- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Brent Hales joined UC ANR as the new associate vice president for research and Cooperative Extension on July 3.
Hales brings over 20 years of higher education research and leadership experience, including at land grant institutions and in Cooperative Extension. He most recently served as an associate dean of Pennsylvania State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and director of Penn State Extension.
Before joining Penn State in 2019, he served as the senior associate dean and chief financial officer of the University of Minnesota Extension, associate dean for the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, and the director of the Economic Development Authority Center at University of Minnesota, Crookston.
Hales earned a Ph.D. in rural sociology from Iowa State University, a master's degree in sociology from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in Utah.
While attending the UC ANR statewide conference in April, he was interviewed by Rodger Wasson for the “Farm To Table Talk” podcast. You can hear Hales explain that “Cooperative Extension is more than just kids, cows, sows and plows” at https://farmtotabletalk.com/beyond-kids-cows-sows-plows-brent-hales-uc-anr.
Hales is based at the Second Street building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (530) 786-0256 and on Twitter @BrentDHales. Vanya Woodward, who is providing his administrative support, can be reached at email@example.com.
Laurie Wayne joined UC Cooperative Extension on July 5 in Modoc County as a nutrition and food systems advisor for Modoc, Lassen and Siskiyou counties. Wayne will work with community members on healthy lifestyles, nutrition, food access and security, local food production, preservation and availability.
Wayne brings years of high-desert food systems experience to her role: she owned and operated Locavore Farms in Fort Bidwell, helped found the Surprise Valley Saturday Market and Modoc Harvest, and was on the team that started the Modoc Harvest Food Hub. She also has worked supporting healthy communities for Oregon State University Extension in Klamath Falls, and at the High Desert Food and Farm Alliance in Bend, Oregon.
She earned a master's degree in TESOL (to teach English as a second language) from Portland State University and worked in school and community gardens with immigrants and refugees as part of her research project. She earned a bachelor's degree in Italian literature from UC Santa Cruz.
This job feels like the culmination of the farming, studying, supporting farmers and working in food systems she has done in the past 15 years, Wayne said.
“I'm especially interested in working on expanding access to affordable, healthy, local food year-round, including extending and preserving the harvest,” Wayne said. Her goal is to help everyone feel empowered to make healthy food choices, and she's learning what resources producers need to improve processing, transportation and production strategies, and overcome barriers that are unique to the region.
To better understand both the food systems needs and the abundant food assets of northeastern California, she will be meeting with community members; state, local and regional nonprofits; schools and other organizations in the next few months. They will discuss ways to strengthen community food system resilience.
“It's all about healthy community members who can eat good local food without breaking the bank, and producers who can make a living feeding them,” Wayne said.
Based in Alturas, Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (530) 233-6400.
Carly Hyland joined UC ANR in July as a UC assistant Cooperative Extension environmental health sciences specialist/assistant professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
She recently finished a mixed-methods project at Boise State University examining pesticide exposure and perceptions of the risks of pesticides among Latino men and women farmworkers in Idaho. In California, she is pursuing projects examining interventions to protect farmworkers from pesticides, extreme heat and wildfire smoke in collaboration with community partners.
“There are so many reasons I wanted to come back to Berkeley, and I think one of the biggest motivating factors for me was the collaborative environment focused not just on conducting innovative research, but also translating those findings into solutions to improve community health,” Hyland said. “Farmworkers are increasingly experiencing the health impacts of climate change on a daily basis, and this position will provide me with the resources and collaborations necessary to identify strategies to address these urgent issues.”
Hyland earned her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences and master's degree in global health and the environment, both from UC Berkeley, and bachelor's degree in environmental science from Carthage College in Wisconsin.
Hyland is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @c_hyland1.
Samantha Sam-Chen joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on June 15 as a new project policy analyst.
She began her work at NPI as a graduate student and received her master's in public health with a concentration in public health nutrition from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Her primary research interests include food and nutrition insecurity, evaluating food and nutrition programs, and early childhood nutrition interventions. Through her work, Sam-Chen hopes to contribute to research that will result in policies that eliminate nutrition-related health disparities. She brings over a decade of experience working with California school districts, primarily in rural and predominantly Latino communities. At NPI she works on several projects, such as evaluating the California Nutrition Incentive Program and California's Universal Meals Program.
