- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
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, (805) 788-9486 (office) and (925) 487-8374 (cell). 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.
Cameron Barreto joined UC ANR as a senior contracts and grants officer on April 14. He will be working with the Office of Contracts and Grants to assist UC ANR researchers with the submission and management of their proposals and awards for sponsored research.
Prior to joining UC ANR, he was a research services coordinator with UC San Francisco Office of Sponsored Research for three years assisting the Pediatrics Department and participating in several extramural groups including serving as co-chair of the Office of Sponsored Research Council and Gallup Engagement Survey officer.
He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Rochester in upstate New York.
Barreto is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1368 and email@example.com.
Danny Won is the new program assistant for the UC Master Gardener Program statewide office. He has been with UC ANR since 2015, working as an administrative assistant for the UC Integrated Pest Management Program.
Won will be supporting the UC Master Gardener Program by managing inventory and shipping and overseeing volunteers' annual reappointment, California Department of Food and Agriculture licenses, program purchases, and many other projects. He will continue to provide support to UC IPM for events and workshops. His new office is located in the ANR building at space #102 and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for 4-H youth development in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, received the 2022 Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association's Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group.
The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding research in the out-of-school time field and honors a scholar in the early to middle stages of their career.
Worker, who became a 4-H advisor in 2016, was recognized for excellence, creativity and intentionality in contributing to the out-of-school-time learning field. His research efforts have focused on (1) youth development with an emphasis on adapting, piloting and evaluating youth development program models that integrate culturally relevant practices to engage culturally diverse youth; (2) science learning that engages youth in personally meaningful experiences situated in authentic community activities; and (3) exploring factors involved with improving volunteer educator competence and confidence to facilitate high-quality youth development.
Worker strives to improve the cultural relevancy of youth development programs to make them more welcoming to marginalized youth. Applying his research findings, Worker organizes activities to engage youth in STEM. During the pandemic, he created ways for children to learn and socialize safely by meeting online to build motorboats and view livestock presentations in person at a drive-through animal science day. In May, he will host the North Bay Science Discovery Day.
Ellen Bruno, UC Cooperative Extension economics specialist at UC Berkeley, is a recipient of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) 2021 New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award, an award granted to early career scientists supporting research in one of FFAR's Challenge Areas.
FFAR's New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists with funding to focus on food and agriculture research without the pressure of securing additional funding. Each applicant can receive up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years.
Meeting future food needs requires effectively managing scarce groundwater. California is addressing this problem through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which ensures better groundwater use and management. Bruno's research is using the act as a case study to identify policies that enhance water sustainability and minimize regulation costs.
Kocher, Ingram win educational materials awards
One award was for the Forest Stewardship Education Newsletter in the “Newsletters or Series of Articles” category and another award in the “TV or Video” category for their four-part series of Forest Inventory videos. Ingram and Kocher share the video award with Kestrel Grevatt, a GrizzlyCorps Fellow.
Susie Kocher explains in a video how forest landowners can manage their forest land and take an inventory of trees in their forest.
Sarah Light joined UCCE on July 5, 2017, as an area agronomy advisor in Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties.
Light earned a dual M.S. in soil science & botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and conducted her graduate research in potato production at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Eastern Oregon. Light, who speaks Spanish, also holds a B.A. in Latin American studies with a minor in Spanish literature from Brandeis University.
Prior to joining UCCE, Light was working as a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project that evaluated the impact of biochar application on soil water properties. Light volunteered with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program in Malawi and worked for several years in small-scale farms and gardens in the Bay Area.
Light is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and email@example.com.
Luke Milliron joined UCCE on June 12, 2017, as an area sustainable orchard systems advisor in Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Milliron worked as an agronomy technician at Dellavalle Laboratory, Inc. since April 2016. He was responsible for soil and plant tissue sampling in almond, walnut, grapevine and processing tomato systems. He also supported grower irrigation management with neutron probe, pressure chamber and watermark readings.
