- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Cuong Nguyen joined UC Cooperative Extension on Nov. 1 as an assistant food safety and organic production area advisor for Imperial and Riverside counties.
“Organic produce has a shorter shelf life and is more susceptible to outbreaks, recalls and foodborne illness due to the lack of chemical sanitizers and fungicides,” Nguyen said. “Therefore, my future research agenda will continue the focus on improving the quality and safety of organic produce commodities by developing alternatives to chemical fumigations/fungicides, as well as organic pest management without the use of chemical sanitizer or pesticide.”
While earning his Ph.D. in food science at UC Davis, Nguyen developed two novel sanitizing platforms for surface decontamination and liquid systems disinfection. The two systems involve the newly discovered synergistic disinfection effect between natural antimicrobials and UV-A light treatment or ultrasound treatment.
“I am also interested in rapid detection methods using bacteriophage targeting foodborne microbes, and microscopic detection of bacterial microcolonies for early screening and prevention of foodborne outbreaks,” he said.
Nguyen earned a master's degree at Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan, where he studied sensory and food safety quality of meat, and a bachelor's degree in agriculture at Nong Lam University in Vietnam, where he studied postharvest technologies for food and vegetable commodities. He is fluent in English, Japanese and Vietnamese.
Nguyen is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7700 and email@example.com.
Yu-Chen Wang joined UC Cooperative Extension Oct. 3 as a plant pathology advisor for Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.
“Vegetable and berry are the major crops I work on currently,” said Wang, who will be working with a wide range of crops and different cropping systems on the Central Coast. “So far, I have been contacted by a wide range of growers – including (those who grow) lettuce, broccoli, pepper, celery, bean, apple, strawberry and blackberry – about their disease problems. I am passionate about providing insight to help the community on their disease problems.”
“The lettuce industry here is suffering from impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) vectored by Western flower thrip along with soilborne diseases,” she said. Lettuce growers in the Salinas Valley lost an estimated $50 million to $100 million last year and a lettuce supply shortage occurred. Working alongside fellow advisors, UC specialists and industry partners, Wang will be seeking long-term solutions for the industry.
Prior to becoming a UCCE advisor, Wang worked at AVRDC-World Vegetable Center, for a vegetable seed company, and at UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center on research and development.
Wang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan, earned her B.S. and M.S. in horticultural and crop science at National Taiwan University. She earned a second M.S. in plant protection from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
“The idea of farmers feeding the world and awareness of crop loss by pests motivated me to pursue a career in agriculture and plant protection,” she said. “During my M.S. at Cal Poly, I worked closely with the California strawberry growers on industry-oriented research. I look forward to extending my study to vegetable and berry crops and serving the farming community.”
Wang is based in Watsonville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (831) 201-9689.
Ashley Hooper joined UC ANR on Sept. 1 as the UC Cooperative Extension urban community resiliency advisor in Los Angeles County, a brand-new position. In her role, Hooper is tasked with working with communities who have historically been disadvantaged due to inequitable systems and/or policies.
In collaboration with the community, Hooper will lead efforts focused on building resilience and adaptive capacity. This could look like increasing the community's access to capital, green space, transportation, nutritious food or education.
She already has leveraged data, collected by different organizations, to conduct a content analysis of needs assessments across dimensions of community resilience, such as access to parks and healthcare. Then, as next steps, she will prioritize interviews and field observations.
During her master's program, Hooper worked as a research assistant for the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, where she led interviews with community members facing or trying to counter various inequities like limited access to broadband, housing and health care. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she focused on identifying barriers to and opportunities for resilient food systems in Los Angeles County.
After attending the California Economic Summit in October, Hooper shared her excitement for the prospect of using the arts in building community resilience.
“I went to a creative-economy working group session, and I was reminded of how much the arts and cultural community has to offer in the process of building adaptive capacity in communities,” she said.
Hooper earned a Ph.D. in urban and environmental planning and policy from UC Irvine. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in water resources with a concentration in policy and management from the University of New Mexico.
