President Dean with Olivia Saunders - 2019 PAE Award Recipient
Presidential Award of Excellence, 2019

Fruit & Vegetable Production Field Specialist

As an extension field specialist for UNH Extension, embracing the people, land and businesses of New Hampshire is ingrained in Olivia Saunders’ work.

Since joining Extension in 2012, Olivia has initiated a number of programs and activities that contribute to student experiences, strengthen UNH’s research programs and connect communities and individuals around New Hampshire with their flagship research university.

She’s the champion behind a new internship within Extension’s soil testing program that provides important educational and skill-building experiences for undergraduates. She mentors’ volunteers through the New Hampshire Master Gardener program and the New Hampshire Honeybee Diagnostic Network. She’s been known to spend nights and weekends giving presentations, participating in community events and serving on committees and boards that connect the public with Extension’s services.

As a field specialist focused on food and agriculture, Olivia works closely with the state’s agricultural producers, building personal relationships with Carroll County farmers and helping their operations to thrive. She can often be found sitting at a farmer’s table discussing crop schedules or walking through a grower’s fields identifying pests. Last year alone, Olivia worked with some 500 New Hampshire residents and 50 businesses through workshops and on-farm visits.

A natural researcher, Olivia’s on-farm work extends to exploring solutions to the challenges that face the state’s fruit and vegetable producers. Thanks to her relationships with area growers, she’s able to prioritize work that makes a real difference to local businesses. Her passion for knowledge and scholarly exchange is so great that she recently initiated a peer-to-peer journal club. Through this monthly gathering of colleagues, she fosters robust discussions around cutting-edge research and application of that research to work being done at UNH.

Thank you, Olivia Saunders, for your tireless work on behalf of our state, New Hampshire’s fields and farms, and its current and future generations of farmers and growers.


About This Award

All members of the university community, including leadership, supervisors & managers, peers, colleagues and students may nominate any qualified staff member by completing the Presidential Award of Excellence nomination form online or by requesting a paper application from Human Resources and forwarding it to the Presidential Award of Excellence Peer Review Committee, c/o Human Resources, Nesmith Hall each year by the deadline.