From January 2015 to March 2016, Milliron was a UC Cooperative Extension horticulture intern, funded by the Almond Board of California and the California Dried Plum Board. During his internship, he was based in UCCE Sutter-Yuba and San Joaquin counties where he worked on 20 UCCE trials in almond, prune, walnut, processing tomato and landscape horticulture. Milliron also assisted UCCE farm advisors on visits with almond, prune, walnut and tomato growers, wrote newsletter articles and delivered talks to growers and pest control advisers.
Milliron earned an M.S. in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. His research focused on the measurement of almond tree water stress during winter dormancy. He earned a B.S. in agricultural science, with an option in crops and horticulture from California State University, Chico.
Milliron is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 828-9666 and firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MillironLuke.
Ricky Satomi joined UCCE on May 15, 2017, as an Area Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.
Satomi earned an M.S. in forestry from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment from UC Berkeley.
Prior to joining UCCE, Satomi worked as a research associate with the UC Wood Biomass Utilization Group, analyzing wood utilization capacity in California. His master's thesis focused on productivity and cost tracking of forest fuel mastication treatments using open source geospatial analysis. He also developed interactive web and audiovisual platforms to enhance delivery of forest management practices to the public. From 2009 to 2013, Satomi was a field forester working on inventory and management plans for land ownerships throughout Northern California.
Satomi is based in Redding and can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and email@example.com.
Aliasghar Montazar joined UCCE on June 1, 2017, as an area irrigation and water management advisor in Imperial and Riverside counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Montazar was a project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis for three years. From 2011 to 2014, he was a research associate in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. He is also a former associate professor at the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the University of Tehran, Iran. Montazar has more than 15 years of research, extension, teaching and technical consulting experience and has served in several leadership positions in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering in California and abroad.
Montazar, who is fluent in Persian and Arabic, earned a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage from University of Tehran, Iran; an M.S. in irrigation structures from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran; and a B.S. in irrigation engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.
Montazaris is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7707 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wei-ting Chen joined UCCE on Aug. 29, 2016, as the area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Chen worked for a health communications firm based in Atlanta, Ga., where she managed health communication projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and led user research and evaluation efforts for web-based health communication products.
At Johns Hopkins University, she developed an urban agriculture summer training program for low-income inner-city teens, led the founding and operations of the university's first community garden, conducted a literature review on the topics of community food security and farm-to-school through the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and surveyed SNAP recipients at farmers markets about their experience with fruit and vegetable incentives. Her dissertation combined her interest in poverty, social policy, and food system issues and examined public assistance-dependent mothers experience as consumers in the food system and how they made food decisions for their households. From 2005 to 2008, Chen, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, worked for the California Charter Schools Association coordinating its board and leadership development program.
She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology at Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in political science and sociology at UC Davis.
Chen is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and email@example.com.
Anne Megaro joined UC ANR as government and community relations director on Aug. 28. In her new role, Megaro will guide UC ANR employees in nurturing relationships with government officials and will monitor legislation that could affect UC ANR. She will also develop programs to promote community awareness of UC ANR.
Megaro, who earned a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University and a B.S. in animal science and management from UC Davis, brings a solid understanding of agriculture, science and the UC system along with knowledge of California's legislative processes.
“We're absolutely thrilled to have someone of Anne's caliber and credentials on board at UC ANR,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “Her hiring is a real coup for us and couldn't come at a more critical time. Educating our elected officials about the value of ANR research and outreach is always important, but especially as we try to increase investment in research infrastructure to address issues such as water, wildfire, invasive pests, food insecurity and other challenges facing the state.”
For the past five years, Megaro has been the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture's consultant. As the sole agriculture committee consultant for the Senate, Megaro planned legislative hearings, conducted independent research and analyzed agricultural bills to advise senators and staff on policy and legislative issues. She collaborated with senators, assembly members, governor's staff, legislative staff, government agencies, stakeholders and members of the public to resolve issues related to specific bills or policies.
“With the goodwill she's developed and contacts she's made in the state Senate, coupled with her ability to work with UC Cooperative Extension county directors and Research and Extension Center directors on effectively engaging policymakers at the local level, Anne will elevate UC ANR's ability to connect people with the data they need to make informed policy decisions,” Humiston said.