Sam-Chen is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Murillo-Barrick named BIPOC advisor for Bay Area
Murillo-Barrick, who had worked as UCCE academic coordinator focused on planning grants for Fresno, Merced, Madera and Tulare counties since 2021, described her new role as “more holistic,” prioritizing historically marginalized communities. Murillo-Barrick will be identifying opportunities to leverage the strengths of BIPOC communities.
In addition to conducting a needs assessment, Murillo-Barrick is planning to form a language access group at ANR – something she is very passionate about. This group will focus on identifying language barriers and best practices by engaging programs like CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program that have expertise conducting multilingual programs throughout California. For example, they may recommend increasing accessibility using infographics and/or video, both of which can be translated into different languages and/or dialects.
The realm of diversity, equity and inclusion is not new to Murillo-Barrick, who has worked in outdoor education spaces, serving historically underserved communities of color. “I worked in DEI before it was considered ‘cool,'” she said.
“I have a lot of influence over program development in this role,” said Murillo-Barrick, who is fluent in Spanish. “So, my goal as an advisor is really focused on the community engagement part,” she added.
Murillo-Barrick earned a master's degree in geography and community development and a bachelor's degree in Spanish and international relations at UC Davis. During graduate school, she studied conservation issues in Nicaragua, as well as in her homeland, Costa Rica.
Aside from her academic training and previous work, Murillo-Barrick believes that mentors – including Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension health and nutrition advisor for Alameda County – who were instrumental in creating the BIPOC community development advisor position, have prepared her well for this role.
“I'm the only one within UC ANR who has ‘BIPOC' in my title, but everyone has BIPOC among their clientele,” said Murillo-Barrick. “I'm tasked with leading our community development efforts, but we all play a part in this work.”
Murillo-Barrick is based out of the UCCE office in Hayward and can be reached at email@example.com.
Oberholster honored with American Dream Award
“Dr. Oberholster is an example of the promise of the American Dream and importance that immigrants play on education in our country,” said Thompson. “UC Davis is one of the premier research universities in the world, and it is thanks to people like Dr. Oberholster that a UC Davis education is highly sought after. I am proud to honor Dr. Oberholster with the American Dream Award and I look forward to seeing how her research and contributions at UC Davis continue to benefit our region and the world.”
Oberholster was born in South Africa, where she received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and chemistry and an honors degree in chemistry from Stellenbosch University. She earned a Ph.D. in wine science from the University of Adelaide in South Australia in 2008. In 2011, she moved to the United States to work as UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Davis.
Oberholster has been a board member of the American Society of Viticulture and Enology for six years and is currently the 2nd vice-president of the society. She also has worked as the secretary of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture Foundation, which fundraises to give scholarships to viticulture and enology students. Furthermore, she is a member of the LLC Management Committee that organizes the Unified Grape and Wine Symposium. She is currently the chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology's coordination and extension committee. Previously, she was the chair of the Viticulture and Enology graduate group and advised incoming students.
Oberholster is vice-chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology and is doing important research to benefit the grape and wine communities. She focuses on grape and wine challenges, including grapevine red blotch disease and the impact of wildfire smoke on grape and wine quality. Oberholster helps the wine community become more sustainable, such as improving the quality of winery wastewater recycling methods.
The American Dream Award honors immigrants who have excelled professionally, through entrepreneurship and innovation, in the arts and culture, or through community service.
Informed by the socioecological determinants of nutritional health, Diaz Rios studies methods of reaching groups at risk of malnutrition. She specializes in applying cross-cultural adaptation methodologies to develop nutrition education and to measure the value of tools. She has contributed to the production of culturally relevant educational resources to improve the food environment for people at critical stages of development, especially young children. Her approaches to adapt and validate evaluation tools for cultural relevance allow for accurate and reliable documentation of the impact of nutrition education programs in California and nationally. Recently, she has been exploring approaches to improve nutrition education in medically underserved communities.
Diaz Rios's published work informed the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior's guidelines for authors, reviewers and editors on publishing race and ethnicity data. One of her studies pointed out the scarcity of quality studies on interventions to improve diet-related health disparities. Her research also highlighted structural factors affecting food security among Latinas during the pandemic.
As a member and later chair of SNEB's journal committee, Diaz Rios led the creation of a mentorship program and recruitment of the first JNEB Mentored Editor; oversaw approval of three of the society's position papers; and participated in advancing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in the journal.
This award recognizes one SNEB member who has made notable contributions in the field of nutrition education and behavior and to SNEB as an organization during the early stages of their career, defined as less than 10 years as a nutrition educator.
