Courtenay Simmons is Extension's new food safety specialist in Rockingham County.
Simmons joined the UNH Cooperative Extension team in early October. She will work with the Food Safety area of expertise team to develop and deliver programing to all the stakeholders in the New Hampshire food system, including farms, processors, restaurants and consumers.
"I am eager to join Extension and work with the Food Safety team members," says Simmons. "I look forward to transmitting science-based guidance to a range of clients and firms in Rockingham County and throughout the state."
Simmons is a 2016 graduate of Cornell University with a doctorate degree in food science and technology and a major concentration in food microbiology. Recently, as an intern with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in the Office of Food Safety, she worked with colleagues to translate technical research into educational resources and to develop science-based recommendations for school food service operators. She also has experience working with a variety of audiences, including food retailers and middle school students.
Simmons' experiences with USDA taught her "that everyone has a role in the food safety field to prevent foodborne illness and pathogen transmission." UNH Cooperative Extension food safety team members say Simmons' passion for food safety education for all audiences, as well as her ideas for using new and exciting teaching methods, will be an asset for their team and Extension as a whole.
Simmons is a FSMA Preventive Controls Qualified Individual and an HACPP trainer. Her expertise and credentials will meet the food safety training needs of farms and food businesses across New Hampshire. Her training and one-on-one assistance will help businesses develop and implement effective food safety plans.
In addition to expertise in food safety, Simmons brings with her a diversity of experiences in community service and engagement. She was a long-time mentor with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, an organizer of cultural diversity awareness events for USDA programs, and a leader in the Cornell Graduate School's Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement.