- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Giuliano Galdi joined UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County on May 1 as an agronomy and crops advisor. In Merced, he will be working with alfalfa, corn, cotton, and small grain crops, as well as helping with weed management and other issues related to crop production.
He had served as a UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor in Siskiyou County since 2019.
While in Siskiyou County, he worked on managing blue alfalfa aphids and investigating crop injury to Roundup Ready alfalfa with Rob Wilson, director of Intermountain Research and Extension Center and UCCE in Siskiyou County; and Tom Getts, UCCE weed and crop systems advisor for Lassen County. Galdi also conducted research on irrigation efficiency, winter groundwater recharge, and soil moisture sensors.
Prior to joining UCCE, Galdi was a junior specialist at UC Davis (May 2017–December 2018), where he worked on a variety of field trials, mainly alfalfa and forage crops, with the objective of improving the sustainability of water use and hay quality. As a master's student and student research assistant at Fresno State, Galdi evaluated salinity tolerance in different alfalfa varieties. He speaks Portuguese fluently.
Galdi earned a M.S. in plant sciences from Fresno State and a B.S. in agronomy engineering from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Galdi is based in Merced and can be reached at (209) 385-7403 and email@example.com.
Clarissa Reyes joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as an orchard systems advisor. Her role focuses on walnut, cling peach and kiwifruit production in Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Placer counties. Reyes serves as a point of contact for orchard owners when they need support diagnosing problems and solving them.
Reyes is excited about developing climate-adapted management practices and working with the recently expanded team of orchard advisors serving the northern Sacramento Valley, but she also anticipates encountering some challenges.
“Some of the challenges I expect to face are low crop prices despite increasing costs to farmers, including labor and inputs; water scarcity; and more frequent and higher temperature heat waves affecting fruit development and quality,” explained Reyes.
Reyes earned a master's degree in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. She also earned a bachelor's degree in biology from UC San Diego.
When describing her journey into agriculture, Reyes said that she “likes the way food makes it easy to connect with people.” She also said that after realizing a career in biotech was “not a good fit,” she let her love for gardening alter her career path.
“I'm really into food systems and food is an important part of culture,” said Reyes. “So, it was the overlap of research and food. Even though the science part can go over someone's head, everyone understands food.”
Before joining Cooperative Extension, she worked as a junior specialist studying plant-water relations at UC Davis. While her research was focused on grapevines, she started working with walnut trees, which exposed her to opportunities in orchard systems. Afterwards, she became a staff research associate in orchards systems in Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties.
Reyes is based out of the UC Cooperative Extension office in Yuba City and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Sedell joined UC ANR on May 16 as a program policy analyst with Program Planning and Evaluation. Sedell will be managing the UC Delivers Blog, leading publication of future UC ANR annual reports, and providing analytical support to Vice President Glenda Humiston, among other projects.
Before joining UC ANR, she worked at UC Davis for over 10 years in the Departments of Entomology and Human Ecology, and with senior leadership for Undergraduate Education. She completed her master's in community development and Ph.D. in geography at UC Davis with a focus on agricultural and environmental policy. Her research has been published in Geoforum, Food, Culture and Society, Liberal Education, and the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
Sedell brings experience assessing projects and programs. With partners in entomology and human ecology, she evaluated community perceptions of plant-health emergency programs in California. The work resulted in the USDA accepting several recommendations to improve community engagement in their emergency response system. Most recently, she evaluated efforts to make agricultural education more equitable, inclusive and culturally responsive for the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute, which used to include UC ANR's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
Over her career, Sedell has worked with government agencies and community-based organizations to identify community needs. She has collaborated on institutional and programmatic strategic plans. In addition to her work at UC Davis, Sedell has worked at the American Red Cross managing AmeriCorps programs across Oregon. Prior to that, she coordinated programming for the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center in Portland as an AmeriCorps member.
Sedell is based at UCOP in the Franklin Building in Oakland and can be reached at email@example.com and (510) 987-0199.
Duwon Choi joined Risk and Safety Services on March 20 as an environmental health and safety specialist.
Along with his Risk and Safety Services colleagues, Choi is responsible for overseeing safety and environmental aspects of programs and research at UC ANR. He is currently focusing on ergonomics to make sure every ANR staff member can work in a comfortable setting.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Choi worked as an EH&S specialist at Mare Island Drydock in Vallejo, maintaining vessels for the Navy, Coast Guard and various ship liners.
Choi graduated from UC Davis in 2015 with a B.S. in neurobiology, physiology and behavior and a minor in Art Studio, with an original ambition to pursue dentistry, but he switched to environmental health and safety.
“In my spare time,” he says, “you can catch me traveling off somewhere in the world, going skiing at Lake Tahoe in the winter, or being a butler to my tuxedo cat, Bomi.”
Choi is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (530) 240-7146.
