Research into enhancing mealtimes in childcare settings has earned Nebraska’s Dipti Dev an Early Career Achievement Award from a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Presented by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the award was announced March 22 during the Federal Update and Family Life Specialists’ awards webinar.
“To get recognized at the national level definitely feels like what we are doing is worthy,” said Dev, the Betti and Richard Robinson Assistant Professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies and a Nebraska Extension specialist. “I’m absolutely grateful for my colleagues at Nebraska Extension and supportive leadership. Without the collaboration of extension educators, national mentors and peers, this award would not have been possible.”
The award recognized Dev for her collaborative development of the research-based, online Ecological Approach to Family Style dining program. The project is designed to improve the childcare mealtime environment and children’s dietary intake. Her work has secured significant external funding and includes program evaluation that is shaping policy as well as practice.
Dev has also worked to strengthen social media best practices for Extension professionals. That project features a tool kit that is available online.
Dev regularly publishes and presents her work within the state, region and nationally. She was invited by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to be co-chair of the National Early Childhood Learning Collaborative, “How to Better Use Research to Change Policy and Practice.”
Dev is described by her peers as someone whose programs “increase state-wide access” and “address the needs and challenges of providers, families and Extension professionals.”