Diaz Rios, who joined UC ANR in 2014, received the award at the SNEB International Conference in Washington D.C. on July 21.
UC IPM wins ACE gold award for online course
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program won a gold award from the Association for Communication Excellence for its online course “Urban Pyrethroid and Fipronil Use: Runoff and Surface Water Protection.”
Cheryl Reynolds, UC IPM interactive learning developer, led development of the self-paced course and served as lead instructional designer, audio/video editor, photographer and narrator. Petr Kosina, UC IPM content development supervisor, contributed instructional design, cartoon animations and photography. Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban and Community IPM, and Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, were principal investigators for the project. California Department of Pesticide Regulation's Robert Budd, Aniela Burant and Carlos Gutierrez served as subject matter experts.
Pesticides are the most common way structural and landscape pests are managed in urban environments. It has been estimated that more than 2 million pounds of urban pesticides are used for structural and landscape applications annually in California, resulting in the potential for pesticide residues to be washed into storm drains during rain or irrigation events. Water carrying this residue runs directly into creeks, lakes, and rivers, harming aquatic organisms and disrupting the entire food chain within sensitive water ecosystems.
The “Urban Pyrethroid and Fipronil Use: Runoff and Surface Water Protection” online course presents information on California's Surface Water Protection Regulations that were put into place in 2012 to reduce the amount of pyrethroids in surface water runoff. The course illustrates the types of applications allowed under the regulations, as well as those that are prohibited and those that are exempt.
This course was developed for licensed pest management professionals who work primarily in structural pest control or landscape maintenance and use pyrethroid pesticides and fipronil for their work.
Funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the interactive course has received positive comments from participants such as, “This was a good course to take. It was interesting and well done. It will make you think about what goes down the storm drains.”
The course was developed using the Adobe Captivate authoring software and is hosted on the eXtension platform, which uses the Moodle learning management system.
To learn more about the course, watch this video: https://youtu.be/5ogj2ZLk5XA.
Keatley Garvey wins ACE photo award
Headlined “Monarch Butterflies: Closer to Extinction,” the blog included photos of a monarch egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and male and female butterflies, all images she captured in her family's pollinator garden in Vacaville.
The blog noted that the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced on July 21, 2022, that the migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was now on its "Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered--threatened by habitat destruction and climate change."
Gosliner appointed to National Institute of Health working group
The ADVANTAGE project is an effort to better understand the intersection of food systems, diet, nutrition and health in a changing environment by addressing how the current realities of climate/environmental change are affecting dietary choices, patterns and relevant aspects of the food system, as well as implications for specific public health outcomes of interest. This effort seeks to determine how an ecological approach can be applied to assess the nature and impact of these relationships and how to best translate the evidence generated to promote health and prevent disease.
Gosliner is a member of the ADVANTAGE Working Group 5, tasked to focus on translation and implementation to support context-specific, equitable, safe and efficacious interventions, dietary guidance and standards of care in a changing environment.
Working Group 5 conducted a virtual workshop on June 12. Gosliner and collaborator Jenn Otten from the University of Washington hosted “A Conversation about Dissemination and Translation.” The recording from their presentation is available online and their talk begins at 1:46:30.
Pratap Devkota joined UCCE on Jan. 6, 2017, as an area low-desert weed science advisor for Imperial and Riverside counties. His primary research will address the weed management challenges on agronomic and vegetable crops (alfalfa, bermudagrass, Sudan grass, wheat, cotton, sugarbeet, lettuce, carrot, onion, spinach, cole crops and cucurbits) grown in Imperial, Coachella and Palo Verde valleys.
Prior to joining UCCE, Devkota was a graduate research assistant while working on his Ph.D., evaluating the influence of spray water quality factors on herbicide efficacy. He also researched the interaction of foliar fertilizers with herbicide and the use of adjuvants for improving herbicide efficacy as part of his Ph.D. research. From 2010 to 2012, Devkota studied weed management in vegetable crops as a graduate research assistant. For his master's thesis, Devkota evaluated the efficacy and economics of herbicide programs and soil fumigants as alternatives to methyl bromide for weed control in plasticulture tomato and bell pepper production.
