Diana Cervantes joined UC ANR on Sept. 5 as the new broadcast communication specialist for News and Information Outreach in Spanish, or NOS.
Cervantes brings over 25 years of experience as a journalist serving the Spanish-speaking community in Southern California to help fulfill the NOS mission of disseminating information to California's Spanish-speaking community.
Before joining NOS, Cervantes was an editor for El Latino, the most widely circulated Spanish-language newspaper in San Diego County. She participated in the creation of the El Latino website and spearheaded the newspaper's digital platform migration.
Her professional journey includes working as a reporter for La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the nation, as well as a reporter for La Prensa/The Press Enterprise in Riverside.
She is bicultural and bilingual, qualities that uniquely equips her to understand the needs and nuances of the immigrant community in this country.
Cervantes holds a bachelor's degree in communication sciences with a minor in written journalism from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
"I am very happy for the opportunity to participate in the valuable work that UC ANR does to bring knowledge to the Hispanic community," Cervantes said.
Cervantes is based at the NOS office in Riverside and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edith de Guzman joined UC ANR on Sept. 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension water equity and adaptation policy specialist. She is the first UCCE specialist to be based at UCLA.
Her work investigates best practices for the sustainable transformation of the Los Angeles region and beyond, and has included research, demonstration projects, public policy and planning in the areas of water management, climate adaptation, heat mitigation and urban forestry. She tackles these topics through the lenses of urban planning, public health, behavioral sciences, biophysical sciences and public policy.
She co-founded and directs the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative, a multisectoral partnership working to alleviate the public health risks of extreme heat. Their research has found that one in four lives currently lost to extreme heat could be saved if L.A.'s land cover had more trees and its built surfaces were more reflective, particularly where low-income communities and communities of color live and work.
From 2014 to 2020, de Guzman served as director of research at Los Angeles-based organization TreePeople. Her projects at the nonprofit included the City of Los Angeles Stormwater Capture Master Plan; facilitating the creation of a Greening Plan with the Inglewood and Lennox communities; bringing to fruition multiple urban water-management demonstration projects; and leading an extensive study tour of Australia's response to its historic Millennium Drought and gleaning lessons for California. She also produced the first interactive, high-resolution public map and spatial analysis of Los Angeles County's urban forest.
Having completed all of her studies at UCLA, de Guzman holds a Ph.D. in environment & sustainability, a master's degree in urban planning and a bachelor's degree in history and art history.
Learn more about her research advancing climate resilience and access to clean water and sustainable resources in a Q&A at https://innovation.luskin.ucla.edu/2023/07/31/welcome-to-our-new-water-equity-and-adaptation-policy-expert-edith-de-guzman.
De Guzman is based at the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation in Los Angeles and can be reached at email@example.com and @edithbdeguzman on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Sabine Tegura joined UCCE in Alameda County on Aug. 29 as a CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE community education specialist. She will be focused on providing nutrition education directly to senior and adult community housing sites.
Tegura, who was born in Byumba, Rwanda, and grew up in small towns in Illinois, is a long-time educator who has primarily worked with youth. Most recently, she was a community educator for Superstar Health Education, teaching puberty and sex education workshops to fourth- to eighth-grade students in the Bay Area for four years.
She earned a bachelor's degree in social work from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Tegura is based in Hayward and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aceves is a graduate of San Jose State University where she earned her bachelor's degree in public health. She has previously worked as a garden educator and as a gymnastics instructor and is passionate about working with children and helping her community. Aceves can be reached at email@example.com.
Alexandra Vargas also joined UCCE in San Mateo/San Francisco as a CalFresh Healthy Living , UCCE community education specialist on Sept. 5. Vargas recently earned a bachelor's degree in nutrition and dietetics and a minor in holistic health from San Francisco State University, where she also played on the soccer team for four years. In her spare time, she coaches the SFSU women's soccer team.
Vargas is based in South San Francisco and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Hill joined UCCE on Aug. 14 as a weed science and agronomy advisor in Tehama, Shasta and Glenn counties.
In his new role, Hill will be exploring safe and effective weed-management options for a range of cropping systems in the northern Sacramento Valley. He also will be advising on production of agronomic crops to support growers who are looking for ways to diversify their farming operations.
When the UC Master Gardener Program gets established in Tehama County, Hill will provide academic oversight for the local program.
“I have been very fortunate to have a wide background of experience in agricultural research and I intend to draw on that as much as I can as a UCCE advisor,” Hill said. “I also intend to draw on the diverse array of resources and expertise that UC ANR has to offer to support my research and extension programs as well as the Master Gardener program. I am looking forward to making consistent progress toward more sustainable food systems as a member of the UC ANR team.”
Before joining UC ANR, Hill worked for the Oregon State University Extension Service, the California processing tomato industry, and the Joint Genome Institute. At OSU, he managed research operations and field plantings at the research farm for 3.5 years, while learning weed science. He worked on weed control and herbicide safety projects in hazelnuts, hops, caneberries, cranberries, blueberries, ornamental trees and shrubs, apples, cherries, pears, wine grapes and Christmas trees.
