Welcome and congratulations to Family Development staff
Michael Stratten, SNAP-Ed educator
Michael began working with Extension as a community nutrition educator with EFNEP in 2015, and he is now excited to start his new journey as a SNAP-Ed educator. He works mainly in the African American community to help create healthy behavior changes in community member’s diets and lives. Michael is part of the place-based approach team in Frogtown/Rondo area of St. Paul. On that PBA, he partners with various agencies such as Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, Frogtown Farm, Ujamaa Place of St. Paul and the YWCA of St. Paul, to name a few. He is also part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant which is a collaborative effort with community members, Ober community center, Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, 4-H and Extension Health and Nutrition. The Well-Connected Communities’ initiative empowers youth while continuing to build and connect safe healthy communities in the metro and greater Minnesota area. Michael is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Solomon Trimble, community educator for the American Indian resource and resiliency team
Solomon Trimble is a descendant of the Apache, Pueblo, Creek and Cherokee nations. Solomon has over 5 years of experience working in Indigenous suicide prevention in Oregon and Washington as a youth suicide prevention specialist for the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA). He dedicated his time at NARA supporting tribal implementation of evidence based suicide prevention programs while also running an afterschool youth suicide prevention program for the Urban Indian community of Portland, Oregon. He is the first to graduate in his family with a bachelor's degree, majoring in mathematics, and also holds duel MPH degrees in epidemiology and biological statistics. Solomon is able to provide support for behavioral health community based participatory research and clinical studies for infectious and chronic disease. Trimble is dedicated to the wellbriety of Indian country, “My focus has always been to serve where the need is the greatest. I am committed to suicide prevention and drug treatment and recovery as these issues are in direct response to colonization and oppression of our traditional ways of life. Each Indian community has survived through defying oppression and external influence — there is nothing more important than to support each tribal community as they define their own healing in their own terms.” For the past three years, Trimble has worked as a data analyst for Essentia in Duluth, MN, supporting researchers in rural and national studies for the improvement of patient care. Trimble is also an award winning script writer and cultural consultant committed to ensuring Indigenous people are accurately portrayed in film.
Deon Haider, SNAP-Ed educator
Deon Haider has always loved healthy food and sharing food with others. Her passion for food justice and accessibility work began in college at the U of MN-Morris, where she obtained a degree in environmental studies and theatre arts and worked to improve campus dining offerings. More recently, Deon has been involved with the production part of the food system as a farmer and agricultural educator. In her spare time, Deon is an avid participant in the local improv community.
Aysegul (Aysha) Baltaci, graduate research assistant
Aysegul (Aysha) Baltaci came to the United States from Turkey 10 years ago and is married with two kids.
Last year, Aysegul attended the Food Science and Nutrition Department to pursue a Ph.D. in nutrition. Before joining Extension, she worked as a research assistant in the Padres Preparados Jovenes Saludables (Prepared Parents, Healthy Youth) project which is a program to prevent Latino childhood obesity. Aysegul is planning to start a doctorate minor in epidemiology at School of Public Health.
Aysha received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Istanbul University, Turkey (spring 2008). After moving to the United States, she changed her major from nursing to human nutrition and has a master’s degree in human nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Stout (spring 2018).
Aysha is interested in working in all sorts of community work including health and nutrition promotion, food shelves, family development, and culture related food and nutrition promotion.
In her free time, Aysegul spends time with family and friends, volunteers with the Turkish American Society of Minnesota (TASMN) and Niagara Foundation. She also enjoys watching movies and being outside.
Milka Gamino, SNAP-Ed educator
Milka Gamino started on June 6 and is housed in the Eden Prairie Office. Milka Gamino enjoys working with young people around the metro area! After working with young people in a predominantly Latinx population, Milka understands that food access and tasty healthy food options are crucial to academic and professional success. Most recently, she celebrated the one year anniversary of El Colegio High School’s after school cooking club established with fellow students and staff. Milka’s work experience varies from being a team member at Edible Arrangements to co-teaching English at Colegio Helyos in Feira de Santana, Brazil.
Milka holds a B.S. in youth studies and interdisciplinary design from the University of Minnesota.
Thao Pham, SNAP-Ed educator
Thao Pham started on June 6 and is housed in the Eden Prairie office. Thao is passionate about cooking and developing new recipes by infusing different cultural cuisines. He is motivated to help youth with their development and improving access for families with the understanding and compassion that their community may be marginalized. His experience includes working at Kennedy High School in the English Learner and Special Education programs, partnering with Office of Educational Equity to implement an after school activity center, collaborating with other community focused organizations, including Together Bloomington, and serving as a Guest Chef at Model Citizen in New London, Minnesota. He is a native Bloomington resident and a first generation immigrant from Vietnam.
Selah Michele, SNAP-Ed educator
Selah Michele joined Extension May 6, 2019. Selah is an experienced community organizer, facilitator, youth mentor, and health coach. She brings to Extension a love for community engagement, education, and healthy cooking. A resident of North Minneapolis, Selah will focus much of her SNAP-Ed work in Near North, where she is well known and loved. Selah is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and Normandale Community College, where she studied Human Services/Sociology and Ayurveda Diet & Nutrition respectively. Selah is housed at UROC.