Wendy Powers, associate vice president, announced the 2018 winners of the biennial Distinguished Service Awards on April 11 at the UC ANR Statewide Conference in Ontario.
Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. Awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics.
Awards were given for outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader. Winners for each category are listed below.
Outstanding Research - Youth Retention Study Team
The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50 percent) of first year 4-H members. The team looked at re-enrollment trends over a seven-year period to understand the phenomena of why youth leave the 4-H program. While the focus of the study was on California, the team has engaged multiple states in this effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training. Two of the factors they found reducing retention were a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience.
The Youth Retention Study Team includes
- JoLynn Miller, CE Advisor - UCCE Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership
- Kendra Lewis, Academic Coordinator - UC ANR Statewide 4-H Program
- Marianne Bird, CE Advisor - UCCE Capital Corridor MCP
- John Borba, CE Advisor - UCCE Kern
- Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, CE Advisor - UCCE Riverside and San Bernardino
- Dorina Espinoza, CE Advisor - UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte
- Russell Hill, CE Advisor - UCCE Merced, Mariposa and Madera
- Car Mun Kok, CE Advisor - UCCE Lake and Mendocino
- Sue Manglallan, CE Advisor - UCCE San Diego
- Kali Trzesniewski, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development
Outstanding Extension - David Haviland
David Haviland has been the UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor in Kern County and affiliated IPM advisor with the UC IPM Program since 2002. He has developed an exemplary extension program to address the needs of clientele and support continued productivity in the third largest agricultural output county in the nation. Haviland's extension program is based on continuous needs assessment, applied local research to solve problems, collaboration with multiple partners, and extension programming focused on grower and pest control adviser adoption of improved pest management practices. Haviland uses his research outputs to drive his prodigious extension program. This includes 430 presentations to more than 32,000 people, primarily to farmers and pest control advisers. Haviland has developed a national and international reputation through publishing the results of his research in peer-reviewed scientific publications, and by giving national and international presentations.
Outstanding New Academic - Katherine Soule
Katherine Soule has been the youth, families and communities advisor since 2013 and director of Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties since 2017. Soule has guided programming to increase diversity and reach of the 4-H Youth Development Program. She has more than doubled overall youth participation to more than 16,000 youth in the two counties and increased Latino youth participation by almost 500 percent in less than 4 years. In addition, Soule has built a multicultural, bilingual UC CalFresh staff that focuses on developing sustained engagement with partnering school districts, administrators, teachers, families and other community-based organizations. In the previous two years, the UC CalFresh staff provided nutrition education to more than 17,000 youth; more than 8,500 families and community members attended community events where they received nutrition education; led peer educators in the participation of 4,700 hours of programming and engaged more than 6,600 students in nutrition and physical activities education. The Statewide 4-H Director said, “Despite the large assignment, she has provided incredible leadership in both program areas in both counties.” In partnership with 4-H volunteers and the California 4-H Foundation, she has raised $300,000 annually from grants and gifts to support and advance 4-H programming in Santa Barbara County. This youth, families and communities program also serves as the model for program integration and growth.
Outstanding Leader - Cheryl Wilen
Cheryl Wilen is the area integrated pest management advisor for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Throughout her 23-year career, Wilen's work has represented outstanding leadership through a continual focus on positive changes. Wilen has been an effective leader in the Statewide IPM Program, ANR and the western region. In this role, she has provided significant input on CE advisor performance and advancement evaluations, represented IPM advisors to UC IPM leadership, and coordinated the annual extension planning meeting for IPM advisors and affiliated advisors. In addition to significant leadership in UC IPM, Wilen was the ANR Strategic Initiative Leader for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases from 2014 to 2017. She led development of the strategic initiative goals and worked with Program Teams and Workgroups to address these goals. Wilen's leadership style is a direct reflection of her approach to research and extension. If she identifies an important unmet need, then she seeks to address it. Similarly, when she identifies a leadership need that she is capable of meeting, she steps up to help the organization move forward. Her leadership is consistently pragmatic and focused on results.
