- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
[This story was updated July 5 to add Jennifer Henkens, 4-H community educator for UCCE Sacramento County, to the list of 4-H eLearning team members. Her name was inadvertently omitted in the original announcement.]
Eleven UC ANR teams and 21 individual staff members were among the winners of the 2017-18 UC ANR Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards.
STAR awards allow managers to nominate staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, creativity, organizational abilities, work success and teamwork. The nominations were reviewed by a panel, which made recommendations to VP Glenda Humiston.
Aileen Trujillo, UCCE community educator, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program/Youth Families and Communities Program in Santa Clara County. Upon the retirement of the youth educator, Trujillo volunteered to keep EFNEP's partnership in schools by teaching youth lessons. Her extraordinary leadership skills in both the Adult and Youth EFNEP Programs resulted in high-quality nutrition education programs being delivered in Santa Clara County.
Amy Weurdig, EFNEP community educator, UCCE Inyo and Mono counties. Weurdig's exceptional management skills have enabled her to get the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program up and going in a very short time in Inyo and Mono counties. She is currently involved with creating a better way to provide food allergy risk management for youth.
Claudia Carlos, UC CalFresh/YFC community educator, UCCE Riverside County. In the past four years, she successfully implemented the Shaping Healthy Choices Program in two middle schools. Her work has shown a huge impact in the Alvord Unified school district by helping 11 schools win national awards from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program, including one school that received the Gold Award twice.
Anna Martin, Nutrition Policy Institute policy analyst. She has done an extraordinary job managing a SNAP-Ed evaluation team. It is a large operation, with staff in Berkeley and Sacramento and with responsibilities in virtually every county in California. She assumed leadership of staff, established clear protocols, processes, and strong communications channels, and built a robust and productive team.
Danielle Lee, Nutrition Policy Institute policy analyst. Lee, who is proactive, has helped create common systems to improve tracking and coordination of NPI's many research projects, helped to create an onboarding protocol for new employees including the first NPI employee manual, leads the IRB team in developing human subject protocols, and has conducted several staff trainings. She also organizes the NPI seminar series featuring guest speakers up to three times per month.
Susan Lafferty, UC CalFresh Community Educator UCCE Kings County. She knows her county very well and recognizes its challenges and strengths. She is dedicated to meeting the needs of the people she serves. She is also an excellent teacher and has created lesson activities, games, displays, lesson visuals, and so much more to enhance lesson delivery in the classroom.
Evelyn Morales, UC CalFresh/YFC community educator, UCCE Fresno and Madera counties. She manages several projects such as Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, the Fresno State Dietetic Intern rotation, planning and organizing healthy food tastings, all while serving a large rural school. Morales was asked to join FreshGrub, a Fresno County Farm to School project, which was outside her normal scope of work. The success of this tasting event was highlighted by the local news media and is considered a best practice model for other school districts to procure food from local farmers and offer it to students in their school meals.
Janessa Hartmann, UC CalFresh and YFC community educator, UCCE Shasta and Trinity counties. Directly supervising nine employees working out of three county offices, she has done a tremendous job ensuring the UC CalFresh program is efficiently implemented in Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties.
Marcie Valenzuela, assistant, Business Operations Center in Davis. In her capacity as the area telecommunications representative, Valenzuela has been able to adapt and resolve complicated and time-sensitive situations, including replacing lost or damaged cellphones.
Butte Cluster Nutrition: Jona Pressman, Suzie Lawry-Hall, Shyra Murrey, Chelsey Slattery, Sonia Rodriguez, Tracy Yang, Gail Bertagna, Alexandra Faulk, Jamie Chapman, Socorro Gutierrez, Melissa Vang, Rita Palmer, Karina Hathorn and Samantha Macomber
This team significantly contributed to UC ANR's Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative through the coordination and implementation of the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties.
4H eLearning: Jennifer Henkens, Dawn Fuller, David Alamillo, Russell Hill, JoLynn Miller, Claudia Diaz, Lupita Fabregas, Whitney Bell, Scott Mautte, Gemma Miner, Esther Rodriguez, Darlene Ruiz, Shannon Horrillo, Jose Campos, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Brian Oatman and Julie Frazell
This team of county-based and state 4-H staff and advisors and staff from Environmental Health & Safety developed standardized trainings for volunteers. 4-H launched a new series of e-learning courses for new and returning volunteers in July 2017. Importantly, one of the courses in the series, “Interculturally Connected 4-H,” fulfilled a federal requirement for UC 4-H to offer a cultural awareness training to all 4-H adult volunteers. Approximately 8,000 adult volunteers have taken the courses and increased their skills as adult role models for 110,000 youths.
Alameda County UC CalFresh: Leticia Christian, Morgan Cooper, Max Fairbee and Yolanda Silva
The educators have helped thousands of high-risk Alameda County residents, from preschoolers to seniors, learn about the importance of eating healthy and being active.
