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ANR STAR awards presented to 21 individuals and 11 teams

Eleven UC ANR teams and 21 individual staff members were among the winners of the 2017-18 UC ANR Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards.

STAR awards allow managers to nominate staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, creativity, organizational abilities, work success and teamwork. The nominations were reviewed by a panel, which made recommendations to VP Glenda Humiston. 

Aileen Trujillo
Humiston announced the STAR award winners at a ceremony in Davis on June 6.


Aileen Trujillo, UCCE community educator, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program/Youth Families and Communities Program in Santa Clara County. Upon the retirement of the youth educator, Trujillo volunteered to keep EFNEP's partnership in schools by teaching youth lessons. Her extraordinary leadership skills in both the Adult and Youth EFNEP Programs resulted in high-quality nutrition education programs being delivered in Santa Clara County.

Amber Shrum
Amber Shrum, Hopland Research and Extension Center administrative assistant. She rose to the challenge of working with two business offices with little direct support, has worked to increase efficiencies in all areas, and works effectively and with great courtesy to every HREC team member. 

Amy Weurdig, EFNEP community educator, UCCE Inyo and Mono counties. Weurdig's exceptional management skills have enabled her to get the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program up and going in a very short time in Inyo and Mono counties. She is currently involved with creating a better way to provide food allergy risk management for youth.

Betty Rojas
Beatriz Rojas, UC CalFresh/YFC community educator, UCCE Kern County. She was key in implementing walking groups and stencil projects – both important environmental changes that help provide comprehensive nutrition and physical activity programming in the community.

Claudia Carlos, UC CalFresh/YFC community educator, UCCE Riverside County. In the past four years, she successfully implemented the Shaping Healthy Choices Program in two middle schools. Her work has shown a huge impact in the Alvord Unified school district by helping 11 schools win national awards from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program, including one school that received the Gold Award twice.

Anna Martin, Nutrition Policy Institute policy analyst. She has done an extraordinary job managing a SNAP-Ed evaluation team. It is a large operation, with staff in Berkeley and Sacramento and with responsibilities in virtually every county in California. She assumed leadership of staff, established clear protocols, processes, and strong communications channels, and built a robust and productive team.

Danielle Lee, Nutrition Policy Institute policy analyst. Lee, who is proactive, has helped create common systems to improve tracking and coordination of NPI's many research projects, helped to create an onboarding protocol for new employees including the first NPI employee manual, leads the IRB team in developing human subject protocols, and has conducted several staff trainings. She also organizes the NPI seminar series featuring guest speakers up to three times per month.

Susan Lafferty
Denise Cuendett, UC CalFresh and YFC community educator, UCCE Kings County. Cuendett is proactive and always looks for ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the program. She is passionate about educating her community and schools about healthy eating and overall wellbeing.

Susan Lafferty, UC CalFresh Community Educator UCCE Kings County. She knows her county very well and recognizes its challenges and strengths. She is dedicated to meeting the needs of the people she serves. She is also an excellent teacher and has created lesson activities, games, displays, lesson visuals, and so much more to enhance lesson delivery in the classroom.

Evelyn Morales, UC CalFresh/YFC community educator, UCCE Fresno and Madera counties. She manages several projects such as Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, the Fresno State Dietetic Intern rotation, planning and organizing healthy food tastings, all while serving a large rural school. Morales was asked to join FreshGrub, a Fresno County Farm to School project, which was outside her normal scope of work. The success of this tasting event was highlighted by the local news media and is considered a best practice model for other school districts to procure food from local farmers and offer it to students in their school meals.

Heidi von Geldern accepts her award from VP Humiston.
Heidi von Geldern, Contracts & Grants analyst. For the UC Systemwide Export Control Assessment Project, von Geldern was instrumental in providing leadership. She researched and reviewed ANR's export control policies and procedures, managed the assessment requirement from beginning to end, and ensured that ANR is in compliance.

Vanity Campbell
Vanity Campbell, Contracts and Grants proposal development coordinator. Campbell assists principal investigators with ANR's large, interdisciplinary, multi-collaborator proposals, providing complete project management through the lengthy proposal phase. "The Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (the VINE): A California statewide network for food, agriculture and natural resources technology," proposal was fully funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce for $500,000.

Janessa Hartmann, UC CalFresh and YFC community educator, UCCE Shasta and Trinity counties. Directly supervising nine employees working out of three county offices, she has done a tremendous job ensuring the UC CalFresh program is efficiently implemented in Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties. 