Outstanding Team - Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team
This team of CE specialists and CE advisors has provided outstanding service to California's dairy farmers as a partner in the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) through applied research, development of monitoring methods and tools, and implementation of educational programs to help dairy farmers comply with state water-quality law. The team developed the educational component of the “Environmental Stewardship Short Course,” delivering 377 short course workshops (750 classroom hours) throughout the state to date. They developed tools for producers including a lab manual for manure analysis, an e-learning module for sampling methods and an on-line decision support tool. These extension products were based on a prodigious research record including 15 peer-reviewed papers. The Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team is an excellent example of UC ANR academics working together and with government and industry partners under the Sustainable Natural Environment Strategic Initiative. As a result of the team's work, the industry quickly reached a 95 percent compliance rate with water quality reporting requirements.
Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team includes
- Deanne Meyer, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development
- Betsy Karle, CE Advisor and UCCE Director– UCCE Glenn
- Jennifer Heguy, CE Advisor – UCCE Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced
- David Lewis, CE Advisor and UCCE Director – UCCE Marin and Napa
- Jeffery Stackhouse, CE Advisor – UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte
Cathryn “Katie” Johnson joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2018, as an area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership serving El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. The long-time resident of the Sierra foothills is passionate about developing an integrated approach to fighting chronic disease and improving community nutrition in the region.
Prior to joining UCCE, Johnson had been a health educator for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, Public Health Division, since January 2017. There, she worked on policy, systems and environmental change strategies, program planning and local evaluation for the SNAP-Ed/NEOP (Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention) program, and served as the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) regional breastfeeding liaison.
From 2015 to 2016, Johnson held the positions of communication evaluation and development consultant and staff research assistant at the UC Merced Communication, Culture and Health Research Lab. At UC Merced, she contributed to strategic communications and formative evaluation for the CDC-funded PICH (Partnerships to Improve Community Health) project and coordinated community-engaged research on Merced residents' perceptions of health and safety. Previously, Johnson helped to manage small farms in Northern California and New Mexico, growing fruits and vegetables for sale at local markets. Johnson is also an international board-certified lactation consultant and has counseled breastfeeding families.
She earned a master of public health degree (with a concentration in public health nutrition) from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in environmental studies from Wellesley College.
Johnson is based in San Andreas and can be reached at (209) 754-6476 and email@example.com.
Laurent Ahiablame joined ANR as the UC Cooperative Extension director and water quality and management advisor in San Diego County on Dec. 18, 2017.
Ahiablame's research activities integrate environmental observations and computer modeling supported by ArcGIS to advance understanding of the fate and transport of water and related constituents across various spatial and temporal scales.
Prior to joining UCCE, Ahiablame was an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University from 2014 to 2017. From 2013 to 2014, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Ahiablame earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in bioenvironmental engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Ahiablame can be reached at (858) 822-7673 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kari Arnold joined UCCE as an area orchard and vineyard systems advisor in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties on Nov. 1, 2017.
Prior to joining UCCE, Arnold was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, where she participated in a statewide extension and outreach program involving viruses in grapevines and the certification program, collaborated with county viticulture advisors and industry leaders to facilitate grower workgroups for regional management of grapevine viruses, and provided presentations at grower meetings.
As a graduate student researcher from 2011 to October 2016, Arnold participated in individual grower meetings and surveys, facilitated and collaborated with a grower workgroup for areawide disease management in Napa vineyards, and conducted statistical characterization of spatial and temporal patterns of insect-vectored plant viruses. From 2009 to 2011, Arnold also worked as a staff research associate and nursery technician for Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis, where she provided employee training; worked on team oriented projects; provided tours, conducted virus indexing, and collected and analyzed data.
Arnold completed an M.S. and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis and a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
Based in Modesto, Arnold can be reached at (209) 525-6821and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KariDigsPlants.
Farzaneh Khorsandi Kouhanestani joined UCCE on Sept. 1, 2017, as an assistant agricultural safety and health engineer specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis.
