- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Flavie Audoin (pronounced Flah-vee Oh-dwan) joined UCCE Central Sierra on Jan. 17 as a livestock and natural resources area advisor serving Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties.
For the last six years, Audoin has been studying the seasonal grazing behavior, diet selection, and meat characteristics of range-fed Raramuri Criollo cattle in southeastern Arizona. Audoin worked directly with Deb and Dennis Moroney, who introduced Criollo cattle in southeastern Arizona about 10 years ago. This experience in the United States provided Audoin with knowledge and skills in rangelands, livestock production (cattle and sheep), direct marketing and science communication. In addition to working on her research, she has also been able to improve her skills as a ranch hand – branding, gathering cattle horseback in rough country, using low-stress livestock handling methods, sheep shearing, fixing fences and water lines, and marketing meat directly to consumers.
Before starting her Ph.D., Audoin was an advisor to beef producers in France and worked for nine years at France's leading brand of packaged meats and meat products while studying.
Born and raised in France, Audoin earned a bachelor's degree in life sciences Notre Dame de Bonnes Nouvelles, Beaupréau, and technical degree in agronomy with a major in crop and animal production at IUT Angers-Cholet, Angers, then completed an engineering degree in agronomy (equivalent to a masters' degree in the U.S.) with a major in breeding and systems of production at at VetAgro Sup, Clermont-Ferrand. She completed a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Arizona, where her research focused on ecology, management and restoration of rangelands, with a minor in animal science. She also received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of Arizona.
Audoin is based in Calaveras and can be reached at email@example.com and (209) 454-8472.
Erik Porse joined UC ANR as the director of the California Institute for Water Resources on Jan. 11.
Porse has built an outstanding career in water as a research engineer with the Office of Water Programs at California State University, Sacramento and an assistant adjunct professor with UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. His research focuses on urban and water resources management. He specializes in bringing together interdisciplinary teams to investigate complex environmental management questions.
Porse earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering (water resources) from UC Davis and a master's degree in public policy (science and technology) from George Mason University. His professional experience includes international work and teaching in Mexico, Europe, Japan and East Africa. He has authored over 50 reports and peer-reviewed articles.
Porse is located at UC ANR's 2nd Street Building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samuel Ikendi joined UC ANR on Dec. 12 as an academic coordinator for climate-smart agriculture.
As an academic coordinator, Ikendi will work with farmers and ranchers, state and federal agencies, campus-based academics and Cooperative Extension academics across the state to implement climate smart agriculture education through workshops and training. He will develop outreach materials such as curricula and fact sheets.
Before joining UC ANR, he worked at Iowa State University as a postdoctoral research associate on a project to establish core concepts to improve graduate plant-breeding education, curriculum development, and monitoring. He also worked for the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Iowa State University's Uganda Program in Uganda, where he developed performance tracking indicators, conducted the annual evaluation, and developed privacy data protection documents. As an intern with ISU Extension and Outreach, he assisted the county outreach coordinators with delivering research-based educational programming to promote positive youth development.
Ikendi earned a Ph.D. in agricultural extension education and dual master's degrees in community and regional planning and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. He earned a bachelor's degree in agribusiness management from Makerere University, Kampala in Uganda.
Ikendi is based at UC Merced in the Sustainability Research & Engineering Building and can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ikendi.samuel and LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/samuel-ikendi-ph-d-93696b55.
Janessa Hartmann joined UC ANR on Nov. 1 as the UCCE community health and nutrition advisor for Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties to promote education and advance policy, systems and environmental changes that benefit local communities.
Having lived and worked in Shasta County for over a decade, Hartmann is committed to improving the region's health and wellness. She will be developing an integrated and equitable health and nutrition program, applying the latest research and data to address needs identified by the community – especially those of vulnerable populations such as older foster youth.
In addition to focusing on positive youth development, Hartmann also aims to improve food security by expanding access to affordable and healthy food.
