Posts Tagged: Ricardo Vela
After 13 years of telling the UC ANR story through written articles and video production, Norma De la Vega retired on June 29. De la Vega joined UC ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish team in 2009 as a senior writer.
NOS fulfilled UC ANR's vision of developing educational and informational programs in Spanish to serve the Latino community. For more than 40 years, NOS has been producing information formatted for radio, television, and online audiences, and De la Vega has played an instrumental role in helping NOS expand its reach and diversify its creative approach to storytelling.
When she started, most of her writing focused on nutrition, highlighting groups like the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Nutrition Policy Institute. “Norma's contributions were spot on,” said NOS Program Manager Ricardo Vela. “Her impact has been bringing the importance of nutrition into the stories that we bring to the community.”
De la Vega earned a bachelor's degree in science communications from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in her hometown of Mexico City. “Learning how to produce videos when I went to school was very different than now,” said De la Vega. “We didn't have the kind of cameras we do today.”
Following college, De la Vega worked as a television reporter in Tijuana before moving to San Diego County where she started focusing on writing. Prior to UC ANR, De La Vega worked as a writer for the Enlace Union-Tribune's Spanish newspaper in San Diego for nearly a decade.
Before it became NOS' primary medium for storytelling, De la Vega helped lead the team's video production effort despite her limited experience. “We weren't experts, but we realized the importance of video production to get our information out. It was a team effort,” she said.
In 2010, De la Vega wrote a story and produced a video on the importance of planning for old age. In many cases, adult children had to manage their parent's care without guidance, and most caregivers of the elderly spoke Spanish as their first language and needed more resources to do a better job.
De la Vega's story relied on research conducted by Patti Wooten Swanson, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer science advisor in San Diego. Not only was Swanson honored at the 2013 Galaxy Awards for her contribution to the story, but De la Vega, a member of the NOS team at the time, won first place at the Western Region Television/Video Communications Award Ceremony despite the lack of a Spanish language category.
In 2016, De la Vega produced a video of the first bilingual 4-H club, the result of a partnership with the Community Settlement Association in Riverside County. “A lot of good things were happening at that time and are happening now because ANR is evolving with more bilingual experts on different topics,” De la Vega said.
Although she started as a senior writer, De La Vega evolved and became a broadcast communications specialist. Her success in the role allowed her to become well-connected to other communicators and community leaders. “Norma always had a contact we needed for a story that we were working on,” said Miguel Sanchez, another broadcast communications specialist on the NOS team.
Lisa Rawleigh, NOS administrative assistant, established a personal and professional relationship with De la Vega. “Norma ensured that our Spanish articles were written properly and that we did not miss any accents or typos. I can always count on her to proofread my posts on social media,” said Rawleigh.
De la Vega said that she feels “enormously satisfied” to have worked with a team of fellow pioneers. “Although we were not experts, we learned so much every day and together,” De la Vega said. “Today, there are several experts in the production of community videos, and we helped enrich the graphic archive for UC ANR's community programs. I think our contribution was to lead the way in that direction.”
Looking ahead, De la Vega will be spending her retirement traveling and exploring other countries and cultures. Since she was a girl, De la Vega enjoyed swimming and can't wait to do more of it. “I love to swim because being in the water always makes me feel young,” she said.
Finally, De la Vega will enjoy quality time with her grandchildren, teaching them Spanish and volunteering at the Spanish immersion school they attend.
To read this story in Spanish, visit https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=57440./span>
Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct.15 and Ricardo Vela, manager of UC ANR News & Information Outreach in Spanish, has planned educational activities for colleagues and friends to attend throughout the month.
Each year, UC ANR celebrates the culture and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Latinos comprise 40% of California's population and a growing portion of UC ANR's clientele. Our Latinx colleagues help to customize UC ANR's outreach for the Latino community, from immigrants to native-born citizens.
To start the celebration, the newly formed Latinx & Friends Affinity Group will meet for the first time on Sept. 21. To register, visit https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=38886.
