- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
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.”