Prior to joining UCCE, Khorsandi Kouhanestani worked as research assistant and Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research is mainly related to agricultural machine design and evaluating the performance of the designed machines both experimentally and theoretically. The designed systems in the Ph.D. project were related to agricultural machinery safety. During her M.S. work, she designed, manufactured and evaluated the performance of a hand-held fruit harvester, a catch frame and a fruit sorter. After completing her M.S., she was a design engineer for an agricultural machinery design company, working on several design projects including a granule spreader, feed cutter and mixer and hay harvester.
Khorsandi Kouhanestani earned a B.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering in Iran, an M.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering from Shiraz University, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Khorsandi Kouhanestani is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-7848 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Safe Soil and Pramod Pandey, UCCE specialist in UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, were among 13 California organizations that received the state's highest environmental honor, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), in a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento on Jan. 17.
The award recognizes the public-private partnership and collaborative research among California Safe Soil, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to recycle organic food waste into fertilizer and feed for agricultural use.
California Safe Soil has a proprietary new technology – enzymatic digestion – to recycle organic biomass. However, they had to prove that recycling food into fertilizer and feed can be done safely, without foodborne pathogens.
California Safe Soil worked with Pandey to conduct pathogen challenge research. Annette Jones and Douglas Hepper at CDFA and Bart Weimer, professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Glenn Young, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, helped formulate the pathogen challenge test, which provided the scientific results needed to allow CDFA to issue an operating license for the enzymatic digestion.
Pandey's research, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal, proved that California Safe Soil's method for recycling organic food waste into fertilizer and feed is based on robust science and technology.
GEELA recipients are chosen from five categories including climate change, ecosystem and land-use stewardship, environmental education, sustainable practices and waste reduction.
Trevor Suslow, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and director of the Postharvest Center, received the 2017 Valley of the World Education Award given by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The center established its Valley of the World Awards to honor key figures in the Salinas Valley agricultural industry.
“In the spirit of John Steinbeck's writings, the education award recognizes an individual who through his or her teaching and efforts has inspired and nourished a lifelong love of learning,” the center says on its website.
In presenting the award, the center described Suslow as having “one of the most active extension education and outreach programs” among extension specialists.
“Conservatively, he has provided over 1,500 local, state, national and international technical, extension education, training and outreach presentations on crop protection, soil and phyllosphere microbiology, biotechnology, fresh and fresh-cut produce quality systems, and microbial food safety of fresh produce,” the center wrote.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune has chosen Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, as one of its Top 20 under 40. The Tribune's annual competition recognizes young professionals “who are making significant contributions in the fields of health care, business, law, government and the nonprofit sector. Not only have they demonstrated excellence in their careers, they also have shown a profound commitment to public service.”
In the news article announcing the winners, the newspaper says that Soule has earned state and national recognition for improving community health and increasing diversity in youth participation.
“As the extension's youth, families and communities advisor for the last several years, Soule developed new 4-H programs engaging underserved youths and promoting healthy living, leadership and social development. Her efforts nearly doubled enrollment and boosted Latino participation 26.8 percent. She's delivered nutrition education to more than 10,000 people through various partnerships,” the Tribune wrote.
It goes on to add, “Soule is a founding member of the Cultivating Change Foundation, working to improve inclusivity for the LGBTQ community in agriculture locally and nationwide.”
Macon named livestock and natural resources advisor
Macon, who operates a small-scale commercial sheep enterprise near Auburn, brings a combination of hands-on livestock production experience and applied scientific research and education/outreach experience.
Having been the herdsman at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, and most recently serving as an associate specialist for rangeland science and management in the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department, Macon is a familiar face to many in ANR. He is currently collaborating on a variety of research efforts, including on-ranch impacts, management and planning horizons following California's historic drought. He has also led producer enrollment, data collection and grazing-water-nutrient management tracking for a statewide integrated research and extension project on irrigated pasture. He is also leading a long-term project that will quantify direct and indirect impacts from predators on rangeland livestock operations across northern California.
Macon has also worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Cattlemen's Association, and was the founding executive director of the California Rangeland Trust. He is currently the vice president of the California Wool Growers Association and is a past president of the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management.
Macon earned a Master of Agriculture in integrated resource management from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural and managerial economics from UC Davis.
