Kena Torbert, family life specialist for Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Extension Program, was recently elected to serve as president of the National Coalition for Black Development in Family and Consumer Sciences.
According to the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, FCS is a set of skills, research and knowledge used to help people make informed decisions about their well-being, relationships and resources. Individuals with an FCS degree can pursue a career in a variety of fields such as food and nutrition science, financial planning, Extension education and product development.
Torbert, who is serving a two year term ending in 2016, said her duties as president include encouraging young people to pursue careers in FCS and ensuring FCS professionals are recognized for their research and teaching achievements.
The family life specialist who has worked at FVSU for more than a decade, said she ran for president of the coalition to promote the university’s family and consumer sciences programs. She said she hopes to increase membership enrollment in the national coalition and inform African-Americans and other minority consumer scientists about services provided through the coalition.
“Hopefully during the presidency, I will be able to assist the 1890 land grant community to improve family life for African -Americans by networking with business and other organizations to deliver research based, family focused programs,” Torbert said. She said these programs will focus on parenting, health and nutrition and life skills. In addition, the position will help Torbert connect with many of her peers in the FCS field and allow her to forward information to clients that can be used in everyday life.
The Bronx N.Y. native, who graduated from then Fort Valley State College in 1993, majored in FCS with an emphasis in health and nutrition. “I came to Fort Valley State to pursue my undergraduate degree, specifically seeking a nutrition program at a Historically Black Institution,” Torbert said.
She said Fort Valley’s small community was appealing because she wanted an encouraging learning environment with instructors that would nurture and support her career goals.
Prior to working at FVSU in 2003, Torbert worked for the state of New York’s Women and Infant Child Development Program (WIC) from 1993-95. From 1995-98, the FVSU alumna took a brief hiatus from the working world to pursue a Master of Science degree in food and nutrition at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. In 1999, she returned to Georgia to work in Bibb County for the Georgia Department of Human Resources WIC Program. She then moved on to the Georgia War Veterans home in 2002 before working for the WIC Program in Troup County (2002-03).
The FVSU alumna’s advice to students wishing to pursue a profession in family and consumer sciences is straightforward. “It’s an open field that allows an individual to learn about themselves, their family customs and other cultures family traditions. Most importantly, the knowledge attained in your program should easily be applied to everyday life,” Torbert said.
For more information visit FVSU’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department or call 478.825.6234.