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Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Winners of the Distinguished Service Awards were announced June 13. Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. The 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, outstanding leader and contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion.

We are pleased to congratulate and recognize this year's honorees:

Outstanding Research - Mark Hoddle 

Mark Hoddle

Mark Hoddle has been a UCCE specialist in biological control in UC Riverside Department of Entomology for 25 years. His research program on biocontrol of invasive pests that attack agricultural crops, threaten wilderness areas, and degrade urban landscapes in California has been supported by more than $14.5 million in grants from commodity boards and state and federal agencies and have significant impacts in California, nationally and internationally.

Highlights of his work include the successful biological control of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a species of palm weevil (Rhynchophorus vulneratus), the Asian citrus psyllid and the Argentine ant, resulting in a massive reduction and elimination of these pests in California and other states and countries.

Hoddle also has developed proactive biocontrol and integrated pest management programs for pests not yet present in California but that are likely to invade, including the spotted lantern fly, the avocado seed moth and the avocado seed weevil.

His outstanding research has led to over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. He also has published over 100 extension articles and 40 web pages. His outreach includes interviews for TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and podcasts.

In addition to his academic successes, Hoddle has mentored seven graduate students, more than 40 undergraduate students and nine post-graduate researchers. He also has received several national and international awards throughout his career.

Outstanding Extension - Lyn Brock 

Lyn Brock

Lyn Brock is the academic coordinator for statewide training for both the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California. Brock leads the training and professional development efforts for academics and staff that work at the state and county levels for both programs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the EFNEP and CFHL, UC programs were stymied by the inability to provide in-person education. Through her persistence, innovation and leadership, Brock transitioned more than 140 program staff to virtual delivery in a matter of months so that they could continue to serve the people of California. 

She spearheaded novel trainings pertaining to a wide variety of topics that suddenly became relevant, including learner-centered programming, online learning platforms and copyright policies, among others. Under her leadership, 24 evidence-based curricula were adapted for virtual delivery during the pandemic. These programs are still regarded by the programs' federally funded partners as cutting-edge in virtual education.

Brock has produced numerous limited distribution publications and also presented during conferences, trainings and presentations to extend knowledge in her role as training coordinator. Highlights of her extension work include the What's Up Wednesday meetings, virtual staff check-in meetings to facilitate communication between program leadership staff. She also developed training material and trained staff on available virtual platforms to allow them to deliver programs virtually.

Outstanding New Academic - Aparna Gazula 

Aparna Gazula

Aparna Gazula became a UCCE small farms advisor in 2016. Her extension program provides training and technical assistance for nutrient management, pest management, irrigation and food safety to diversified vegetable farmers in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Because a majority of the crops grown by Asian immigrant farmers – including amaranth, bok choy, gai choy, gai lan, a choy, Chinese celery, edible chrysanthemum, yam leaves, garlic chives and pea tips – are considered minor crops, there is little research-based information about them that can be used as the basis for management decisions or to fulfill regulatory requirements.In six years, she has secured more than $1.6 million in grant funding for research, outreach and technical assistance to fill information gaps on pest management, food safety and water and nutrient management.

Many of the socially disadvantaged farmers Gazula works with face language and cultural barriers. To provide targeted extension to non-English speaking farmers, she secured grant funding to hire specialists and educators who are fluent in Cantonese and Spanish. With her team, Gazula provides technical assistance, workshops, and outreach publications in Chinese and Spanish.

She also has led her team in assisting farmers in the region to access pandemic relief funding and state programs to improve soil health and water use efficiency. Gazula and her team helped non-English-speaking farmers submit over 200 applications for relief between April and December 2020. These farmers received $3.1 million in emergency aid, allowing them to maintain vegetable production during the pandemic. With her team she also provided training and technical assistance, in both Cantonese and English, to farmers about the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Program.

Although Gazula is a new academic, she is recognized throughout the region for her expertise and is often called on by community and local government groups to contribute to food and farming initiatives. She has established herself as a leader in supporting the Asian vegetable industry.