“I have finally recognized that the parts of my earlier jobs that I most enjoyed involved the things I'll be doing on a daily basis as a farm advisor - teaching and doing research,” Macon wrote in his Foothill Agrarian blog. “Along with raising sheep, I feel as though I've finally figured out what I'm supposed to do in life!”
“I have enormous shoes to fill - Roger Ingram and Glenn Nader, who have proceeded me in these four counties, were incredibly productive and successful advisors.”
Spinelli named vegetable and irrigation advisor
Before joining UCCE, Spinelli had worked as agricultural specialist for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County since 2015. He performed irrigation system evaluations, implemented an irrigation water and soil moisture monitoring project, and provided recommendations for irrigation management and improvements in irrigation systems, assisting the strawberry, lettuce, apple, vegetable and blackberry industries.
From 2010 to 2015, Spinelli was a graduate student researcher in the Plant Sciences Department at UC Davis, where his research focused on water stress and water use at the leaf and canopy level in almond orchards in California.
Spinelli grew up on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence, Italy. He left Italy in 2007 to work in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, implemented a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp. In addition to English, he speaks French, Italian and Arabic.
Spinelli earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy and a M.S. in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a M.S. in tropical agricultural development and a B.S. in agricultural sciences and technologies from the University of Florence, Italy.
Based in Modesto, he can be reached at (209) 525-6806, (530) 304-3738 (cell) and email@example.com.
Vela to lead News and Information Outreach in Spanish
Before joining UC, Vela was the news director and main anchor for KVER-TV Univision in Palm Springs. Vela launched his journalism career in the third grade by starting a school newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was the news correspondent for Univision News in Los Angeles bureau for over 10 years, then moved to San Diego where he was the news anchor/producer for the Univision affiliate for 14 years. In 2014, Vela moved to his hometown of El Paso, Texas, to be the news anchor/producer for KTDO-Telemundo 48.
In 1992, he won an Emmy for his story about a Latino family coping with their last days before dying of AIDS and preparing their children for their loss. In 2005, Vela received an Emmy for a news feature, “Los Trovadores del Siglo 21.”
In 2001, Hispanic Business Magazine named Vela one of the 100 most influential Hispanic journalists in the country for his journalistic vision to voice the needs of the Hispanic community in San Diego. He expanded his commitment to the community by writing a weekly column for the El Latino newspaper about issues pertinent to Hispanics in San Diego. In 2004, The San Diego Press Club honored his newspaper column and morning radio talk show, Voces de San Diego, which had been on the air only a few months, and he was named one of the 10 most influential Latinos in San Diego by Tijuana's Frontera newspaper.
On Feb. 28, 2006, the City of San Diego honored him with a proclamation of “Ricardo Vela Day” for his contributions to the Latino community through his radio show.
Vela earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and a bachelor's degree in mass communications/journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He also studied film and video at the Art institute in Chicago.
Vela is based at the Rubidoux Building in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 781-2151 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANR women graduate from UC Women's Initiative Program
They were among a group of mid-career women, both staff and faculty, selected from all UC locations to participate in this special program created to improve the professional development and advancement of women at UC.
The four-session program was designed by the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and UC Systemwide Talent Management, and delivered by CORO, a nonprofit leadership development organization.
- Cultivate a vibrant, professional network of women that spans the UC system
- Give women access to top UC leaders—women and men—so they can interview and learn from them about their diverse leadership approaches and journeys
- Strengthen participants' skills and confidence through hands-on practice with a range of tools and skills in the areas of:
- Professional development and impact
- Strategic relationship building
- Developing and delivering a compelling narrative regarding one's professional accomplishments and vision
- Negotiating at work
- Peer coaching
The program is designed for mid-career women, both faculty and staff, who demonstrate the potential to advance their careers at UC. Last year, Katherine Webb-Martinez and Tunnyalee Martin participated in the training.
Van Eenennaam tapped for national research strategy
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine sought nominations for scientific leaders across various disciplines to be part of an activity that will develop a compelling strategy for food and agricultural research for the next decade and beyond. Nominations were sought for transformational thinkers across the scientific enterprise (including but not exclusively limited to the agricultural sciences) to be considered for the study committee. These include individuals on the frontier of scientific disciplines that would be of value but are not traditionally associated with food and agriculture.
