continues in my role as both a leader and collaborator in the Division of Extension and Engagement’s DEI goals and initiatives.”

Fonseca joined OSU in 2011, serving as the Latino outreach coordinator for 4-H and nutrition education in Benton and Linn counties. In 2015, she earned the rank of assistant professor of practice for 4-H in the College of Education and Health Professions. She started in her current role in the spring of 2017.

As the diversity, equity and inclusion state specialist, Fonseca designs, plans, leads and implements initiatives, partnerships and strategic communications that advance DEI throughout all facets of the division, in collaboration with university partners. She initiated the division’s Diversity Champions Program, a year-long professional development opportunity that engages division employees in conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. There are currently more than 150 Diversity Champions in Extension.

Fonseca holds a master’s degree from OSU in forestry, with an emphasis in natural resources education and Extension, and a bachelor’s degree in social psychology from Autonomous University in Queretaro, Mexico. She is an OSU doctoral candidate in language equity and educational policy with a focus on minotiry entrepreneurship.

Honorees receive a cash award from the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and a plaque from U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director.