Marcie Valenzuela and Humiston.
LeChé McGill, business consultant, Academic Human Resources. This year, McGill volunteered to serve as a junior delegate of the Council of UC Staff Assemblies. She advises ANR senior leadership of issues that are deemed most important to staff – including performance management, change management, and wellness – and is an active participant on systemwide workgroups for staff initiatives. She visited UCCE county offices throughout the state, giving UCCE staff an opportunity to discuss recruitment, hiring and retention issues for academic employees.

Marcie Valenzuela, assistant, Business Operations Center in Davis. In her capacity as the area telecommunications representative, Valenzuela has been able to adapt and resolve complicated and time-sensitive situations, including replacing lost or damaged cellphones.

Judy McClure and Humiston.
Judy McClure, Master Gardener coordinator, Sacramento County. In her 20 years as program coordinator, McClure has grown the number of volunteers to 230, including 30 graduates in 2018. Last year UCCE Sacramento County reached an all-time high of 17,000 volunteer hours. McClure also served on the California Master Gardener Program Advisory Committee, and she helped plan the 2017 Statewide Master Gardener Conference, for which she was also the Market Place coordinator for sales.

Mary Ciricillo
Mary Ciricillo, Development Services director of annual giving and individual gifts contributions. Ciricillo is fearless when it comes to identifying creative solutions to her work. She is also diplomatic and deferential, believing that collaboration and partnership are essential to fundraising success. As a result, she exceeded her goals for FY17/18.

Scott Leaf and Humiston
Scott Leaf, business analyst for UC Path. Leaf has been a key asset in the UC Path project, effectively communicating and speeding up the processes with his immense knowledge on the desired state of the modules of ANR. He has an outstanding work ethic in terms of ensuring that the requirements from both the ANR and Central UC Path project teams are met.

Stephanie Barret
Stephanie Barret, 4-H community educator, UCCE Riverside and San Bernardino counties. This year Barret expanded the 4-H presence with 4-H classroom enrichment and special interest programs. She made significant contributions to integrate UC ANR 4-H Latino Initiative efforts to local 4-H community club programs by encouraging and helping our newest 4-H members to participate in Presentation Day, mentoring new leaders and also advising Latino Initiative program representatives in 4-H policy and procedures.

Yolva Gil
Yolva Gil, 4-H community educator, UCCE Riverside County. Her productivity and organizational abilities led to a 136 percent growth in Latino participation in the Riverside 4-H program for FY 16/17. Beyond numbers, Gil's work has allowed the 4-H program to build trust and familiarity with Latino communities.

Sueanne Johnson and Humiston.
Sueanne Johnson, Communication Services and Information Technology administrative assistant. To support the financial and administrative functions of the five units within CSIT, she stepped up to assume duties left by the departing manager. On her own initiative, she assumed the duties for the Web recharge, calibrating the time keeping system and updating the entries to reflect the newly approved rates. She has also assumed a larger role in purchasing, travel reimbursement and book sales as ANR transitions from the Richmond warehouse to a publication distribution center in Southern California. 



Butte Cluster Nutrition: Jona Pressman, Shyra Murrey, Sonia Rodriguez, Humiston, Alexandra Faulk, Melissa Vang and Rita Palmer.

Butte Cluster Nutrition: Jona Pressman, Suzie Lawry-Hall, Shyra Murrey, Chelsey Slattery, Sonia Rodriguez, Tracy Yang, Gail Bertagna, Alexandra Faulk, Jamie Chapman, Socorro Gutierrez, Melissa Vang, Rita Palmer, Karina Hathorn and Samantha Macomber

This team significantly contributed to UC ANR's Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative through the coordination and implementation of the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties. 

4H eLearning: Dawn Fuller, David Alamillo, Russell Hill, JoLynn Miller, Claudia Diaz, Lupita Fabregas, Whitney Bell, Scott Mautte, Gemma Miner, Esther Rodriguez, Darlene Ruiz, Shannon Horrillo, Jose Campos, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Brian Oatman and Julie Frazell

This team of county-based and state 4-H staff and advisors and staff from Environmental Health & Safety developed standardized trainings for volunteers. 4-H launched a new series of e-learning courses for new and returning volunteers in July 2017. Importantly, one of the courses in the series, “Interculturally Connected 4-H,” fulfilled a federal requirement for UC 4-H to offer a cultural awareness training to all 4-H adult volunteers. Approximately 8,000 adult volunteers have taken the courses and increased their skills as adult role models for 110,000 youths.