“UC ANR is giving us this fantastic opportunity to share our stories of struggle, success and dreams within a safe space,” Vela said. “This space is open to all of us who are Latinx/Hispanic or of Latinx/Hispanic descent, allies and friends to discuss the many cultural identities.”
The September events will be held via Zoom for UC ANR colleagues:
First Time Home” about four cousins who travel from their Triqui immigrant community in California to their ancestral village in Mexico for the first time. (45 minutes)
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 12-1 p.m. Jose Pablo Ortiz-Partida will discuss the results of an environmental justice study he conducted in the San Joaquin Valley. Ortiz-Partida is a senior water and climate scientist for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Events scheduled for October will be conducted in Spanish and open to the public on Facebook Live:
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1-2 p.m. – Susana Matias, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at Berkeley, will discuss healthy living, obesity and breastfeeding.
Hicks named executive assistant to Bunn
Savannah Hicks has been promoted to the role of executive assistant, supporting Vice Provost David Bunn and UC ANR Second Street Building Operations.
As executive assistant, Hicks will be assisting with calendaring, meeting and events management and purchasing, as well as many other essential duties in support of the research and extension centers, county offices and statewide programs and institute leaders.
She will also be supporting the Second Street Space and Operations Committee and helping to coordinate projects and meetings, including monthly networking events and current space moves.
Hicks, who earned a bachelor's degree in communications at CSU Sacramento, joined UC ANR's Statewide Program and Research Operations Unit a few months ago and was selected to fill this new role following an open search.
Before joining ANR, she was an office manager at Evolve BioSystems, a startup that specializes in a probiotic for babies to help them get the benefits of mother's breast milk.
Hicks is based at the UC ANR Second Street Building and can be reached at (530) 285-3249 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shellabarger, Zabronsky join water institute
Rachel Shellabarger and Hope Zabronsky have joined the California Institute for Water Resources, both as academic coordinator II.
Shellabarger will be responsible for coordinating CIWR's work with the National Institutes for Water Resources, as well as work on a new nitrogen and irrigation management program. She comes to us from UC Santa Cruz, where her recent Ph.D. research sought to better understand how California dairy producers engage with environmental initiatives.
An environmental scientist who grew up farming, Shellabarger is drawn to interdisciplinary work that crosses traditional boundaries. She previously researched conflict among conservation and human rights groups on the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as wetland mitigation efforts in Midwest agricultural landscapes. She also taught undergraduate Natural Sciences coursework for six years and worked with refugee resettlement agencies.
She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Wartburg College, a master's degree in natural resources from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Hope Zabronsky will be responsible for coordinating CIWR's Climate-Smart Agriculture Program and working with the team of technical assistance providers.
Zabronsky comes to UC ANR from Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center in San Diego, where she directed the center's educational and research programs focused on sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, community-based leadership, and career-technical education.
Previously, she managed statewide climate resilience projects at Strategic Energy Innovations, supported agricultural and climate adaptation research in Southern Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute, and studied climate-smart agriculture practices in California and Malawi as part of the Research Group on Agricultural Equity and Inclusion at UC Davis.
She earned her bachelor's degree in environmental studies, sustainability and political science from the University of Vermont and master of science in international agricultural development from UC Davis.
Zabronsky can be reached at email@example.com.
Holtz documentary wins Golden ARC Award
Brent Holtz, director and pomology farm advisor for San Joaquin County, and members of the Almond Board of California won the Golden Agricultural Relations Council Award for Digital & Social Media: Video for "RESILIENCE: The Whole Orchard Recycling Origin Story."
The six-minute documentary produced by the Almond Board of California features the inspiring story of Holtz's journey to help his family, his industry and his community by finding an alternative to burning trees removed from orchards.
The documentary was produced by the Almond Board's Jenny Nicolau, Daren Williams, Ross Thomas and David Gomar.
The Golden ARC Awards honor the stellar work created by professionals in the agricultural industry. They are judged by members of the Public Relations Society of America and are heavily weighted on measurable results achieved against the objectives.
Read more about the documentary project at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=51471&.