Hill earned a master's degree in plant breeding and genetics from Oregon State University, where he studied the genetics of self-incompatibility in hazelnuts. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.
“I was born and raised in Stanislaus County,” Hill said, “and I am happy to be back in the Central Valley after spending the last six years in Oregon.”
Hill is based in Red Bluff and can be reached at (530) 527-3101 and email@example.com.
Jasmin Ramirez Bonilla joined the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program on July 10 as a pesticide-safety education program coordinator. She is working on projects promoting pesticide safety.
Prior to joining UC ANR, she worked for the CDFA Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch as a lab technician for the molecular lab, analyzing and processing crop samples for nematode identification.
Ramirez Bonilla earned a master's degree in entomology from UC Davis and bachelor's degree in Earth systems science from UC Merced. At UC Davis, she worked under the supervision of Ian Grettenberger, UCCE specialist, on IPM in forages and vegetable crops. For her thesis, Ramirez Bonilla researched the efficacy of an experimental aggregation pheromone for the management of cucumber beetles, key pests of fresh market melons in California.
Ramirez Bonilla is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veronica Van Cleave-Hunt began a new position within UC ANR on July 5 as the UC Cooperative Extension community nutrition, health and food security advisor serving Butte, Colusa, Glen, Sutter and Yuba counties.
Before beginning her current position, Van Cleave-Hunt served for four years as a community education specialist for the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program before becoming the program supervisor serving the same counties.
“Luckily, I already have my finger on the pulse of the community in these five counties just through my experience with CalFresh. I've been able to build rapport and connections with a lot of community partners and stakeholders,” said Van Cleave-Hunt.
As an advisor, Van Cleave-Hunt will focus on nutrition, education and healthy living efforts for people who are at a disadvantage. For example, those living in food deserts and/or experiencing food insecurity – a term used to describe the societal and environmental barriers to access and manage food.
“Food security is about environment and access, but also skills related to food,” Van Cleave-Hunt said. “For instance… budgeting, even things like gardening, cooking and knowing how to prepare food so that you don't always have to buy ready-made food, or how to store things properly so that they last as long as possible.”
According to Van Cleave-Hunt, food security includes skills that will help you get the most out of the food that you have.
Currently, Van Cleave-Hunt is compiling secondary data to conduct a needs assessment. Other than engaging stakeholders such as resident service coordinators at low-income housing units or community organizations, she is also working with the State Council on Developmental Disabilities to develop healthy living trainings and curricula that will benefit communities in her counties.
Van Cleave-Hunt said that her time with UC Cooperative Extension has been a “full-circle journey” since she studied human behavior and health in school. She started her undergraduate career at Santa Rosa Junior College before transferring to California State University, Chico where she earned a bachelor's in nutrition and a master's degree in nutrition education.
Chelsey Slattery, former UCCE area nutrition, family, and consumer sciences advisor for Butte County, recruited Van Cleave-Hunt right out of college to be a UC Cooperative Extension community education specialist. Today, Van Cleave-Hunt holds the position that Slattery once did.
Van Cleave-Hunt can be reached at email@example.com and is based in Oroville.
Yu Meng, UCCE youth family and community advisor for Riverside, Imperial and San Bernardino counties, received the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Past Presidents' New Professional Award on Sept. 12 in Providence, Rhode Island.
This award recognizes outstanding accomplishments of NEAFCS members within the first five years from date of original employment with Cooperative Extension. Recipients are judged for applying their research to strengthen Extension teaching and program development to address critical concerns.
Meng, who joined UC ANR in 2019 in Imperial County, now oversees the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, 4-H Youth Development, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Master Food Preserver programs in three counties and Farm Smart at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center.
“Yu Meng is resourceful, creative, and a highly motivated applied research and extension advisor,” wrote Oli Bachie, UCCE Imperial County director, in his letter of support for her nomination.
In Imperial County, almost half of county residents are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and 74% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. To connect school district food service directors, teachers and food pantry staff with local growers, she secured grants to host a Farm to School Conference and Imperial Valley Agriculture Tour for teachers.
According to her post-conference survey, 96% of participants know where to find resources for building school gardens; 84% feel confident in engaging and facilitating farm-to-school activities; 88% say they plan to start to integrate what they learned to their work; 66% say they plan to apply for a farm-to-school grant; 87% are familiar with and understand local agriculture more after the tour.
Rachel Elkins, emeritus UCCE pomology farm advisor in Lake and Mendocino Counties, received the Lake County Farm Bureau's 2023 Agriculturalist of the Year. The award was given at their Centennial Celebration on June 24, at which they also honored centennial farming families.
Elkins, who retired in 2020, was on academic recall until March to provide pear and walnut growers with advice.
Our partners at USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture ask that recipients of USDA NIFA grants acknowledge support from the funds when writing and talking about funded projects.
“Proper acknowledgement of your public funding in published articles, manuscripts, dissertations, posters, presentations, inventions, patents and press releases is critical for the success of the agency's programs,” said Brent Elrod, NIFA's science programs officer and agency scientific and research integrity officer, during a NIFA town hall for land-grant university communicators on Sept. 29.