UC CalFresh Alameda: Leticia Christian, Morgan Cooper, Max Fairbee and Yolanda Silva

Alameda County UC CalFresh: Leticia Christian, Morgan Cooper, Max Fairbee and Yolanda Silva

The educators have helped thousands of high-risk Alameda County residents, from preschoolers to seniors, learn about the importance of eating healthy and being active. 

4-H Latino Initiative: Yolva Gil, UCCE Riverside; Jose Campos, UCCE Merced;Esther Rodriguez, UCCE Kern; Araceli Hernandez, UCCE Orange; Diego Mariscal, UCCE Sonoma;Darlene Ruiz, UCCE Monterey; Andrea Borunda, UCCE Santa Barbara; and Janelle Hansen, UCCE Santa Barbara

This team, along with 4-H advisors and Lupita Fabregas, began introducing 4-H to California's Latino Youth.  Their effort and impacts have been recognized by state and local officials, UC administration, volunteers and institutions. They have also been acknowledged at the national level by USDA-NIFA and 4-H Council for becoming the largest and most effective Latino initiative in 4-H in the United States.

Parking Lot: Michael Zwahlen, Rhett Woerly and Jeff Couture

ANR Davis Parking Lot: Michael Zwahlen, Rhett Woerly and Jeff Couture

The exceptional work of the Parking Lot Project Team provided not only a timely completion but also an additional 92 parking spaces, along with an additional storage unit. This project was done on an accelerated schedule with parking available three months after starting construction. The team saved over $42,000 by successful negotiation and donations. They did an outstanding job coordinating with the City of Davis, PG&E, the design engineer, the contractor and the users of the lot.

Humiston with PSU's Kellie McFarland, Saundra Wais and Rachel Palmer.

Program Support Unit: Sherry Cooper, Saundra Wais, Lauren McNees, Kellie McFarland and Rachel Palmer

“The PSU team is highly responsive and goes above and beyond to make sure that ANR is successful,” said Humiston. “They performed exceptionally in organizing the 2018 Statewide Conference as well as managing regional meetings and other events in the past year for both internal and external clients. Their dedication, creativity, organizational abilities, and teamwork, have given ANR the ability to share with its strategic partners and internally many opportunities to see and hear what staff and academics across UC ANR are doing and as well as share their own work during a wide array of events and workshops. Through the development of meeting agendas, facilitation, recording, logistics to working with the leaders of the Strategic Initiatives to plan, coordinate and conduct meetings, the Program Support Unit are solution-focused and add tremendous value.”

Humiston and Deb Driskill of the REC Rate & Recharge team.

REC Rate & Recharge: Deb Driskill and Han Pham

In 2017, ANR Leadership asked the Research and Extension Center System to develop a five-year financial plan to reduce reliance on central funds, provide funding for maintenance and repair of centers and to re-invest in the RECs. As part of this plan, a methodology to increase cost recovery from research and extension activities was developed. Pham developed new rate paperwork tool, then he and Driskill worked with each center's leadership to determine the true costs of research, operations and crops sold for income. In addition to the intended purpose, the tool provides center management the ability to understand, budget, account for and plan the most effective and efficient way to use their resources. The updated rate paperwork tool can be used for all areas of REC operations including facilities, residents, laboratories and outreach, and is now being used by all ANR departments that are recharging for services.

ANR Staff Assembly: Christina Adamson, Nikolai Schweitzer, Humiston, Karina Macias and Matt Baur.

ANR Staff Assembly: Nikolai Schweitzer, LeChé McGill, Jeannette Warnert, Lori Renstrom, Matt Baur, Christina Adamson and Karina Macias

Working voluntarily during lunch, before and after work hours, the Staff Assembly Council provides exceptional service beyond their normal job duties for the betterment of all ANR staff. They formed Staff Assembly Ambassadors, composed of representatives from almost all ANR offices who serve as liaisons between Staff Assembly Council and local ANR staff. In addition to sharing personal and professional development opportunities, staff can share concerns and issues with Staff Assembly.