UC ANR communicators win ACE awards
UC ANR communicators received recognition from their peers in the Association for Communication Excellence, or ACE, international awards program.
Doralicia Garay won a Bronze Award for her wildfire preparedness social media campaign in the “organic” (unpaid) social media campaign category. During summer 2021, she created the Wildfire Preparedness social media campaign amid the active wildfire season in California. The campaign focused on delivering content that directed UC ANR's online audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to essential information on preparing homes and business structures for wildfire, also known as structure hardening. Given the high fire activity at the time, she also incorporated the Fire Locator map tool as a resource for wildfire evacuations. The campaign culminated with a Facebook Live session featuring UCCE forestry advisors Susie Kocher and Yana Valachovic and emeritus UCCE advisor Steve Quarles.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won two awards. She earned a Gold Award in the “writing for newspapers” category, for a feature story on Rebecca Jean “RJ” Millena, published in March 2021, a few months before Millena graduated with a bachelor's degree in entomology. “An Amazing Doctoral Opportunity Few Receive” centered on Millena's four-year, full-ride doctoral fellowship from the American Museum of Natural History.
Garvey earned a Silver Award for her photo story titled “The Flight of the Bumble Bee,” posted June 14, 2021, on her daily (Monday-Friday) Bug Squad blog on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website.
Winners of the 2020-21 ANR Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) program were announced June 17.
The outstanding contributions of 18 individual UC ANR staff members and six teams were recognized and celebrated at an online town hall. The honored staff members will receive plaques and cash awards for their exceptional performance, creativity, organizational abilities, work success and teamwork.
The STAR winners are named below, followed by a quote from their nominator.
Valerie Borel, horticulture and Master Gardener Program coordinator, UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County
“With recommendations from the task force, Valerie significantly overhauled our process for selecting Master Gardeners. This included significantly updating the application and including a diverse committee of Master Gardeners in the review and selection process. This process, while time consuming for Valerie as our Master Gardener coordinator, led to recruitment and selection of Master Gardener trainees that are more diverse than in prior years.”
“She has shown exceptional creativity and success this year during the COVID-19 stay at home order. She was the first EFNEP educator across our two-county team to recruit and deliver a completely virtual nutrition class series. Guadalupe also identified needs in the community and creatively addressed them by making her own recipe and food safety videos. To make her online classes engaging, she has conducted live online cooking demonstrations and incorporated activities to include youth who are learning at home with their parents.”
Vanity Campbell, proposal development coordinator
“Vanity developed an innovative two-day format for the 2020 Grant Essentials Summit that capitalized on academic engagement with state agencies to facilitate building relationships with programs while increasing grant- seeking capacity to identify and successfully apply for funding. In 2021, Vanity is expanding the program in collaboration with UC Merced to promote research and extension collaborations across the two institutions through presentation of agency grant programs and faculty research interests and needs.”
“Kim quickly established expectations and guidelines to transition staff for the remote work environment in order to successfully continue to process proposals, award and subawards without interruption of service and workflow.”
Katie Churchill, administrative officer and financial manager, UCCE Capitol Corridor
“Her work this year was transformative with guiding our office through challenging times and ensuring our programs were having high impact on making our communities great places to live and work.”
“Darrin successfully managed 30 demanding research projects. Under a normal year this a huge accomplishment, but Darrin was forced to find innovative ways of completing the fieldwork in a manner that fit COVID-19 safety guidelines and frequent staff absences due to family and childcare needs. Even more impressive was that IREC staff completed the projects under budget and on schedule… The 2020 growing season at IREC was particularly challenging due to a water shortage and wildfire smoke.”
Maru Fernandez, UCCE business partner team supervisor
“One year ago, the two Business Operation Center Locations were consolidated. Maru has been instrumental in building the team of 9 new members since last July, many of whom have never met each other. She has taken on additional responsibilities of the vacant Budget Analyst position, and has demonstrated a commitment above and beyond what would be expected of her as Supervisor of Business Partner Teams 1-4.”
“Without Laurie's diligence and support the move could have been disastrous! Laurie was a key point of contact over the course of three county directors with Madera County and she helped with design, layout and setup of the new office.”
