COLLEGE STATION – Joan Gray-Soria, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family and community health agent in Gray County, has been awarded the Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence – County Agent.
The awards recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions displayed across Texas A&M AgriLife and allow for the opportunity to celebrate those contributions and achievements of faculty, students and staff members.
Gray-Soria and others were honored during a ceremony Jan. 7 on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
Nominators recognized Gray-Soria for her involvement with AgriLife Extension educational programs including the Food Safety, Youth and Health Wellness, and Fragile: Handle with Care Youth Alcohol Program, as well as the countless hours she has spent mentoring new agents.
“Joan is able to recognize an issue and determine quickly the best way the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service can address it, either by developing her own programs or identifying and implementing programming within the agency that best meets the needs of her clientele,” her nomination stated.
Gray-Soria offers two different courses to address food safety issues. The Food Protection Management certification courses were offered more than 15 times from 2013 to 2018 to food service managers in Gray County and the surrounding area. The two-day courses include 15 hours of classroom instruction, in addition to the National ServSafe Certification Exam.
She also teaches a monthly food handlers’ course: “Food Safety: It’s in Your Hands.” Accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services, this two-hour course is a basic overview of food safety practices necessary to ensure safe food is served at food establishments.
Gray-Soria also teaches Winning with Nutrition to the girls’ and boys’ physical education classes at Pampa Junior High School, and more recently, Lefors Junior High and High School. The Winning with Nutrition program emphasized healthy ways to increase and maintain optimal athletic performance and endurance.
“Joan also tackled the growing problem of alcohol abuse by youth in her Fragile: Handle with Care program. The Gray County Youth Board identified alcohol consumption on their high school campuses as a major concern. Students in Lefors and Pampa ISD’s were educated using the curriculum, which was modified from Alcohol and Other Drugs from Health Edco,” the nomination stated.
Serving as a mentor to new family and community health agents in District 1, Gray-Soria effectively trains new agents on how to be successful within AgriLife Extension.
She is a member of both the state and national Association of Extension 4-H Agents and state and national Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Gray-Soria is also a past recipient of the Amarillo Women’s Network Lifetime and Career Achievement Award, the Distinguished Achievement Award from both the Texas and National Associations of Extension 4-H Agents, and the Texas Extension Specialists Association FCS agent award.