“I hope to support community partners in health and nutrition across our region, and amplify existing effective programs,” she said. “I also look forward to working alongside the awesome CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California nutrition education program.”
Although Hartmann began her career in the environmental remediation field, she later worked on food sovereignty and security issues in central Mexico as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 2016, she became the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program supervisor for Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties. Subsequently, Hartmann joined Shasta County Public Health, where, during the height of the pandemic, she served as director of the COVID-19 Child Care, School and Higher Education Unit.
Hartmann earned her B.S. in environmental science from Georgia College and State University, an M.S. in environmental science and engineering from Colorado School of Mines and another M.S. in nutritional science from California State University, Chico.
Based at the UC Cooperative Extension Shasta County office in Redding, Hartmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie Reidy joined UC ANR on Dec. 5 as the statewide postfire academic coordinator. She will be overseeing a postfire forest resilience education program for private forest landowners. Reidy will coordinate weekly educational workshops held on Zoom with lessons catered to specific ecosystems, and collaboration with local agencies to promote post-fire education. The goal is to help fire-affected communities begin the process of reversing the ecological, economic and environmental impacts of fire.
Reidy grew up in Chicago, but moved south and received an undergraduate degree from University of North Carolina, Asheville. In 2016, she became an environmental educator at Yosemite National Park. In 2020, she moved to Plumas County and worked for the Feather River Resource Conservation District and began to understand the complexities of natural resource management and the implications of fire on the local landscapes. This compelled her to earn a master's degree in environmental studies with a certificate in science communications and environmental education at the University of Idaho.
After personal experience with catastrophic fire, she is eager and ready to connect and assist communities as the postfire academic coordinator, to combine her passion for ecology and forestry management with outreach and education.
In her free time, Reidy enjoys whitewater kayaking on local rivers, mountain biking, backpacking in the mountains, bird watching and baking bread.
Prakash Kumar Jha joined UC ANR as an assistant project scientist on Nov. 1 and is responsible for developing decision support tools that help growers understand and minimize climate risks, specifically CalAgroClimate.
Prior to coming to California, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow for over five years in Italy, Spain and Colombia. Jha is eager to understand what California's climate will look like in the next five to 10 years. Currently, he is working with climate prediction systems to determine future weather conditions, which growers can use to prepare for situations like low versus high chill hours, shortage of irrigation water and high temperature stress in plants.
Jha recognizes that areas currently used for agriculture might not be suitable for some crops a couple of years from now. For example, Jha is identifying which geographical areas growers should invest in while considering factors such as regulations limiting water use. His work will help growers consider the long-term implications of the decisions they make today.
Before earning a Ph.D. in science management of climate change from the University of Venice Ca' Foscari, Italy, he completed two master's degrees – one in climate change adaptation from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, and another in sociology from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Originally from Nepal, Jha is excited about the diversity of crops the California offers. “I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge, especially in tomatoes, cottons, almonds and pistachios,” he said.
Jha is based at the UC Merced-Sierra Nevada Research Institute and can be reached at email@example.com.
Fatemeh Khodadadi joined UC Riverside in October as an assistant professor of extension in the Department of Plant Pathology. She brings expertise in fungal and bacterial diseases of fruit and nut trees and an increasing interest in subtropical plant diseases caused by a variety of plant pathogens.
Khodadadi's research focuses on plant pathogens and disease management strategies for subtropical trees, especially citrus and avocado. She studies identification, characterization and development of molecular methods to detect fungal, bacterial and viral diseases affecting citrus and avocado, including but not limited to avocado branch canker and dieback caused by Botryosphaeria species, phytophthora root rot, sweet orange scab caused by Elsinöe australis, avocado sunblotch viroid and other problematic pathogens on citrus and avocado in California. She also studies the citrus and avocado defense responses to pathogens and the efficacy of fungicides and bactericides.