Compensation/Payroll: Soo Hsieh, Ann Pohl, Humiston, Patricia Glass, Jennifer Crouch,

Compensation/Payroll: Jennifer Crouch, Patricia Glass, Ann Pohl, Joyce Hatanaka, Cindy Inouye, William Moua, Linda Doi and Soo Hsieh 

UCOP Reorganization Proposal: Jennifer Bunge, Yuhang Shi, Sonia Scott, Jing Yu, Monica Stuart, Kathryn Stein, Jake McGuire, Robin Sanchez, Anne Megaro

Sonia Scott

In January 2018, UC Office of President initiated conversation for reorganization of UC headquarters. In examining the relationship between UC headquarters, UC campuses and the UC mission, The Huron Consulting Group made recommendations that would, if implemented, make extensive structural changes to ANR and impair the ability to deliver our public service mission.

At the request of the UC president, the UCOP Reorganization Team produced an alternate proposal in less than three weeks, in spite of the amount of legal and organizational research, reviews of past audits, and consideration of every aspect of our organization required. The proposal requires regental approval, but it is sufficiently compelling that it is a center piece of the material to be used by the President's Advisory Committee, which will advise the president on the future state of ANR.

Yolo County UC CalFresh: Angela Asch, Mayra Diaz, Ruth Chun Reyes, Christie Hedrick, Lisa Gonzales and Delynda Elridge

Yolo County UC CalFresh: Angela Asch, Lisa Gonzales, Ruth Chun Reyes, Mayra Diaz, Delynda Elridge, Christie Hedrick

The Yolo County UC CalFresh team created the integrated Yolo County 4-H and UC CalFresh Cooking Academy to bring the best youth development principles of 4-H and the best nutrition skill building resources of UC CalFresh to children in 4th and 5th grades throughout the community. They worked to help other counties to do the same, serving as mentors, developing additional materials, and evaluating the program.








Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 5:14 PM

Berkeley Forests combines forest and fire research

Berkeley Forests is the new home of the Center for Forestry and Center for Fire Research and Outreach.
The Center for Forestry and Center for Fire Research and Outreach are merging to become Berkeley Forests!

As we all know, forests and fire are inextricably linked in California. Historically, both centers have carried out research, outreach, and education on human interactions with California ecosystems. Combining the centers under one roof will facilitate the work of our co-directors -- UC Berkeley professor Scott Stephens, and UC Cooperative Extension specialist William Stewart, both in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management -- our Berkeley Forests staff, and management of our new research forest, Grouse Ridge.

To this end, we are proud to release our new website at The new website features easy-to-access information about our forests, fire resources, information on current research, our long-term datasets for our forests and more.

With these changes, we will also be hiring a new policy analyst (located at the Berkeley campus). We seek someone with experience in and knowledge of forests, fire, grant writing, social media, website work, and GIS/data analysis. An official position will be released shortly on the Berkeley jobs website, but please make sure to follow us on social media or email one of our co-directors so you don't miss it!

We're also merging all our social media pages! The Center for Forestry and Center for Fire Research and Outreach Facebook pages will be closed and transition to the Blodgett Forest Research Station page to become Blodgett Research Station at Berkeley Forests. Please like us at our new home if you have not done so already! 

On Twitter, the @ucforestcenter page will be closed, and the @ucfirecenter page will become @berkeleyforests. If you are only following @ucforestcenter, please make sure to change your follow to @berkeleyforests!

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Berkeley Forests' co-directors at or

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 11:01 AM
  • Author: Susie Kocher
Focus Area Tags: Natural Resources

Forty UCCE position proposals submitted as process enters phase 2

The 2018 UC Cooperative Extension call for positions process has entered phase 2. The UCCE county directors and REC directors have submitted 20 CE advisor position proposals and the executive associate deans, working with campus departments, have submitted 20 CE specialist position proposals. Both groups engaged program teams, statewide programs/institutes, and external stakeholders in the development of these proposals. All 40 phase 1 proposals are posted on the 2018 Call for Position web page:

Phase 2 is underway:

  • Program teams are reviewing the 40 phase 1 proposals to determine if there are any positions they feel are of higher priority.
  • If so, each program team can propose one additional CE advisor position and one additional CE specialist position by August 1-- remembering that the more proposals there are at the end, the lower the probability of being approved for recruitment.
  • The proposals that didn't make the phase 1 final 40 can be picked up by Program Teams. Proposed positions available for pick up can be found on the proposal ideas web page.