Outstanding Team - UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team

The UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team is composed of UCCE specialists Daniele Zaccaria, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Amelie Gaudin, Jeff Mitchell and Khaled Bali, UCCE advisor Dan Munk and UC Davis students Alyssa DeVincentis and Anna Gomes.

In direct response to prominent knowledge gaps around implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the team conducted a focused applied research program on water-related impacts of winter cover crops in California's Central Valley from 2016 to 2019.

Their research showed that the benefits of winter cropping in processing tomato and almond production systems offset or compensated for water used during the winter by the cover crops. Contrary to widespread belief, research results showed that cover crops did not use a lot of soil water because evapotranspiration during this period is normally low, crops shade and cool the soil surface, and improve soil aggregation, pore space and soil water infiltration and retention. 

This research provided the basis for a series of 11 invited extension education presentations and outreach activities to inform and guide policy implementation of local stakeholder agencies and entities including the Madera Regional Water Management Group, the American Farmland Trust's SJV Conservation Partnership Program, the CA/NV Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the East Stanislaus, the Eastern Merced, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties Resource Conservation Districts, as well as the California Irrigation Institute. 

Outstanding Leader - Gail Feenstra 

Gail Feenstra

Gail Feenstra, director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, is a distinguished leader and visionary, not only in UC ANR, but across the food systems landscape. Her career has been exemplary in terms of her pioneering success in applied, multidisciplinary research, evaluation, and outreach. In the early 1990s, Feenstra began to parlay her graduate training in nutrition along with her experience in community development and food systems into what was then a very new, poorly studied discipline that she would continue to develop and lead for the next three decades.

This field of work comprises regional food systems that merge the business and livelihood needs of small- and mid-scale farmers with the economic well-being and nutritional health of their local communities. Feenstra developed SAREP's and the nation's understanding of values-based supply chains. She has been a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement and has developed widely adopted tools for farm-to-school evaluation. In recognition of her stature in this field, CDFA selected her to lead a four-year, $60 million evaluation of its Farm to School Grant Program.

Feenstra also has shown tremendous leadership within UC ANR through her role as co-chair of the California Communities and Food Systems Program Team where she has helped shape collaborations within UC ANR. She has worked to bridge interconnected disciplines of nutrition, food, health, community development and agriculture within UC ANR. She also has led efforts to work across program teams, particularly in developing new specialist and advisor position descriptions. Her energy is infectious and her leadership through collaboration is compelling. The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society recently honored Feenstra with its 2022 Richard P. Haynes Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Katherine Soule 

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule began her DEI work in 2013, focusing on providing solutions to the challenges that marginalized youth, families and communities face on the Central Coast.

Her work particularly focused on the needs of Latino youth and families, LGBTQ+ youth and adults, neurodivergent people, and individuals living in poverty. Through a timely intervention, Soule's DEI work has helped to increase health equity, improve food security and safety, and promote economic prosperity in marginalized communities.

She implemented a very impactful “Schools as Hubs of Health” program that reached more than 4,000 students annually in more than 150 classrooms and created a college and career readiness pathway that engaged more than 12,000 youth. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her work with an emphasis on engaged and participatory research, and lifelong commitment to personally unlearning and decolonizing.

Soule also demonstrates DEI leadership by serving on the UC ANR DEI Advisory Council as the inaugural chair and serving on the City of San Luis Obispo's DEI Taskforce.

Posted on Monday, June 27, 2022 at 1:10 PM

Names in the News

Kron named area IPM advisor for North Coast

Cindy Kron

Cindy Kron has joined UC Cooperative Extension as areawide IPM advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.

Before joining UCCE, Kron studied the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a research entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests and Genetics research unit. She tested cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations. 

Kron has conducted research on a variety of insects including two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper, and variegated leafhopper.  For her dissertation, she investigated the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and their relationship with vineyards. She also studied the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth and reared brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies.

“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research by identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact,” Kron said.

Kron earned her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with a minor in agricultural pest management, and her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.

She is based in Santa Rosa and can be reached at ckron@ucanr.edu.

Glass takes on new HR role 

Patricia Glass

Patricia Glass began a new position as human resources business systems analyst starting in August. In her new role, Patricia coordinates the management of ANR's HR information systems, including UCPath, Talent Acquisition Management (TAM), ePerformance, and the UC Learning Center. She is also responsible for process improvement, user training, and the development of reports and analytics for the HR systems.

