With increased funding from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources is continuing to hire scientists and staff to better serve California communities. The most recent people hired for UC Cooperative Extension bring expertise in wildfire, orchard crops, grapes, small-scale farms and youth development.
Barb Satink Wolfson began in her role as UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties on June 30.
Her primary responsibilities include wildland fire-related research and outreach for the Central Coast region, while building trust, strong partnerships and collaborative relationships within both professional and non-professional communities.
Satink Wolfson earned her B.S. and M.S. in forestry from Northern Arizona University, and brings to UC ANR more than 20 years of fire-research and outreach experience in Arizona. Her favorite job, though, was working as a backcountry ranger in Yosemite National Park during her undergraduate years.
In her new role, Satink Wolfson hopes to address some of the questions behind the use of prescribed fire in a variety of ecosystems (such as coastal prairies and oak woodlands), and help all Central Coast communities build resilience to wildland fire so residents can live safely within fire-adapted landscapes.
Satink Wolfson, who will be based at the UCCE office in Hollister starting Aug. 1, can be reached at email@example.com.
Cameron Zuber has been named UC Cooperative Extension orchard crops advisor for Merced and Madera counties as of June 6. For Merced County, he will cover orchard crops such as stone fruit, walnuts and almonds, not including pistachios and figs. For Madera County, he will work with walnuts.
Zuber joined UC Cooperative Extension in 2016 as a staff researcher in Merced County. In his education and professional career, he has worked in understanding environmental and agricultural systems and their interactions with people, society and governance. Specifically with orchard crops, he has worked on fumigants and other soil pest controls, rootstocks and scion varietals, cultural practices relating to tree spacing and whole orchard recycling. He has also studied flood irrigation for groundwater recharge, irrigation and water management and soil, water and air interactions.
He earned his bachelor's degree in environmental biology and management from UC Davis and a master's degree in environmental systems from UC Merced.
Zuber is based in the UC Cooperative Extension office located at 2145 Wardrobe Ave, Merced, CA 95348 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (209) 385-7403.
Joy Hollingsworth began working as the new UCCE table grape advisor serving Tulare and Kings counties on May 16.
Prior to becoming a table grape advisor, Hollingsworth served for three years as the UCCE nutrient management/soil quality advisor for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. In that position she worked on research and extension projects in a variety of agricultural systems, including work on dairy manure, cover crops and biostimulants in raisin grapes.
Previously, Hollingsworth spent six years working as a research associate for the University of California on agronomic cropping systems, including sugar beets, canola and sorghum.
She earned a master's degree in plant science from California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree in communication from UC Davis.
Luca Carmignani joined UCCE as a fire advisor for Orange and Los Angeles counties May 2. His research interests include image analysis, computer programming and scientific outreach.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Carmignani was a postdoctoral researcher in the Berkeley Fire Research Lab at UC Berkeley. His research has focused on fire and combustion applications, from wildland fires to material flammability.
He earned his Ph.D. in engineering sciences from the joint doctoral program between UC San Diego and San Diego State University after obtaining his bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Pisa in Italy.
Kirsten Pearsons joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as a small farm advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. She is developing research and extension programs focused on integrating soil health practices and pest management strategies for small-scale farmers and specialty crops.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Pearsons was a postdoctoral researcher at the nonprofit Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where she focused on studying and promoting organic and regenerative agriculture. She worked on Rodale's long-term Farming Systems Trial, studying how organic and reduced-till field crop production affects long-term farm economics, soil health and water quality compared to conventional practices.
She earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in environmental toxicology at UC Davis.
Pearsons is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at email@example.com and (805) 788-9486. She will be posting event information and resources for small-scale farms in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on Instagram @ucceslosmallfarms.
Ricky Satomi joined UCCE Sutter-Yuba on March 15 as an area forestry and natural resources advisor in the Western Sierra Region (Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Nevada and Placer counties). He specializes in forest management with a focus on new technologies and wood products.
Prior to moving to UCCE Sutter-Yuba, Satomi served as a UCCE area forest advisor working on forestry and youth education issues for Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.
Satomi earned a Master of Forestry looking at the cost efficiency of forest mastication treatments, and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment, both from UC Berkeley. He has also worked as a field forester working on various inventory and timber management programs throughout California.
In the coming year, he hopes to offer workshops for forest landowners and professionals around novel GIS tools, climate-smart silvicultural practices, reforestation best practices, and workforce development opportunities.
Satomi is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-6213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erika Armstrong has joined the UCCE Central Sierra team as 4-H Program Representative for Tuolumne County.
Armstrong, who has spent her career working with nonprofit agencies and managing volunteer programs, worked with United Way Monterey County and the Alliance on Aging. She also was a campaign manager for a candidate for the Board of Supervisors of Monterey County. Her most recent job was stay-at-home mother for her daughters.
She holds a bachelor's degree in collaborative health and human communication from California State University Monterey Bay.
Armstrong is based at the Tuolumne office and can be reached at (209) 533-6990 and email@example.com.