Megaro is based at the ANR building in Davis in Room 178 and can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren Haver has agreed to serve as the interim associate director of the Research and Extension Center system, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Haver has served as the UC Cooperative Extension water resources advisor in Orange County since 2002, director of South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine since 2009 and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County beginning in 2011.
“Darren brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president and interim REC director. “We continue to develop a plan to address administrative vacancies and look forward to working with him in this interim role.”
Haver will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2018, or until a new director is appointed. He will succeed Lisa Fischer, who plans to retire from UC ANR in September after five years as associate director of the REC system.
“Under her direction, each REC has developed a strategic plan to set the course for the future and numerous capital improvements have been made to the RECs, including new office and conference spaces,” said Powers. “We wish Lisa the very best as she takes on new adventures.”
John Harper, UCCE livestock advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, received the California Wool Growers Association's Golden Fleece Award at their annual meeting Aug. 19 in Cambria.
The Golden Fleece Award is presented each year to a living and active member of the California Wool Growers Association or a public official who through his or her position has made a lasting contribution to the California sheep industry. This is the “un-sung hero” award. Recipients are intended to be those individuals who have given unremitting support and service to the California sheep industry and received little recognition for their efforts.
“John Harper was honored with the California Wool Growers Association Golden Fleece Award for his unrecognized contributions as livestock/natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties to the California sheep industry over the years,” said Erica Sanko, CWGA executive director. “John is known statewide and nationally for his sheep shearing and wool grading schools, which provides a much-needed resource of qualified sheep shearers for the California sheep industry.”
Since 1990, Harper has been hosting the UC Cooperative Extension Sheep Shearing School, which is the only program of its kind in California. At the five-day intensive course, more than 300 students from California, other states and other countries have been trained to shear sheep, giving them skills to start a new and profitable career. Harper, who serves as secretary for the Mendocino/Lake Wool Growers Association, has also authored or co-authored more than 350 research-based articles and publications.
Roger Ingram, UCCE advisor emeritus, was named the 2017 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. The award was created by Western Fairs Association (WFA), a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry, to recognize those who support and contribute to the quality of their local fair. During opening ceremonies on Aug. 9, Ingram was recognized for his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Ingram's involvement with the fair began in 1986 when he joined UC Cooperative Extension as the 4-H/livestock and natural resources advisor in Nevada County. At the Nevada County Fair, he organized and conducted a livestock judging contest until 1995. He has been instrumental in coordinating carcass quality programs for fair animals and working with exhibitors and leaders to understand the data and to use it to improve their feeding and management practices.
From 2006 to 2011, Ingram gave a series of agriculture-related presentations at the fair as part of the workshop series coordinated by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.
“For decades, Roger has been an advocate of local youth in agriculture, particularly the youth at the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “His contributions to the agriculture programs at the Fairgrounds have educated adults and children. Whether it's participating in the annual farm day, assisting with agricultural youth programs, serving as a guest speaker in the seminar series at the fair, or assisting the kids at the fair – his work is invaluable.”
Putting Youth on the Map wins UC tech award
The University of California recognized 10 teams from across the system with the 2017 Larry L. Sautter Award. Putting Youth on the Map won a Golden Award. The Center for Regional Change's interactive website provides analyses of California youth well-being and curricula on how to use them. The website is a resource for researchers and policymakers, as well as youth and adult advocates, who are working to ensure the well-being of young people in the state.
The annual award, which is sponsored by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council, recognizes collaborative innovations in information technology that advance the university's mission of teaching, research, public service and patient care, or that improve the effectiveness of university processes. The award encourages collaboration and solution sharing across the UC system. Systemwide Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola announced the winners Aug. 8 at the UC Computing Services Conference in San Diego.
Nancy Erbstein, who holds a research faculty appointment in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology, is the principal investigator for the project. UC Cooperative Extension advisors Charles Go, Russell Hill, Anna Martin, Fe Moncloa, Terri Spezzano and Steven Worker; UCCE nutrition education coordinator Dennis Carrasquilla, UC CalFresh director David Ginsburg and former Youth, Families and Communities Program director Constance Schneider contributed to the development of Putting Youth on the Map.
The resource was created with support from The California Endowment, UCANR, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California and Sierra Health Foundation.