Before joining UC Cooperative Extension, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell University and Virginia Tech conducting research in bacteriology, mycology, genomics, plant pathology and plant disease management focusing on Colletotrichum species (bitter rot of apple), Erwinia amylovora (fire blight), and Diplocarpon coronaria (apple leaf and fruit blotch).
She identified, described and characterized for the first time a new Colletotrichum species that causes apple bitter rot and belongs to the C. gloeosporioides species complex. Her team named it C. noveboracense.
Khodadadi earned her M.S. and Ph.D. at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran. For her M.S., she studied aflatoxin-producing fungi contaminating pistachio. In her Ph.D. research, partly conducted at UC Davis, she studied the interaction between walnut and bacterial blight disease caused by Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis (Xaj).
Khodadadi is based in the UC Riverside Department of Microbiology & Plant Pathology and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (951) 827-4764. She will be posting about her research at https://subtropicalplantpathology.com/category/blog-posts/.
Jessica Falor-Ward has joined Development Services as a major gift officer with a focus on individual giving. Falor-Ward brings over eight years of experience in higher education development.
Most recently she served as the development and external relations manager with the UC Davis Graduate Studies unit, where she planned and implemented the unit's donor development and external relations fundraising, communications and outreach strategy, including establishing the first philanthropic advisory board. In this role, Falor-Ward successfully raised funds in support of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
Prior to her career in higher education development, Falor-Ward worked in the communications industry as a digital marketing representative in San Francisco. She served as an adjunct professor delivering lectures on topics such as principles of management, international management and business conversation while she and her husband lived and worked in South Korea.
Falor-Ward holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in business administration from Humboldt State University.
She is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Cheryl Wilen, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus, received the Jake Sigg Award for Vision and Dedicated Service from the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal IPC) at their annual meeting in November.
During her 25-year UCCE career, Wilen served as IPM advisor for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Her research and extension focused on weed management in urban, agricultural and wildland settings. She advised UC on decisions regarding glyphosate use and helped schools and municipalities reduce the use of toxic pesticides and implement the most effective non-chemical pest management techniques. She also provided information incorporated into UC IPM's interactive online tool WeedCUT.
Wilen also served UC ANR in a wide variety of leadership and academic capacities. She served as acting and interim director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, program leader of UC ANR's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative, and as county director in San Diego County. After her retirement in 2020, Wilen returned for six months to serve as interim director of UCCE San Diego County.
Ana Medina, office operations manager, was selected the Employee of the Year for UCCE Marin County. Because UCCE is also considered a department of Marin County government, Medina is part of the 2022 Marin Employee of the Year Class.
“Ana Medina has been the foundation allowing our programs to successfully navigate and continue to provide service going into and coming out of the pandemic,” said David Lewis, director of UCCE Marin County.
In March 2020, when stay-at-home orders were issued to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Medina rapidly learned how to use Zoom and helped move Master Gardener training online. When the UCCE environmental horticulture advisor initiated the Green Gardener certification program, Medina translated the course into Spanish – including nine multi-hour classroom and Zoom classes and two half-day field trips – and voiced public service announcements on Spanish radio stations.
During disasters, Medina has contributed to Marin County's response. Early in the pandemic, she worked a day a week – and later on an on-call basis – in the Emergency Operations Center providing Spanish translation support. She also assisted with screening and processing at the Bank of the West testing center in San Rafael. Additionally, she provided translation and voiceover support in Spanish for PSAs directed by the Public Information Office.
“Ana routinely asked to take on these roles and still maintained her workload and a commitment to our department's operations and services,” Lewis said.
In the UCCE office, Medina led the installation of a Dia de los Muertos altar, which has become a multidepartment event with approximately 25 team members joining annually to learn about the meaning of this Mexican tradition and participating in its commemoration.
She also makes sure new UCCE employees feel welcome and are successfully integrated, serving as a resource as they learn systems.
“Ana's attention to details and commitment to work in advance of new hire arrivals has been the reason our newest team members have hit the ground running,” Lewis said.