Glass brings more than 15 years of UC experience to the position, including time as a finance manager on the Davis campus and, most recently, team lead responsible for staff recruitment and compensation with ANR Human Resources.

Glass continues to be based at the ANR building in Davis as part of the ANR HR team and reachable at (530) 750-1324 and pglass@ucanr.edu.

Montano assisting Tran

Barbara Montano

Barbara Montano will be temporarily covering executive assistant Cheryl Hyland's duties assisting Tu Tran, AVP business operations starting Sept. 25 and will be available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or as needed.

Montano is a Bay Area native who graduated from UC Berkeley last year with a bachelor's degree in English and legal studies. As a student, she worked on campus and interned for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a philanthropy supporting organization, and the law offices of Aiman-Smith & Marcy. After graduating, she worked as temporary development associate at GCIR, managing its grant work.

Montano is located at UCOP in Cubicle #10134F and can be reached at (510) 987-0183 and Barbara.Montano@ucop.edu.

Bailey appointed to USDA Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

John Bailey

John Bailey, director of Hopland Research and Extension Center, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. His two-year term expires on Sept. 17, 2021.

The purpose of the committee is to advise the USDA Secretary on strategies, policies and programs that enhance opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.

“As a member of the Committee, you will advise me on matters impacting beginning farmers and ranchers, including access to land and capital, recruitment and retention of farmers and ranchers, and more. Your role is vital as I strive to obtain the public and industry perspectives on National and State strategies, policies, and programs impacting beginning farmers and ranchers,” Perdue wrote in Bailey's appointment letter.

Before joining UC, Bailey was the Mendo-Lake Food Hub project manager for North Coast Opportunities, where he coordinated local growers to dramatically increase sales of their crops.

For 12 years, he worked at McEvoy of Marin, first as a gardener in their orchards, then director of operations overseeing product development, sales and marketing. He also owned Middle Mountain Farm, which grew and marketed row crops.

Bailey earned an MBA in sustainable enterprise at New College of California and a B.A. in biology and Certificate in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz.

Gaudin and Light to serve on Western Cover Crop Council

Amelie Gaudin visits the no-till dairy silage field of Turlock farmer Michael Crowell.

Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor for Sutter County, and Amelie Gaudin, UC Davis assistant professor of agroecology in the Department of Plant Sciences, will serve as California representatives on the new Western Cover Crops Council, a group from the 18 western states that aims to gear up information development and exchange activities throughout the broad region. 

Sarah Light samples cover crop biomass in a reduced-disturbance field in Guinda.
Both Gaudin and Light are currently conducting broad and comprehensive cover crop research work.  Gaudin specializes in permanent cropping systems with a strong emphasis on almonds and Light works in annual cropping systems. 

The mission of the WCCC is to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration among farmers/growers, agents, researchers and other agricultural professionals to transfer information and technology that promotes the successful adoption and integration of cover cropping into Western U.S. agricultural systems. The WCCC Planning Team currently consists of about 16 members representing several western states. They are in the process of creating goal statements and means for better linking educational activities about cover crops throughout the region. 

Krause accepts job with Driscoll's Berries

Dave Krause

After nearly 14 years with UC ANR's Information Technology unit, Dave Krause has accepted a new role with Driscoll's Berries to help improve the technology in their research environment. This opportunity will take Krause to some of Driscoll's global locations yet allow him to stay connected to many of us at ANR and at UC. 

Krause started his UC career as a programmer with ANR Communication Services in 2006. Initially hired to build a new version of Site Builder and Collaborative Tools, Krause has since architected and implemented dozens of applications to support the work of UC ANR staff and academics. In recent years, Krause became the IT manager and interim chief information officer for the Division.

“Please join me in thanking Dave for his many contributions to the arduous work of the Division in supporting the communities and the people of this state,” wrote Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations.

Krause's last day with UC ANR is Oct. 11. Leadership will work immediately on selecting a successor to lead the IT unit.

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 6:05 PM

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