In addressing its statement of task, the study committee will offer a strategic and ambitious view of the opportunities for fundamental and applied interdisciplinary research that is both grounded by a deep scientific understanding of food and agricultural challenges and elevated by the breakthrough potential of insights and tools from newly converging disciplines in the food and agriculture setting.
Susan Wessler, the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovations in Science Education and distinguished professor of genetics at UC Riverside, is co-chair of the committee.
For more information about the study, visit http://nas-sites.org/dels/studies/agricultural-science-breakthroughs/who-we-are-agriculture-breakthroughs/committee.
A couple of months ago, the Principles of Community Committee unveiled a draft of the Principles of Community document at the May 20 town hall meeting.
The committee thought that a survey would be helpful in soliciting your feedback so that we may capture your thoughts, comments and suggestions into the final version.
Please read the draft document at http://ucanr.edu/About_ANR/Principles_of_Community.
We'll give you a few weeks to share your thoughts then the POC Committee will compile your comments and suggestions before we reconvene to revise our document.
Please submit your ideas through the ANR portal at http://ucanr.edu/About_ANR/Principles_of_Community/Comments_and_questions_are_welcome_648/ by Aug. 31, 2016. We welcome all your comments and suggestions.
Thank you in advance,
The UC ANR Principles of Community Committee
Respect, trust, accountability, shared vision, integrity and partnerships are needed to sustain a welcoming and inclusive ANR workplace environment.
UC ANR's Principles of Community Committee met for the first time on Sept. 29 in Davis to develop an outline for the Principles of Community. This document will serve as a guide for ANR employees to resolve and address conflict. In creating the Principles of Community, the committee strives to promote positive communications in the staff and academic personnel units, represent all organizational units, and provide examples of best practices.
Elizabeth Villalobos of Fresno County was elected chair and Tina Jordan of Davis was elected co-chair by the committee, which also includes Mary Blackburn, Emily LaRue, Chris Martinez, Laura Snell, Katherine Soule, Erin Spaniel, Jeff Tibayan and Terri White.
In 2012, ANR embarked on a journey to find out about the status of the working and learning environment across the entire UC system. As soon as the findings came in, ANR put into place an action plan.
This plan included regional workshops across the state to present results to all employees and to offer opportunities for employees to discuss the findings. One of the findings selected for discussion was the prevalence of “exclusionary behavior” experienced by employees. To help address this issue and to create a more welcoming and inclusive work environment, ANR leadership announced that a set of Principles of Community would be developed and used as a tool for education and training. To solicit input from the employees for the principles, 24 breakout sessions were held this year. At the end of each session, volunteers were recruited to form a statewide committee that would use the input from the employees to develop the Principles of Community for ANR.
After reviewing the charge, the Principles of Community Committee broke into groups to identify common themes derived from the 24 work environment breakout sessions held earlier this year.
The committee found that many ANR staff members viewed communication, perspectives, commonalities, age and generational differences to be both challenges and benefits for a diverse workforce. Respect, trust, accountability, shared vision, integrity, and partnerships were common values necessary to make a community and are characteristics needed to sustain a welcoming and inclusive ANR workplace environment. The committee also learned how ANR employees voiced their opinions on specific rights and responsibilities within the community such as communication, respect, a safe place, training, tools and work ethic, to name a few.
With the help from Emily LaRue, the committee's scribe, our team is on track to make history. We anticipate delivering a first draft of the principles and implementation plan by the end of the 2015 calendar year with a final draft due to ANR leadership in February 2016.
The committee plans to meet by conference call every two weeks. Feel free to contact any committee member with suggestions to share with the group because we want to capture the voices of ANR employees as we work to foster a more welcoming and inclusive work environment. Before we begin developing an implementation strategy, there will also be an opportunity for UC ANR members to provide comment and feedback.
The Principles of Community Committee wants you to know that we have heard what you have said and plan to develop a set of principles to help minimize the exclusionary behaviors staff has experienced in the past and move all to a positive working environment.
Author: Erin Spaniel (Thompson)