CSU Extension, Extension Agent and County Extension Director, 1971 – 2017
Colorado State University Extension – County Extension Director (Rio Blanco County and Larimer County in Colorado
Colusa County in California (1988-1991)
Laurel Kubin grew up on a farm in Genoa, Colorado, a small rural community in eastern Colorado. During her formative years, Laurel was very involved with her local 4-H club. Through 4-H, she participated in many home economics projects, including clothing and nutrition, as well as the leadership project.
While in high school, Laurel became involved with the Lincoln County 4-H leadership team and was able to attend a 4-H leadership conference at Colorado State University. This experience led Laurel to set her sights on becoming a Ram. As a senior at Genoa High School, Laurel received her acceptance letter to CSU and she became the first person in her family to attend college.
Upon arriving on campus, Laurel elected to study Home Economics. Laurel fondly remembers several instrumental female professors from her time as an undergraduate student. Some memorable professors include Mildred Arnold for Home Economics Demonstrations, Marie Rennels for Child Development, Ann Kylen for Food Science, Jan Else for Clothing and Textiles and Carole Makela for Consumer Economics. She graduated as Outstanding Senior in Home Economics in 1971.
CSU Work History
After graduating in 1971 with her B.S. in Consumer Sciences and Housing from CSU’s College of Home Economics, Laurel accepted a job as a CSU Extension Agent for 4-H and Home Economics in Rio Blanco County, headquartered in Meeker, CO. Laurel always thought a career in extension would be a rewarding challenge, as she had grown up attending extension programming in Lincoln County with her parents.
Laurel excelled at her role as an Extension Agent in Meeker. In fact, less than a year after arriving in Meeker, she was promoted to the position of County Director. As County Director, she became the first female to hold this role in a multiple agent county. Laurel remained in Rio Blanco County for 17 years. During her tenure, she taught local community members courses on food preservation and food safety, financial management, family and community leadership, and stress management. She also managed the local 4-H program, working with youth and adults to develop citizenship, leadership and life skills.
Laurel always found her extension work to be rewarding because she was able to work in her community and directly influence people’s quality of life. Extension Agents are very much “boots on the ground” people. They get to help community members build on what they already know, while supplying them with new research-based information that will help improve their daily situations. Laurel explained, “Extension programs are truly unique because they are backed by land grant university research and knowledge. Extension Agents use their expertise and facilitation skills to address issues that affect local economic, societal and environmental conditions.”
During her 17-year tenure in Meeker, Laurel earned her M.S. degree from Oregon State University. She was also very involved in community development in Rio Blanco County. One of Laurel’s favorite projects was her work on a critical water resource study that assessed all of the available water resources in the county for farmers, ranchers, and community members. She also led the Family Community Leadership program, building women’s leadership skills to impact their families and communities.
In 1988, Laurel briefly left Colorado State University Extension to be the County Extension Director for the University of California system in Colusa County. Laurel held this role for three and a half years before returning to Colorado in 1992 to take on the County Extension Director role for Larimer County.
For 25 years, Laurel was the County Extension Director for Larimer County. As Director, Laurel was highly involved in the development of The Ranch as a location for 4-H and community activities. Another high point for Laurel during her tenure in Larimer County was the development of a financial literacy initiative, bringing numerous community partners together to address this need. She personally taught hundreds of personal finance classes in the local communities, affecting the well-being of thousands of individuals. She and her colleagues sponsored the Rocky Mountain Conference on Aging for several years and she enjoyed providing education as part of Extension’s Gerontology Team. She also provided elected leadership for national organizations including the Joint Council of Extension Professionals during this time span.
After 46 years and a robust career with extension, Laurel retired from her role as County Extension Director for Larimer County in 2017. Laurel retired with a number of accolades and awards, including:
- Educator of The Year Award from the Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education
- Northern Colorado Women of Distinction Award
- CSU Alumni Association award for extension
What is Laurel doing today?
Today, Laurel lives in Windsor, Colorado with her husband, Frank. In retirement, Laurel remains a very active member in her community. She is an Accredited Financial Counselor® and Educator and still provides educational programming in the local communities through Volunteers of America, the Aspen Club, Larimer County Extension, and AARP. She and Frank enjoy spending time with family, travelling, gardening, attending street rod shows, antiquing, and reading. Laurel is heavily involved as a volunteer leader in her church and United Methodist Women. She serves as the lead volunteer for Colorado AARP in the Fort Collins area. True to her chosen profession, she serves as a leader in the Colorado affiliate of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She occasionally works as a judge at county fairs and facilitates group development for a variety of organizations.