AgriLife welcomes Vance

by Michelle Dillon

Nykole Vance, an East Texas native originally from Tyler, has stepped into the position of Cherokee County’s AgriLife Extension-Family and Community Health agent.

She resides in Bullard with her husband Richard Vance, a prosecutor for Smith County, and their 1-year old son, Riggins.

Vance says she had always desired to do something in the health field such as becoming a nurse or doctor, though she never thought she would find herself in a county Extension office.
“This position used to be geared more towards consumer science and over the past couple of years they’ve really geared it towards health and that’s where the community health comes into place,” Vance stated. “Seeing that they were needing a new agent for this area, and Cherokee County is a fairly poor county, I thought that I could come in with a new, innovative way of delivering health initiatives to the county, to better the poor health outcomes here.”

Vance describes herself as a “huge health advocate.” She has obtained a Master of Science in Health Education from Texas A&M University and is a certified health education specialist and clinical exercise physiologist.

She attributes her drive to help others in the area of health to a time when she worked on a grant project at the University of Tyler.

She, along with others, created resources for farmers, ranchers, commercial shrimpers and forestry workers and delivered them free of charge to the workers on ships or in fields.

“To really see these guys and women working their tails off to put food on the table for their families and they didn’t have the resources of the funds to go to the doctor or see healthy recipes or know how to take a blood pressure and things of that nature. That is really what drove me to want to be a health educator,” Vance explains. “It really is shocking to see how many people don’t have access to those resources.”

Vance intends to continue the programs already begun by her predecessors, such as the Walk Across Texas which begins this month. Among her responsibilities will be providing classes such as Cooking Well with Diabetes and Cooking Well with Hypertension; the Learn, Grow, Eat, Go program, Better Living for Texans and working with 4H clubs.

She will also work with local schools teaching farm to plate type classes. Vance mentioned the office has received funds to replant gardens at Caddo Mounds, a project on which she will work alongside Kim Benton, on Saturday, Jan. 11.

“My goal is to come in and not change what past agents have done but enhance what they have done and put my spin on it,” Vance declared.

It is also her stated desire to place a focus on seniors and help them become more active. After spending the month of December training in Tyler, Vance officially began in her position as a Cherokee County extension agent Thursday, Jan. 2.

She looks forward to meeting people, getting involved with the community and making her mark in helping make Cherokee County the best county in Texas.

Contact Vance through email at or leave a message for her at the Cherokee County AgriLife Extension office, (903) 683-5416.