“We thank the ANR network for actively engaging in this participatory process to strengthen and rebuild CE positions statewide,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president.

Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 8:58 AM

Lagrimini aims to invest in ANR for the future

Mark Lagrimini is based in Davis, but will be traveling throughout the state to ANR locations.

Mark Lagrimini, UC ANR's new vice provost of research and extension, moved into his office at 2801 Second Street in Davis on June 1.

As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, Lagrimini will oversee county-based Cooperative Extension personnel and employees at the nine UC Research and Extension Centers. His hiring was announced via ANR Update Feb. 21.

“State funding for public universities has been decreasing all across the county, including California. If UC ANR wishes to stay relevant, and continue to be a resource for Californians, then we will have to seek untapped sources of income. I will help our centers and county offices to become more entrepreneurial, and operate more as a business,” said Lagrimini, who was a professor in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before joining ANR.

Lagrimini noted that ANR needs to recognize the true value for its services, and charge appropriately. Additional revenue-generating possibilities include the marketing of crops and livestock, creative uses for our facilities, and more aggressive philanthropy efforts.  

He is looking forward to traveling the state to familiarize himself with ANR people and facilities.

“I need to meet people face to face,” he said. “I need to see all the research and extension facilities and county extension offices and meet the directors and ANR team members. Each location is unique, and will require differing approaches to achieve financial stability.”

Broadly, ANR will work with grant writers at UC Office of the President as an effort to successfully obtain federal funding to support our programs.

“We must continuously make investments, even in periods of budget-cutting,” said Lagrimini, a former project leader for Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. in Research Triangle Park, NC. “We'll have to make strategic investments to stay relevant in the future. Capital investment in infrastructure will make our research facilities attractive to collaborators and position ourselves for the next 50 years. If we just tread water, we won't be able to help Californians reach their potential. We need to be on the cutting edge to be a leader.”

Lagrimini encourages invitations to events that will give him perspective on California agriculture and ANR's activities.

“We have people who are energetic, creative and passionate about what they're doing and we need to provide support for them,” he said.

Lagrimini can be reached at (530) 750-1369 in the office, cell (402) 304-0400

To read more about Lagrimini's background, see


Posted on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 5:56 PM
Tags: Mark Lagrimini (2), May 2018 (14)

Names in the News

Ciricillo named California 4-H Foundation director

Mary Ciricillo

Mary Ciricillo, director of annual giving and individual gifts in ANR's Development Services, has accepted the position of California 4-H Foundation director. 

“Amongst a very talented and competitive pool of candidates, Mary's history of success in board development and donor cultivation made her the standout candidate for the position,” said Lorna Krkich, executive director of Development Services. “Her passion for and experience with the 4-H program was an added bonus! The California 4-H Foundation, while part of the UC ANR Development Services Unit, has a volunteer Board of Directors and is dedicated to raising funds for 4-H activities in California.” 

As annual giving director, Ciricillo has had a major impact: Giving Tuesday donations for UC ANR increased in 2017 by 49 percent over 2016, and general online gifts, not associated with Giving Tuesday have increased by almost 14 percent over the prior year.  

Ciricillo joined UC ANR in 2016 from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, where she built new relationships and expanded existing partnerships, creating new revenue streams for the department. Prior to her career in not-for-profit development, she worked in the communications industry as an account executive building corporate branding and marketing solutions. Her clients included The Gap, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, San Francisco Ballet and Oracle. 

Ciricillo will transition into her new role, which becomes effective July 1, and will continue to be based in the ANR building at 2801 Second Street in Davis. Her contact information will remain (530) 750-1302 and

Cutler and Harrison elected to NAS

Sean Cutler

Sean Cutler, UC Riverside professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, and Susan P. Harrison, UC Davis professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, are among the 84 new members of the National Academy of Sciences announced May 1.

Cutler is known for pioneering the use of chemistry and genetics to define genes and manipulate the resiliency of plants to drought. His work to characterize the abscisic acid receptor could lead to the development of new tools to improve a crop's drought tolerance.

Susan Harrison
As an ecologist, Harrison studies the processes that shape and maintain plant species diversity at the landscape scale. Much of her recent work has focused on how climatic drying is affecting the biological diversity of California grassland communities.

NAS has 2,382 active members and 484 foreign associates.

NAS is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community.

Posted on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 4:31 PM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Agriculture

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