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Names in the News

Coyne named Master Gardener assistant director of volunteer and community engagement 

Marisa Coyne

Marisa Coyne returned to the statewide Master Gardener Program office on May 22 as the assistant director of volunteer and community engagement. She was an instrumental member of the Master Gardener Program team from 2019 to 2021.  

Coyne will be building out her team by recruiting two regional operations coordinators, one for Southern California and one for Northern California.

Originally from Philadelphia, Coyne earned a master's degree in community development from UC Davis and a bachelor's degree in communications from Temple University. Her graduate work at UC Davis focused on issues of equity in sustainable agriculture education. 

Coyne is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Rosenberg joins UCCE as regenerative agriculture farm advisor 

Sara Rosenberg

Sara Rosenberg joined UCCE on May 1 as a regenerative agriculture farm advisor for Mariposa, Merced and Stanislaus counties.

Her disciplinary focuses are agroecology, sustainable nutrient management, and extension research and methodology. Her past research centers on understanding the implications of diversification (with a focus on crop rotations and cover crops) for California rice systems. For her master's program thesis, she conducted a countywide assessment to learn from rice growers about their experiences with crop rotations and understand barriers to adoption, opportunities, and required resources for successful implementation. This two-year study engaged grower communities to help develop research goals for her Ph.D. studies.

Her doctoral research explored how different summer crop rotations affect multiple sustainability factors including soil health, crop yields, weeds, input use and economics. She also assessed different cover crop species performance in rice environments and their carbon and nitrogen contributions. 

She earned a master's in international agriculture development and a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis.

Prior to working on her Ph.D., Rosenberg was an agriculture advisor in the Peace Corps for more than three years. She worked closely with smallholder farmers in West Africa, implementing conservation agriculture programs and increasing agricultural resilience in both annual crops and tree crops, mainly in the cashew forestry sector. In California, she has worked on farms for more than eight years, including running her own small, diversified farm in Woodland. 

She is passionate about community-led development and using participatory research as a powerful tool for developing sustainable solutions. Her aim is to develop collaborative programming that will support a wide range of farm types, including commercial and small-scale, organic and conventional, annual crops, tree and vine crops, and livestock production systems.

She is developing a robust research program aimed at assessing farm sustainability impact across ecological, agronomic, social and economic factors. She will be collaborating with farmers to help overcome barriers to adopting regenerative practices and build their capacity to advance sustainability goals. Rosenberg also will be developing and promoting tested integrative management practices that increase climate resilience and ecosystem sustainability across diverse farming environments. 

Rosenberg is based in Mariposa and can be reached at and (209) 966-2417 ext. 1417. 

Pedroncelli named interim South Coast REC director 

Lindsey Pedroncelli

Lindsey Pedroncelli started her new role as interim director of South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine on May 1.

Pedroncelli, former staff research associate for UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County, will serve as the liaison between South Coast REC and the community. Her primary responsibility is maintaining or expanding current partnerships and identifying new opportunities for academic and programmatic collaboration. Additionally, she is responsible for securing funding, supervising education specialists and communicating the significance of the REC. 

Pedroncelli first learned about UC ANR during graduate school at UC Riverside where she worked with Alexander Putman, UC Cooperative Extension plant pathology specialist. As a Ph.D. student, Pedroncelli studied a fungus (Macrophomina phaseolina) that kills strawberry plants and conducted research at the South Coast REC.

“California grows 90% of the nation's strawberries,” said Pedroncelli. “The fungus I was researching is economically important and since it is a somewhat new disease on strawberries, there isn't a lot of information on how to manage it.” She was particularly interested in how soil moisture can be applied as a management strategy.

Before earning a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Riverside, Pedroncelli completed her undergraduate degree in microbiology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

In September 2022, Pedroncelli joined the UCCE office in San Diego County as a staff research associate and helped establish a small-scale urban agriculture demonstration site at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. A collaboration with Eric Middleton, integrated pest management advisor for San Diego County, the project is designed to investigate the economic feasibility of growing specialty crops in urban areas.