Devkota earned his Ph.D. in weed science from Purdue University, an M.S. in weed science from University of Arkansas and a B.S. in agriculture science (major in agricultural economics) from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
Based in Holtville, Devkota, who is fluent in Nepali and Hindi, can be reached at (760) 352-9474 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phoebe Gordon joined UCCE on Jan. 3, 2017, as an area orchard systems advisor for Madera and Merced counties. As a native Californian, Gordon is excited to be able to share her knowledge with growers to improve orchard production and sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond. She will be covering all tree crops, including stone fruit and figs in Merced. Gordon's extension and research efforts may include water quality, soil salinity, plant nutrition and pests and diseases.
Prior to joining UCCE, Gordon had worked as an agronomist for A&L Western Agricultural Laboratories in Modesto since March 2015. Her responsibilities involved maintaining the soil fertility and plant nutrition status database, providing clients with advice on proper sampling procedures and aiding them in interpreting soil, plant and irrigation water tests performed by the laboratory, and providing fertilizer recommendations based on soil data. At the Ohio State University, her graduate work was in ornamental shade tree production and outplanting and growing trees from seed or tissue culture to liner size using technologies of interest to the nursery industry. She planted a subset of these trees in an urban highway environment and monitored two years of growth and evaluated soil physical properties of the site.
Gordon earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and crop science from the Ohio State University and a B.S. in plant biology from UC Davis.
Based in Madera, Gordon can be reached at (559) 675-7879 and email@example.com.
Deepa Srivastava joined UCCE on Jan. 3, 2017, as an area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Tulare and Kings counties.
Srivastava earned a Ph.D. in human sciences from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with two certifications on transdisciplinary obesity prevention and mixed methods. She earned an M.S. in child development and family science from North Dakota State University. At University of Allahabad, India, Srivastava completed an M.A. in medieval history and a B.A. in English literature, economics and medieval history.
Prior to joining UCCE, Srivastava was project lead for SBSRC Methodology and Evaluation Research Core Facility at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was responsible for designing and developing process evaluation methods including logic model and fidelity protocols, serving as lead for data collection and classroom observations, and assisting in curriculum development for EAT-Family Style project. From 2011 to 2015, Srivastava was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was involved in multiple evaluation projects in nutrition and has taught graduate-level courses. Her work included evaluation of a middle school nutrition education program; process evaluation/fidelity testing of nutrition curriculum across childcare programs and middle schools; focus groups with EFNEP and a local food bank; implementation and evaluation of NAPSAAC program in early childcare settings; Fuel Up to Play 60 project; and Healthy Home Project for limited resources families. Her research interest is interdisciplinary, intersecting three areas: parenting, healthy lifestyle and culture.
Srivastava, who is fluent in Hindi, is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3318 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mandeep Virk-Baker joined UCCE on Jan. 10, 2017, as a nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. Virk-Baker is a registered dietitian and registered dietitian nutritionist.
Virk-Baker's doctoral training at University of Alabama at Birmingham focused on nutrition and cancer prevention including basic lab science and epidemiology. She received an independent competitive grant as the principal investigator to examine the prevalence of equol-producing status (a bacterial metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein) and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women undergoing a physician-recommended breast biopsy. This trial was among the first to evaluate the metabolite-producing status in African American women.
Prior to joining UCCE, Virk-Baker was a cancer prevention postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health for four years. At NCI, Virk-Baker's research was focused in the areas of nutrition, tobacco, dietary carcinogens, and cancer prevention. As a senior fellow, she led multiple independent projects and conducted cancer prevention research, establishing collaborations with investigators from various agencies, participating in professional workshops, preparing manuscripts for publications, and presenting research at national and international scientific conferences. Virk-Baker received the Sallie Rosen Kaplan Postdoctoral Fellowship award at the Center for Cancer Training/National Cancer Institute in December 2015. At this highly competitive leadership development postdoctoral fellowship program for female scientists at the NIH, Virk-Baker received state of the art didactic training for being an effective leader. While working on a health policy detail in the Division of Science and Policy, Office of the U.S. Surgeon General in Washington, D.C., she had an opportunity to gain valuable public health experience.
Virk-Baker earned her Ph.D. in nutrition sciences from UAB in 2012. She received a Master of Public Health and a Global Health Certificate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2013. She also completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics from CSU Fresno, and completed a dietetics internship at Iowa State University. Virk-Baker also earned an M.S. in food and nutrition and a B.S. in home science from Panjab University, India.
Virk-Baker, who is fluent in Punjabi and Hindi, is based in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 241-7515 and email@example.com.
