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NMSU professor, Extension health specialist receives national honor

Sonja Koukel, an associate professor and Extension health specialist at New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, has been recognized nationally for her peer reviews of scholarly journal articles.


Woman with award
Sonja Koukel, an associate professor and Extension health specialist at New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, has been recognized nationally for her peer reviews of scholarly journal articles. She was recently awarded the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences’ 2017 Outstanding Peer Reviewer award for the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences. The journal is a quarterly, peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the AAFCS. (Photo courtesy of Sonja Koukel)

Koukel was honored with the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences’ 2017 Outstanding Peer Reviewer award for the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences. The journal is a quarterly, peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the AAFCS. Koukel was officially recognized at the AAFCS 108th Annual Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, last month.

“I was surprised when I received the call from the AAFCS national office,” Koukel said. “I’ve served as a peer reviewer on a number of professional journals over the past 15 years and never received any recognition for my work. So, I am delighted to receive this award. And, to be the first recipient is truly an honor.”

As one of more than 80 JFCS peer reviewers, Koukel was selected based on her “consistently high-quality reviews on many topics, including food preservation/safety, healthy homes, health/wellness, and aging/elderly,” AAFCS officials said. The award was the first of its kind given by the AAFCS.

Koukel has been at NMSU for seven years.

“Dr. Koukel develops and delivers quality health-related programs to diverse clientele across New Mexico,” said Jon Boren, associate dean of the College of ACES and director of the New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service. “She has risen to become a state and national leader in building bridges between Cooperative Extension in land-grant universities and the health system. In fact, Dr. Koukel served on the national ECOP/ESCOP Health Literacy Action Team. Dr. Koukel is modeling the type of specialist needed in the next century of Cooperative Extension –the kind who will implement the new Framework for Health and Wellness and thus move the U.S. toward better health across the lifespan.”

Based in the Washington, D.C., area, AAFCS is the only association for family and consumer sciences students and professionals across multiple practice settings and content areas. For more than 100 years, AAFCS has focused its mission on providing leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families and communities in making more informed decisions about their well-being, relationships and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. AAFCS members provide research-based knowledge about the topics of everyday life to help create healthy and sustainable families. These topics include human development, personal and family finance, housing and interior design, food science, nutrition and wellness, textiles and apparel, and consumer issues.

AAFCS members are located nationwide, and include educators, administrators and managers, human service and business professionals, researchers, community volunteers and consultants who develop research-based information and deliver programs on essential skills to help individuals and families be better prepared to live, work and succeed in today’s complex and diverse world.