Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. Awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics. Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader.
Congratulations to the 2020 DSA recipients!
Outstanding Research – Carlos Crisosto
Carlos Crisosto, Cooperative Extension postharvest physiology specialist, has demonstrated an exceptional research program with impacts on both the California food industry and consumers through his work on postharvest handling of tree fruits and nuts. His work has had a high impact on food loss reduction, improvement of fruit quality and safety, and expansion of markets for California agriculture. Highlights of Crisosto's work include his incorporation of consumer perceptions into the measurement of fruit quality, collaborative development and implementation of protocols for fruit ripening, transportation and retail handling, and research into consumer perceptions of different cultivars. His outstanding research has been coupled with an outreach and education program that included extension through site visits, in-person workshops, short courses, manuals, popular articles, websites and collaboration. In addition to his academic successes, Crisosto was awarded the Industry Distinguished Service & Achievement Award by the California fig industry in recognition of supporting cultivar development, improving marketing and utilization of dried and fresh figs over his career. The success of Crisosto's program is a testament to the outstanding work in applied research that can be accomplished through UC ANR.
Outstanding Extension – Andrew Sutherland
Andrew Sutherland has shaped his program based on his clientele needs since the beginning of his career at UC ANR and has had great success implementing pest management programs in urban areas. He has done an extensive amount of work on bed bug, termite and cockroach control. He has worked with several agencies including structural pest control businesses, public health nurses, multifamily housing managers and UC Master Gardeners to deliver practical information on pest management. One ongoing project that has both a public health and an environmental impact in California is bait station systems for control of subterranean termites. The project is evaluating efficacy and costs associated with bait systems and looking into alternatives to liquid termicides, which have been identified as serious environmental contaminants in California's surface water systems. His work has benefited urban populations in general, but has also reached underserved communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sutherland has made a great effort to reach out to Hispanic audiences, producing materials in Spanish and hosting public presentations and outreach events in low-income areas of his territory. Sutherland has collaborated with industry leaders on applied research projects that take economic challenges into consideration when designing programs that would be beneficial and relevant to his clientele.
Outstanding New Academic – Mae Culumber
Mae Culumber has been the UCCE nut crops advisor in Fresno County since June 2016. Culumber has developed an outstanding applied research program in only 4 years, which addresses clientele needs and is in alignment with the ANR Strategic Vision. Her work provides innovative solutions to identify orchard management practices that maximize the efficient use of water and nutrient resources, and promote biochemical and physical soil characteristics that will lead to improvements in soil health and enhanced vigor and productivity of nut crops. Culumber's work primarily focused on innovative efforts that improved food system productivity. Culumber established successful collaborations with advisors and specialists from UC Cooperative Extension, faculty from UC Davis Plant Sciences, and scientists from USDA-ARS Davis and Parlier to examine greenhouse gas emissions, and soil biochemical carbon and nitrogen dynamics in newly established orchards after whole orchard recycling. Her leadership of this basic and applied research team is exceptional for a newer advisor in the Assistant Rank. Culumber recognizes and invests in developing useful information, strategies and trainings to impact and improve clientele practices, that also have statewide public value by protecting California's natural resources.
Outstanding Team – AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team
This team of UCCE specialists and advisors rapidly developed and coordinated a training program that met the needs of UC ANR's farming and ranching clientele, in a cost-effective and timely manner. California Senate Bill 88 requires that all water rights holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 acre feet per year measure and report the water they divert to the State. For most ranchers and diverters impacted by SB 88, complying with the reporting requirements is expensive and burdensome. The cost and availability of professionals to design, install and calibrate diversion measurement systems resulted in a grassroots effort by California Cattlemen's Association and California Farm Bureau to seek an educational alternative for surface water diverters. With support from the University of California, Assembly Bill 589 (AB 589) was introduced and carried. It passed through the Assembly and the Senate with no opposition and was signed by Governor Brown. The bill allows diverters that complete the UC course to install and maintain measurement devices to comply with SB 88, saving them time and money. Working with industry (California Cattlemen's Association) and regulators (State Water Resources Control Board), the UC team provided a huge service to farming and ranching clientele and the state. This is a true testament to UC ANR's ability to work with groups of differing interests in order to reach a common goal. The UC team has conducted 20 workshops since the bill was passed and certified over 1,200 diverters. One letter of reference indicated a cost savings of more than $4,000 on his ranch alone.
The AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team includes:
- Larry Forero, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Shasta & Trinity
- Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
- Allan Fulton, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor, Tehama, Glenn, Colusa & Shasta
- Daniele Zaccaria, associate UCCE specialist, UC Davis
- Theresa Becchetti, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Stanislaus & San Joaquin
- Josh Davy, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Tehama, Glenn & Colusa
- Morgan Doran, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Yolo, Sacramento & Solano
- Julie Finzel, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Tulare, Kings, & Kern
- Cari Koopmann Rivers, former UCCE livestock and natural resource advisor, Siskiyou
- Glenn McGourty, UCCE viticulture advisor, Mendocino & Lake
- Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE livestock advisor, Fresno
- Devii Rao, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, San Benito & Monterey
- Tracy Schohr, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Butte, Plumas & Sierra
- Scott Stoddard, UCCE vegetable crops and soils advisor, Merced
- Matthew Shapero, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Ventura & Santa Barbara
- Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture advisor, Sonoma
- Laura Snell, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Modoc
- Jeff Stackhouse, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Humboldt & Del Norte
- Julé Rizzardo, assistant deputy director, Division of Water Rights, State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in Sacramento
- Kyle Ochenduszko, deputy public works director, City of Benicia
- Brian Coats, senior water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
- Jeff Yeazell, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
- Chuck Arnold, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
Outstanding Leader – Katherine Soule
Katherine Soule holds several formal leadership roles in ANR including leading several statewide programs locally, serving as director of UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as Academic Assembly Council President. Soule holds informal leadership roles as a mentor and colleague. Outside of ANR, she leads a national working group, is a local non-profit board member, and leads research and development for a professional organization. When Soule became county director (July 2017), she began strategic planning focused on building relationships with key stakeholders (administrative, clientele, academics and community partners) and addressing the needs, opportunities and challenges UCCE faces in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Her efforts focused on improving fiscal management, increasing understanding of UCCE, and eliminating program inefficiencies.
Soule uses strengths-based leadership and her leadership position to support and communicate the goals of academics' programs and their successes, while ensuring the fiscal resources needed to carry out their visions. She recognizes the strength and expertise of those she leads and provides others with meaningful opportunities to develop shared visions and long-term objectives. She has supported the development and advancement of several team members, who have completed advanced degrees while working for UCCE, taken higher-level positions, and increased their professional contributions to their respective fields. She is sought throughout the ANR system to provide guidance and support for academics, statewide leaders and other personnel.