4-H Latino Initiative: Yolva Gil, UCCE Riverside; Jose Campos, UCCE Merced;Esther Rodriguez, UCCE Kern; Araceli Hernandez, UCCE Orange; Diego Mariscal, UCCE Sonoma;Darlene Ruiz, UCCE Monterey; Andrea Borunda, UCCE Santa Barbara; and Janelle Hansen, UCCE Santa Barbara
This team, along with 4-H advisors and Lupita Fabregas, began introducing 4-H to California's Latino Youth. Their effort and impacts have been recognized by state and local officials, UC administration, volunteers and institutions. They have also been acknowledged at the national level by USDA-NIFA and 4-H Council for becoming the largest and most effective Latino initiative in 4-H in the United States.
ANR Davis Parking Lot: Michael Zwahlen, Rhett Woerly and Jeff Couture
The exceptional work of the Parking Lot Project Team provided not only a timely completion but also an additional 92 parking spaces, along with an additional storage unit. This project was done on an accelerated schedule with parking available three months after starting construction. The team saved over $42,000 by successful negotiation and donations. They did an outstanding job coordinating with the City of Davis, PG&E, the design engineer, the contractor and the users of the lot.
Program Support Unit: Sherry Cooper, Saundra Wais, Lauren McNees, Kellie McFarland and Rachel Palmer
“The PSU team is highly responsive and goes above and beyond to make sure that ANR is successful,” said Humiston. “They performed exceptionally in organizing the 2018 Statewide Conference as well as managing regional meetings and other events in the past year for both internal and external clients. Their dedication, creativity, organizational abilities, and teamwork, have given ANR the ability to share with its strategic partners and internally many opportunities to see and hear what staff and academics across UC ANR are doing and as well as share their own work during a wide array of events and workshops. Through the development of meeting agendas, facilitation, recording, logistics to working with the leaders of the Strategic Initiatives to plan, coordinate and conduct meetings, the Program Support Unit are solution-focused and add tremendous value.”
REC Rate & Recharge: Deb Driskill and Han Pham
In 2017, ANR Leadership asked the Research and Extension Center System to develop a five-year financial plan to reduce reliance on central funds, provide funding for maintenance and repair of centers and to re-invest in the RECs. As part of this plan, a methodology to increase cost recovery from research and extension activities was developed. Pham developed new rate paperwork tool, then he and Driskill worked with each center's leadership to determine the true costs of research, operations and crops sold for income. In addition to the intended purpose, the tool provides center management the ability to understand, budget, account for and plan the most effective and efficient way to use their resources. The updated rate paperwork tool can be used for all areas of REC operations including facilities, residents, laboratories and outreach, and is now being used by all ANR departments that are recharging for services.
ANR Staff Assembly: Nikolai Schweitzer, LeChé McGill, Jeannette Warnert, Lori Renstrom, Matt Baur, Christina Adamson and Karina Macias
Working voluntarily during lunch, before and after work hours, the Staff Assembly Council provides exceptional service beyond their normal job duties for the betterment of all ANR staff. They formed Staff Assembly Ambassadors, composed of representatives from almost all ANR offices who serve as liaisons between Staff Assembly Council and local ANR staff. In addition to sharing personal and professional development opportunities, staff can share concerns and issues with Staff Assembly.
Compensation/Payroll: Jennifer Crouch, Patricia Glass, Ann Pohl, Joyce Hatanaka, Cindy Inouye, William Moua, Linda Doi and Soo Hsieh
UCOP Reorganization Proposal: Jennifer Bunge, Yuhang Shi, Sonia Scott, Jing Yu, Monica Stuart, Kathryn Stein, Jake McGuire, Robin Sanchez, Anne Megaro
In January 2018, UC Office of President initiated conversation for reorganization of UC headquarters. In examining the relationship between UC headquarters, UC campuses and the UC mission, The Huron Consulting Group made recommendations that would, if implemented, make extensive structural changes to ANR and impair the ability to deliver our public service mission.
At the request of the UC president, the UCOP Reorganization Team produced an alternate proposal in less than three weeks, in spite of the amount of legal and organizational research, reviews of past audits, and consideration of every aspect of our organization required. The proposal requires regental approval, but it is sufficiently compelling that it is a center piece of the material to be used by the President's Advisory Committee, which will advise the president on the future state of ANR.
Yolo County UC CalFresh: Angela Asch, Lisa Gonzales, Ruth Chun Reyes, Mayra Diaz, Delynda Elridge, Christie Hedrick
The Yolo County UC CalFresh team created the integrated Yolo County 4-H and UC CalFresh Cooking Academy to bring the best youth development principles of 4-H and the best nutrition skill building resources of UC CalFresh to children in 4th and 5th grades throughout the community. They worked to help other counties to do the same, serving as mentors, developing additional materials, and evaluating the program.