Elaine Lander, urban & community IPM educator, Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
“In the last year, she has continuously put effort into making ANR a more equitable and inclusive organization. She has served on the DEI advisory committee, is a founding member of the DEI council, contributed to the establishment of Employee Resource Groups, and served on the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month planning committee. She has participated in multiple trainings through ANR and is now pursuing training on the Intercultural Development Inventory to build intercultural competence within her IPM program and our larger organization.”
“Julie not only rapidly transitioned to providing nutrition education online, she also found ways to move our policy systems and environmental change work forward, despite the fact that many of our settings effectively did not exist during the pandemic. Her cafe´ promo videos, which encourage children to try new fruits and vegetables, have been recognized statewide.”
Brian Oatman, Risk & Safety Services director
“Throughout his career with ANR this candidate has sought to find creative solutions for complex problems… Early in the pandemic when cleaning and disinfecting supplies were low, he worked with his staff to sort out what material county offices needed. He acquired these materials from a variety of sources and shipped them directly to county offices, so staff had cleaning supplies in a time when they were not available locally.”
“She immediately recognized the need to support staff capacity to facilitate virtual education, and she has provided training on dozens of topics and new tools. Carmela also led the development of educational videos by the whole team, including an entire nutrition curriculum. She developed a YouTube channel that now hosts over 50 educational videos, which have been viewed more than 1,250 times in all. Carmela was involved in determining the content, reviewing, and sharing each of these videos, although they also represent the collective efforts of the entire talented team”.
Rita Palmer, community education supervisor 2, CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, UCCE Butte County
“Rita's proactive approach to continue programming as stay at home orders were issued resulted in new program partnerships, the hosting of a large virtual Student Agricultural Field Day event and CFHL, UC staff with new communication skillsets and abilities to engage others in their work. The day after stay-at-home orders were issued, Rita was delivering a Zoom presentation to food service staff in one of the largest school districts in the Butte Cluster region.”
“We have nominated Stephanie for a STAR award because of her work during the past year to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to the forefront within UC IPM and ANR on top of her current role and duties. In ANR, she has been the voice for people who felt their voices weren't being heard. For UC IPM, Stephanie is instrumental in operationalizing our diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives, and getting us closer to achieving our overall goal to be an equitable organization.”
Jodi Rosenbaum, ER business consultant
“Jodi is the primary person to receive reports when an employee is diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. Jodi's work to track cases, employee leave, and return to work has been outstanding and is vital to keeping ANR operational. Jodi developed new processes to receive private medical information, store it securely, and track employee status. This often requires urgent response at all hours and on off days.”
“Vince is being recognized for his leadership and contributions that underpinned the formation of the Bay Area Rancher Cooperative, known as BAR-C. He has been the primary coordinator and facilitator, resourceful in recruiting allies and partners like the California Center for Cooperative Development and Conservation Works, and organized the business plan development, including a confidential peer review process.”
Ricardo Vela, News & Outreach in Spanish (NOS) manager
“During the pandemic, he conceived of and spearheaded three events for ANR employees that had never been done before. Ricardo and his NOS team put together a series of well-attended educational online events for Hispanic Heritage Month September-October. Ricardo produced a video of ANR colleagues and 4-H members sharing how they were affected by COVID-19. On Cesar Chavez's birthday, Ricardo hosted a webinar about the life of the civil rights icon.”
“Early into the shutdown, Nancy brought forth various opportunities and ideas to expand our program reach by leveraging relationships so that we could continue to serve our community… Additionally, Nancy volunteered to participate in state-level workgroups. She chaired one of the workgroups and made valuable suggestions on the equity and access challenges faced by the population we serve.”
COVID-19 Hands-on Operational Support Team: David Alamillo, Barbara Bellieu, Alan Chavez, Tammie Erhard, Melissa Figueroa, Veronica Geiger, David Hatter, Brian Oatman, Bart Sapeta, Kathryn Stein, Ron Walker, Rhett Woerly and Michael Zwahlen
When most UC ANR employees transitioned to working remotely, the COVID-19 Hands-on Operational Support Team ensured that employees had necessary equipment and that ANR business operations continued to function.