Please use the following language to acknowledge NIFA support in journal articles and presentations, as appropriate:
“This research was supported [in part] by the intramural research program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, [insert program type, e.g., Hatch/Evans-Allen/McIntire-Stennis, etc., and accession number, if applicable].”
In news releases and media interviews, NIFA asks that scientists note: “This work is/was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.”
If you are using logos on posters and other places, make sure you have the current NIFA logo. The official NIFA identifier was updated in November 2020 and is now comprised of the USDA logo with NIFA signature lockup. See https://www.nifa.usda.gov/nifa-19-001-official-nifa-identifier for details.
More information about NIFA acknowledgements is at https://www.nifa.usda.gov/grants/regulations-and-guidelines/acknowledgment-usda-support-nifa.
UC President Michael Drake recently approved six new members for the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The new commissioners are:
Manpreet Bains, Manseena Orchards partner, and her sister took over their parents' prune farm and started Manseena Orchards, growing prunes and walnuts. Bains serves on the Agricultural Council of California's board of directors and as an alumni liaison to the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation Education Team. She earned a bachelor's degree in international studies with an emphasis in political science from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago.
Jaron Brandon, Tuolumne County supervisor for District 5, is a Tuolumne County native who grew up in his family's music store where he experienced the challenges that face small businesses. While earning his bachelor's degree in government and political science at UC Merced, he was elected president of the Associated Students – overseeing a $1.3 million budget. He later served internships in the California State Assembly, State Senate and U.S. Congress. Brandon worked for a Bay Area tech startup doing news editorial work and became the service's editor-in-chief for the U.S. before returning to Tuolumne County to join the family business. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2020.
Matt Dias, president and chief executive officer of the California Forestry Association, graduated from Humboldt State University in 1999, then worked with the former Pacific Lumber Company through 2005. He then moved to Davenport, where he worked for Big Creek Lumber Company for over seven years. In 2012, Dias was appointed licensing officer for the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. In 2015, he was appointed executive officer for the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, a position he held until his appointment as president and CEO of Calforests in 2021. He is Registered Professional Forester #2773.
Editor's note: This new monthly feature provides an opportunity to recognize UC ANR colleagues and teams. Send your shout-outs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long honored by Yolo County supervisors
Yolo County Supervisor Angel Barajas presented Rachael Long, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, with a resolution recognizing the valuable research she has contributed to Yolo County farmers over her 37-year UC ANR career. Supervisors Jim Provenza, Lucas Frerichs and Oscar Villegas joined Barajas in thanking Long for her service. Susan Ellsworth, UCCE Capitol Corridor director, and UCCE advisors Morgan Doran and Margaret Lloyd attended the ceremony on Sept. 26.
Read about Long's career at https://bit.ly/3rkowlR.
Humiston receives Excellence in Leadership Award
Vice President Glenda Humiston was honored with the 2023 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Leadership Award for the Western Region. The award is presented to leaders who personify the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the regional associations and ESS in achieving their missions and the Land-Grant ideal.
The award, which was announced in April, was presented to Humiston on Sept. 26 at the Ag Innovation Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
FIRA attracts more than 2,000 participants
UC ANR Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey and the team at The VINE did a phenomenal job partnering with Western Growers and Global Organization for Agricultural Robotics (GOFAR) to organize the second annual FIRA USA. More than 2,000 people attended the three-day event in Salinas.
ANR celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Kudos to the Latinos and Friends Affinity Group for organizing three fantastic virtual events for Hispanic Heritage Month. Ricardo Vela, Miguel Sanchez, Arianna Nava, Doralicia Garay, Angela Johnson, Adela Contreras and Lisa Rawleigh put together these wonderful learning opportunities that are recorded and available at http://ucanr.edu/hhm2023.
Bea Nobua-Behrmann, UC Cooperative Extension urban forestry and natural resources advisor for Los Angeles County, will be on an episode of Things Green with Nick Federoff. Nobua-Behrmann will talk about shothole borers and not moving firewood to prevent the spread of the pests. Her segment on the half-hour sustainable lifestyle show with a heavy emphasis on home, garden, ag, ranching and farming is scheduled to air on Oct. 21. You can watch it at 9 a.m. on Saturday on KLCS-TV 58 or see the simulcasts on Facebook and YouTube.
- Author: Rachel Surls
How are ANR Strategic Initiatives connected with program teams and workgroups? Learn about the Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiative and the important role of allied program teams and workgroups. How do these different parts of our organization function? How do they connect? What's the best way to get involved? And how can participation result in new collaborations, peer mentoring, research projects, and publications?
Learn from a panel of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists about how they participate in program teams and workgroups. This one-hour event organized by the Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiative panel is open to everyone. It will be especially helpful for newer ANR academics as they explore UC ANR and the many ways of connecting with colleagues.
Join us on Monday, Nov. 13, from noon to 1 p.m. on Zoom:
Meeting ID: 923 4602 0490
For more information, contact Rachel Surls at email@example.com.