Jacob Paradise joined Risk and Safety Services on April 24 as an environmental health and safety specialist.
Paradise will be assisting Risk & Safety in environmental stewardship and compliance, emergency preparedness and response efforts, institutional resiliency and continuity of operations, as well as integration of new software and tools from the systemwide Risk & Safety Solutions team.
Prior to joining UC ANR, he worked in waste diversion, wine and hospitality. Paradise, who moved to Davis from Oakland two years ago, earned a degree in environmental studies from San Francisco State University.
Paradise is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Harris honored by University of Wisconsin-Madison institute
In her lectureship presentation, “Nuts! How a foodborne outbreak serendipitously shaped a career,” Harris described how in 2001, an outbreak of salmonellosis was linked, for the first time, to consumption of raw California almonds.
The traceback investigation identified the outbreak strain in the almonds at retail and all along the supply chain back to the orchard. As the outbreak investigation was winding down, her laboratory was beginning what became a 20+ year journey investigating Salmonella and almonds from production agriculture through final consumption. Studies sought to uncover potential routes of contamination and long-term environmental persistence of Salmonella during production, harvest and postharvest handling. Laboratory studies focused on methods to inoculate and recover microorganisms from almonds, survival of pathogens on almonds during storage, and evaluation of the thermal resistance of pathogens and candidate surrogates.
These data, along with information on the prevalence and levels of Salmonella in almonds, enabled the development of quantitative microbial risk assessments, the establishment of appropriate target reductions for lethality process controls, and validation of several key commercial practices such as blanching and oil roasting. More recent studies have explored the risks associated with soaking almonds and a range of dairy analogs made from them.
Since worldwide nut production has expanded rapidly over the past 20 years with a corresponding increase in consumption, Harris and her laboratory's work with the behavior, movement, prevalence, and especially control of foodborne pathogens, from the field to consumer handling, from almonds to pistachios and walnuts, has been and will continue to be a foundation for food-safety tree nut and produce research. – Zann Gates
Ferguson named ASHS Fellow
The recognition is “more than well-deserved and should have happened YEARS ago!” wrote ASHS Executive Director Michael Neff. ASHS fellows are elected “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science, profession, or industry of horticulture,” he added.
“It is gratifying to be honored by one's peers,” said Ferguson.
Under Ferguson's guidance, the ASHS Leadership Academy began two years ago by offering online seminars to participants from all over the United States. “We're training them to be leaders in our professional society, and also to be advocates for the society,” Ferguson said. The program pulls together the ASHS foundations of research, teaching and practice, which was capped earlier this year by a trip to Washington, D.C., to advocate in Congress for the 2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization.
The current second class of the Leadership Academy will graduate and the third class will be inducted at the ASHS annual meeting, July 31 to Aug. 4, in Orlando, Florida.
Leadership training is important to Ferguson because she didn't get it early in her own career, she said. She wants to see the generation of new leaders coming up – as well as ASHS as a whole – to benefit from good preparation in this area, she added.
Ferguson has served as the society's president and president-elect during the challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has received other honors. – Trina Kleist
Faith Kearns' book “Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement” was selected as a 2023 Nautilus Book Awards Gold Winner in the category of Relationships & Communication (large press).
For scientists to communicate effectively about science, they must not only be experts in their fields of study, they must navigate the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the people they engage with and with each other.
Kearns, an academic coordinator for the California Institute for Water Resources at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, has written about what she has learned in 25 years of practice in Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement from Island Press. The book includes on-the-ground experiences of many science communicators, including those working in Cooperative Extension.
Dahlquist-Willard appointed to state Ag Land Equity Task Force
She is among the 12 inaugural members appointed by the California Strategic Growth Council to the task force, which will develop policy recommendations to equitably increase access to agricultural land for food production and traditional tribal agricultural uses. Established by the Legislature last year, the task force will meet every quarter over three years and submit a full report of policy recommendations to the State Legislature and Governor by January 1, 2026.
Historically, women and people of color in California have been blocked from stable access to land and other resources necessary for successful farming, a legacy that persists today. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows only 37% of all farmers in the California are female and only 9% are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). In 2020, the California Department of Food and Agriculture found that such farmers and ranchers often lack stable access to land, which negatively affects the long-term sustainability of their businesses. Equitably increasing stable access to agricultural land in California will promote farmers' economic resilience, a robust food system in the state, and healthy natural and working lands.
The task force will have 13 regionally diverse members, including native and tribal liaisons, a land trust representative, individuals with expertise in issues affecting socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, an individual with expertise in agricultural land acquisition and finance, a State Board of Food and Agriculture member, a farmworker representative, a beginning farmer, the California Department of Food and Agriculture Farm Equity Advisor, and an individual from the new California Department of Food and Agriculture BIPOC Farmer Advisory Committee.
Dahlquist-Willard will contribute her expertise in issues affecting socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.