Alameda/Contra Costa Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Team: Nelly Camacho, Jennifer Ferreira, Eli Figueroa, Santo Lopez, Carla Moore, Jesus Osoria, Molica Sim and Leah Sourbeer
“Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, they collectively exhibited resilience, creativity, teamwork, and exceptional performance to execute the mission of EFNEP through virtual programming.”
Financial System Implementation at UCOP: Connie Tadesse and Jin Yu
“This past year, UCOP partnered with UCSD and UCM to undertake a major high risk business systems implementation replacing their legacy business systems and infrastructure with Oracle Cloud Financials. UCOP and the two campuses were the first, systemwide, at UC to take on something this broad in scope and magnitude for a business system transformation. Working with the Huron consultants, and the UCOP project team, their efforts ensured that UC ANR requirements were met.”
CalNat CES Team: Sarah Angulo, Eliot Freutel and Brook Gamble
“The California Naturalist Program's three Community Education Specialists not only adjusted to the changing conditions, but made structural changes to the program that actually put it in a stronger position moving forward. Specifically, they made investments in online delivery, shared the best practices throughout our diverse network, diversified our delivery model to include direct delivery, and remained focused on maintaining a strong service orientation and building community among our clientele.”
UC West Side REC Team: Merf Solorio and Mark Strole
“We acknowledge the exceptional service, teamwork, and creativity of Rafael “Merf” Solorio, Superintendent, and Mark Strole, Chief Mechanic, of the ANR's West Side Research and Extension Center. Time and time again, they both go well beyond the routine demands and expectations of their respective job classifications in ways that are uncommon and greatly appreciated by all who work at the West Side. On behalf of the many ANR researchers who work at the West Side REC, register our sincere thanks to both Merf and Mark for their forward vision, skills, and attention to detail in getting things done in support of our efforts.”
Office of Contracts and Grants Team: Kim Lamar, Vanity Campbell, Andrea Davis, Heidi von Geldern, Kendra Rose and Suzanne Burton.
“This team processed a record-breaking FY2020 award total of over $46 million, an increase of almost $11 million, or 30% from the prior year. This was possible because this team is a solid and cohesive group of extremely remarkable research administration professionals.”
UC ANR is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Each Friday during the celebration, Ricardo Vela, manager of News & Information Outreach in Spanish, is hosting online forums.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for all of us at UCANR to educate ourselves about ethnic groups,” Vela said. “Learning about the struggles of the Latino community is to learn about the history of our country. The knowledge becomes critical for serving all Californians since Latinos are part of every layer of our society.”
Oct. 2, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Vela will discuss the Chicano Moratorium of 1970 with Isidro D. Ortiz, Ph.D., professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University, and Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and human rights director of Alliance San Diego
Oct. 9, from 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., two journalists from Univision and a farm worker's human rights activist share their experiences with the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 in the Hispanic community, and why they think Latinos have been hit hard by the disease.
During the first group activity, participants discussed the Mexican American deportation that occurred between 1929 and 1936 with San Diego State professor Ortiz. They also discussed the terms Latinx, Hispanic and Chicano.
During the second session, participants met UC ANR Hispanic Heritage Month honorees Claudia Diaz, 4-H youth development advisor for Riverside and San Bernardino counties; Sonia Ríos, subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties; and Javier Miramontes, nutrition program supervisor for Fresno County.
The three spoke candidly about their experiences growing up in Mexico and in the U.S., family support as they pursued higher education and the communities they serve on behalf of UC ANR. Ríos, whose parents were farmworkers, said field workers know agriculture. “We need to listen to them,” she said.
During the uplifting forum, friends and family members of Diaz, Ríos and Miramontes spoke proudly of their accomplishments. A representative of the Mexican consulate congratulated all three honorees.
For more information about upcoming events and to register, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/Spanish/Hispanic_Heritage_Month/Hispanic_Heritage_Month_2020/Zoom_Forums_Calendar.