Hooper is based out of the UCCE office in Los Angeles County and can be reached at email@example.com.
Rachel Lee joined UC ANR on Nov. 1 as director of publishing. She oversees the team producing books, journals and other publications that showcase and support the work of UC ANR.
Lee brings years of publishing experience. Prior to joining UC ANR, Lee was publications manager for three years at eScholarship Publishing, an open-access publishing platform managed by UC's California Digital Library. She moved from the United Kingdom to the Bay Area in 2000 to work for UC Press as a marketing communications writer.
In 2006, she went to work for Oxford-based REL Consulting as a library relations manager, then returned to UC Press in 2007 for 12 years, first as a library relations manager, later as journals manager.
She earned a B.A. in history and politics at Oxford Polytechnic in Oxford, UK. She can converse in French, German and basic Italian and Dutch.
Lee is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1352 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audrey McDaniel joined UC ANR on Oct. 27 as an administrative officer with the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program. She coordinates administrative and human resources services for the statewide CFHL, UC program.
McDaniel will support CFHL, UC hiring activity in coordination with local programmatic departments, Human Resources, Business Operations and the CFHL, UC State Office. This position is 100% funded by CFHL, UC as a pilot position.
Her work experience ranges from working in corporate environments to tech and tech startup spaces helping entrepreneurs and executives build and grow their businesses by proactively finding ways to support, improve and/or develop their systems.
McDaniel's previous employers include Zynga, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Troika Media Group, Care.com, and smaller startups like HomeHero. She has also worked as a creative director for Harvey Health, focusing on integrative medicine, working side by side with naturopathic doctors.
McDaniel is located in the UC ANR Second Street building in Davis in office 153A and can be reached at email@example.com or (530) 390-9753.
Emma Tribble joined UC ANR on Oct. 13 as the new writer/editor for the Office of Pesticide Information and Coordination (OPIC) within the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. She also will serve as a writer/editor for the Western IPM Center.
Tribble recently graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and minor in English. She published “Exploring the Effects of a Neglected Area” – about improving students' curiosity and engagement in science – in the Journal of College Science Teaching and is a co-author on a manuscript published in the Canadian Journal of Chemistry.
Tribble is located in the UC ANR Second Street building in Davis in office 127 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Escondido recently honored Oli Bachie, UCCE agronomy and weed management advisor for Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties and county director for San Diego and Imperial counties, for his service. On behalf of the city council, Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara proclaimed Oct. 21, 2022, “Dr. Oli G. Bachie Day.”
The proclamation notes Bachie has conducted research-based technical and educational services, including crop productivity, sustainability and alternative resource efficient crops. He has researched the best resources and pest management practices as well as the economic benefits for environmental and ecological compatibility. He has provided business assistance through grower and farm industry needs assessments in the City of Escondido and the Southern California Region.
He also has volunteered his time as a mentor to startup businesses and entrepreneurs during the inaugural San Diego AgTech Startup Hackathon weekend created by the City of Escondido in partnership with Fresh Brewed Tech.
It concludes: “Dr. Oli G. Bachie's vision to explore the future of agriculture and agtech has been a true asset for the City of Escondido.”
Bachie is working with the city to develop an agtech incubator to support entrepreneurs and encourage innovation.
Steve Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist and professor of extension in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, will be a keynote speaker at the International Weed Science Congress scheduled on Dec. 4-9 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Fennimore's research is focused on weed management in vegetables, flowers and strawberries. He spends most of his time working in coastal production areas between Watsonville and Oxnard. His program combines chemical and nonchemical methods, for both organic and conventional systems with the objective of containing or reducing weed management costs. Recently, his research has focused on development of automated weeding systems to mitigate the severe labor shortages in California, and development of field-scale steam applicators to reduce the need for chemical fumigation in sensitive sites and near urban areas.
His talk, which is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5, at 1:30 p.m., is titled “Advances in Weed Robotics for Site Specific Weed Management.”
“To be a keynote speaker at the IWSC is a big deal in the weed science world,” said Gale Perez, public education specialist for the UC Weed Research & Information Center.