UC Merced is relaunching its branch of the Blum Center for Developing Economies with a focus on food security for the first two years of the faculty-led effort. Karina Díaz Rios, a UC Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, and Kurt Schnier, economics professor with the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, will lead the rejuvenated Blum Center, with administrative help from the Health Sciences Research Institute.
They hope to make the Blum Center a hub for all food-security-related research and outreach on and off campus.
“We want to create a community on campus to address issues of food security,” Schnier said. “We want to help engage students, faculty members and the community to have a direct effect on people's lives.”
Plans include bringing speakers to the campus and community; supporting efforts such as the campus food bank, which serves students and others who don't always have enough food; helping support student researchers such as the students who serve as Global Food Initiative fellows; and facilitating — including through small grants — faculty research centered on food-related topics such as diabetes, communicating about food, and food and social justice issues.
“We're hoping to help translate research into projects that are relevant to the community,” Díaz Rios said.
Merced County's economy is largely based around agriculture, yet many residents do not have adequate access to food or information to help them make healthy choices.
Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, is part of a research team honored with the 2016 Experiment Station Section Award for Excellence in Multistate Research. The award, given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), honors the team for “S-1060: Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety.”
Flies are serious pests of livestock and poultry. House fly, stable fly and horn fly species are responsible for damage and control costs that reach over $2 billion each year in the United States.
Through this project, the scientists developed new chemical, biological and microbial control methods, such as using adult flies to deliver pyriproxyfen, which disrupts insect growth, to sites where larvae are developing. A new fly trap for controlling horn flies removed between 1.3 and 2.5 million flies from a herd of 150 pastured dairy cows. The trap doesn't use insecticide and costs $1.50 less per cow than traditional chemical-based treatments.
Through research and outreach, they have given producers the information and tools needed to select appropriate control methods and apply them in a timely manner. Studies have shown what kinds of weather events and landscape features support fly population growth, and national surveys have shown where insecticide resistance is present. Effective fly management practices result in increased profits, a higher quality of life for animals, a safer food supply and improved quality of life in residential and recreational areas near animal facilities. Adoption of new non-chemical control methods significantly reduces the use of expensive insecticides, cutting costs for livestock producers and reducing harm to the environment.
Gerry shares the award with colleagues at Auburn University, Cornell University, Kansas State University, Louisiana State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, the Ohio State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M AgriLife, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Illinois, University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Tennessee, USDA-ARS, Washington State University, Central Garden and Pet Co. in Walnut Creek, Calif., and Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada. The project is supported in part by USDA NIFA.
For more information about the multistate project, visit www.veterinaryentomology.ucr.edu.
APLU recognizes one multistate project each year for high scientific quality, the level of collaboration and the professional leadership shown in conducting the project.
A plaque and a small monetary award of $15,000 to support the research project were awarded to the group by the Experiment Station directors on Nov. 14, 2016, at the annual APLU meeting.
DPR honors Virginia creeper IPM team
UC Cooperative Extension,winegrape growers, the Lake County Wine Grape Commission and the Mendocino County Farm Bureau were awarded a 2016IPM Achievement Award by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for their leadership in protecting crops from Virginia creeper leafhopper.
In 2011, the tiny insect showed up in Mendocino and Lake counties, causing severe losses of wine grapes. By 2014, the new leafhopper had spread across thousands of acres and was devastating vineyards. Some organic growers began using conventional pesticides to stay in business.
Glenn McGourty, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, Houston Wilson, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley, Lucia Varela, UC IPM advisor for the North Coast, Ryan Keiffer, UCCE agricultural technician in Mendocino, Kent Daane, UCCE specialist based in ESPM and located at Kearney Research and Extension Center, and Serguei Triapitsyn, principal museum scientist at UC Riverside, have contributed to the efforts.
UCCE, grower-collaborators, pest control advisers, the Lake County Wine Grape Commission and the Mendocino County Farm Bureau collaborated to provide newsletters, videos and field days to teach growers to recognize the new leafhopper and its natural enemy, a tiny parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in leafhopper eggs. However, the plentiful natural enemies weren't adequately doing their job in Mendocino and Lake counties. Researchers brought in a new, effective strain of the wasps from the Sacramento Valley, which are now reproducing quickly on their host in the lab and are becoming established in the counties. Eventually, the wasp will enable both conventional and organic growers to reduce synthetic pesticides used to combat the new leafhopper.
The 2016 Achievement Awards were presented at a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on Jan. 26 in Sacramento.
To learn more about the Virginia creeper leafhopper project, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/vclh.