UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Cristy Schmidt, Penn State Extension applied research educator, was appointed as the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s Extension Fellow, effective Jan. 1.
During her two-year term, Schmidt will work with the association in Harrisburg, providing expertise to commissioners in the state’s 67 counties to enhance the statewide partnership between the association and Penn State while learning more about county and state agencies and offices.
Penn State Extension receives significant support from county governments across Pennsylvania and maintains offices across the commonwealth, providing local educational programs and services. Extension also is supported by state and federal appropriations as part of Penn State’s status as a land-grant university.
Schmidt joined extension’s energy, business and community vitality team and Penn State’s Center for Economic and Community Development in the spring of 2018. The center is housed in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
As an applied research educator, she collaborates with faculty, staff and undergraduate research assistants to conduct applied research that addresses emerging social and economic issues in communities and regions across the state.
Schmidt also communicates research information to help decision makers and community stakeholders understand, anticipate and respond to the challenges they face. She specializes in secondary data analysis, public policy analysis, geographic information systems, public administration, community and economic development, and community engagement.
Schmidt will work with the policy team of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania — often referred to as CCAP — to find points of synergy and opportunities for meaningful collaborations across the two organizations, most notably in the areas of secondary data and policy analysis related to county resilience, public finance and broadband expansion, among others.
“I look forward to understanding more deeply the issues that counties are facing and connecting CCAP staff and commissioners with evidence-based resources to help address those challenges,” said Schmidt, who holds a master’s degree in public policy and management from the University of Pittsburgh. “It truly is an honor to serve extension and CCAP in this capacity, and I’m excited to get to work.”
Brent Hales, director of Penn State Extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences, said in discussing the needs of CCAP related to the pandemic and community and economic development, it was apparent that Schmidt was the perfect fit.
“We hope that as much as Cristy will be an asset to CCAP, she too will benefit from the close working relationships that will result from the fellowship,” he said. “We are grateful for the partnership with CCAP and that Cristy is representing extension in this capacity. We know that she will do a fantastic job and look forward to her engagement with the commissioners.”
Lisa Schaefer, CCAP executive director, echoed Hales’ statement. “CCAP and counties are no stranger to the diligent work of Cristy in her extension capacity and welcome her to the fellowship role,” she said. “We look forward to continuing the partnership with Penn State Extension to enhance the lives of those in our communities across the commonwealth.”
–Amy Duke, Penn State University