“Orange County has become so urban, and it used to be an ag hot spot. I don't want people to forget that,” said Pedroncelli, who emphasized the importance of expanding the REC's educational programs and spreading awareness of its community impact. 

Pedroncelli can be reached at and her Instagram handle is @theplantpathologist.

Barnes joins UCCE as director for Lake and Mendocino counties 

Matthew Barnes

Matthew Barnes joined UC ANR on May 1 as the UCCE area director for Lake and Mendocino counties. Dedicated to enhancing UCCE's outreach and research initiatives, he focuses on sustainable agricultural practices and environmental stewardship across both counties. Barnes brings over 20 years of experience in developing programs tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities of rural communities.

Prior to joining UC ANR, he created best-practice client service programs and led organizational development projects throughout Northern California. Most recently, Barnes served as the Lake County director for Sonoma State University's Pre-Collegiate Programs. 

Having spent most of his life in Lake County, where he now raises his two children, ages 5 and 14, Barnes is deeply connected to the community he serves.

He earned his bachelor's degree in social work from Cal Poly Humboldt, which propelled him into a career as a human services administrator specializing in the revitalization of underserved and Indigenous communities. 

Barnes is based in Lakeport and can be reached at Connect with him on LinkedIn at

Sangha joins UCCE as community water systems advisor 

Laljeet Sangha

Laljeet Sangha joined UCCE on May 1 as a community water systems advisor for Kern, Tulare and Kings counties.

To enhance community resilience, Sangha will lead an integrated extension education and applied research program in water resource management and community development.

He will address critical questions regarding the impacts of environmental stressors, such as chronic long-term droughts, water contamination and increased groundwater demand. Additionally, he will assist in water system consolidations and help communities meet regulatory goals such as those set by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP).

Originally from Punjab, India, Sangha earned his undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering from Punjab Agricultural University. He received his M.S. in biosystems engineering from Auburn University in Alabama and his Ph.D. in biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech.

Sangha's early research focused on the influence of climate variability on ecologically sustainable water withdrawals from streams for irrigation. For his doctoral studies, he evaluated the impact of permit exemptions, climate change and demand growth on water supply. Additionally, he developed methods to quantify unreported water use for crop irrigation.

Sangha also has collaborated on projects in the Colorado River Basin, which explore why the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea. His work includes evaluating the effects of limited water availability on irrigation operations and developing adaptive options for farming communities in the basin.

Sangha is based in Bakersfield and can be reached at and on LinkedIn at

Mobley joins UC Master Gardeners as evaluation coordinator 

Jocelyn Mobley

Jocelyn Mobley joined the UC Master Gardener Program on April 23 as a full-time impact and evaluation coordinator. She succeeds Tamekia Wilkins, who had served as .30 FTE evaluation coordinator since 2018 and is now an impact and evaluation program director at the University of Alabama.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Mobley evaluated multiple programs at the Center for Land-Based Learning. She also has worked for other sustainable food nonprofits to help make a difference in her immediate community. 

She earned her B.S. in health education from CSU Chico and Master's in Public Health from UC Davis.

Mobley is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Atume joins SAREP as small farms technical assistance coordinator  

Ngodoo Atume

Ngodoo Atume joined UC ANR on April 17 as a Sustainable Groundwater Management Act small farms technical assistance coordinator in the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

She will provide technical information, services, policy analysis and recommendations needed to engage and protect small-scale farmers in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). 

Before joining UCANR,Atume worked as a water policy analyst advocating for the implementation of the Human Right to Water in California. She also worked on the inclusion of underrepresented stakeholders inSGMA, Central Valley Salinity Alternative Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS)Program and the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP).

Born and raised in Nigeria, Atume earned her bachelor's degree in water resources and environmental engineering at Ahmadu Bello University, where her research focused on the treatment and reuse of wastewater. She has a master's degree in sustainable water management from Tufts University.

Atume is based in the UC ANR office in Davis and can be reached at

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 9:43 AM

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