Our Team

For media and PR inquiries, email Allison Vitt | Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications

For data and market research inquiries, email Martha Thomas | Data Coordinator

For fundraising inquiries, visit our Giving page or email Ali Eccleston | Managing Director of Development 

For community development, contact Patti Schmitt | Director, Community Development 

CSU Office of Engagement & Extension Leadership

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Kathay Rennels | Interim Vice President for Engagement and Extension

Kathay Rennels works to advance collaborative networks across the state and create economic development opportunities. She has significant experience fostering public and private partnerships in regional and rural workforce development across the state. Rennels previously served three terms as a Larimer County Commissioner and is co-leader of the Food and Agriculture Key Industry Network for the State of Colorado. She has served as special advisor to the Chancellor of the CSU System on rural-urban issues since 2019. She was named interim vice president for engagement and Extension in July 2022.

Rennels helped initiate “The Value Chain of Colorado Agriculture” project, released in March 2013, co-authored the November 2014 follow-up study, “The Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agricultural Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range”, and planned and implemented the recent “Advancing the Agriculture Economy Through Innovation” summit held at CSU. Rennels has served on the Northern Colorado Economic Development Council, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, El Pomar Foundation, The Matthews House, Larimer County United Way, and Colorado Youth Conservation Association.

Lindsey Shirley | Associate Vice President for Engagement and Extension and Deputy Director for CSU Extension

Lindsey Shirley, Ph.D. serves as Associate Vice President of Engagement & Extension and Deputy Director of CSU Extension at Colorado State University. Whether in Wichita, Kansas, or Rome, Italy, she has shared innovations in teaching and learning implemented into secondary, post-secondary, and Extension learning environments worldwide.

As a professor, Lindsey found herself exploring innovative strategies for the land grant university and higher education to respond to the growing outdoor recreation economy. This investigation led her to develop the first-of-its-kind Bachelor of Science degree in Outdoor Product Design and Development at Utah State University. Today, Lindsey’s focus is on the intersection of the needs of Coloradans and the programs convened by CSU Extension and the Office of Engagement and Extension. In 2021, the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship recognized her work with communities by inducting her into the Academy.

Before coming to CSU, Lindsey served as Associate Vice Provost for Extension and Engagement and Associate Director of the Extension Service at Oregon State University. During her time at OSU, she worked closely with the governor’s office to affect change on a statewide level that has been critical and transformational in fulfilling the First Gentleman of Oregon Dan Little and Governor Kate Brown’s mission to improve the mental and physical health of Oregonians.

Read the full announcement of Shirley’s appointment with CSU.

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John Tracy | Director, Colorado Water Center

John Tracy serves as the director of the Colorado Water Center, joining the Center in July 2022 from Texas A&M where he served as director of the Texas Water Resources Institute.

Tracy has spent most of his career at land-grant institutions, addressing water, land and environmental resources management issues, working with a diverse range of agencies and stakeholders. He has served in leadership positions at water institutes in Texas, Idaho, and Nevada, as well as on the boards of the American Water Resources Association and the National Institutes for Water Resources.

His approach to engagement starts with research questions and activities co-created with communities and agencies to understand concerns and knowledge gaps. In his work with students, he believes the most significant outcomes result when students are prepared to address the highest priorities that society is facing.

Tracy holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and MS in Civil Engineering, both from the Univ. of California at Davis, and a BS in Civil Engineering from CSU.

Read the full announcement of Tracy’s appointment at the Colorado Water Center.

Field Contacts

Contact Your Local Extension Office 

With offices serving every county in Colorado, CSU Extension is local wherever you are. Get in contact with your local Extension office today.