ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: Faith Kearns

Names in the News

Galdi moves to UCCE in Merced County 

Giuliano C. Galdi

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

Reyes joins UCCE as orchard systems advisor 

Clarissa Reyes

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

Sedell joins Program Planning and Evaluation 

Jennifer Sedell

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 and (510) 987-0199.

Choi joins Risk and Safety Services 

Duwon Choi

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 and (530) 240-7146.

Paradise joins Risk and Safety Services 

Jacob Paradise

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

Harris honored by University of Wisconsin-Madison institute

Linda Harris, right, received the William C. Frazier Memorial Lectureship Award from Kathleen Glass, Food Research Institute associate director.
Linda J. Harris, UC Cooperative Extension food safety specialist at UC Davis, was awarded the William C. Frazier Memorial Lectureship in Food Microbiology by the Food Research Institute in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The award was presented at the FRI's 2023 Spring Meeting on May 16 in Madison, Wisconsin.

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

Louise Ferguson. Photo by John Stumbos
Louise Ferguson, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science and will be inducted into the organization's 60th class of fellows at a ceremony Aug. 1. The award recognizes decades of leadership and, more recently, Ferguson's efforts to build a leadership training program for younger members.

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

Kearns wins book award 

Faith Kearns

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  

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties, has been appointed to the California Agricultural 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.

Posted on Friday, May 26, 2023 at 10:03 AM

Get to heart of science communication with virtual book club June 17


Scientists and science writers see the value of employing Kearns’ advice to improve public science literacy.

Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement will be discussed at the eXtension Virtual Chat Book Club June 17. The newly released book authored by Faith Kearns is garnering rave reviews. Kearns, academic coordinator for the California Institute for Water Resources, will moderate the discussion.

“In this virtual chat, we'll discuss the rapidly changing landscape of the field, and our evolving role as Extension communicators,” said Rose Hayden-Smith, cohost of the event. “You do not need to have read the book to participate. Participants can expect a wonderful opportunity to share and learn about best practices, strategies, and resources. We'll also be discussing how communication occurs on social media.”

To participate in the book club chat, sign into your eXtension account at, or create an account with your UC ANR email address. Then visit and scroll to the bottom of the page to RSVP.

About the book

Kearns wrote the book from 25 years of experience and interviews with other science communicators. Kearns talks with the Generous Films documentary production team at the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County in 2019. Photo by Jared Stapp

In an age of seemingly endless crises related to climate change, extreme weather, the pandemic, and social and cultural upheavals across the globe, how we communicate about the science of these events has changed in dramatic ways, driven in large part by social media. Science communicators can no longer simply relate facts to captive audiences. 

In “Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement,” readers and practitioners will learn to equip themselves to navigate a changing landscape where conflict, emotion, and trauma are a critical part of the conversation that must be acknowledged, and one from which we can learn. 

This book is an essential read for graduate students, science communicators, and “adjacent” professionals, such as research scientists, journalists and policymakers. Professional communicators in all fields will find much of value in this ground-breaking book.

Read more at The 280-page paperback is published by Island Press and can be ordered for $30 (use code HEART for a publisher discount) at and wherever books are sold.

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 11:20 AM
Tags: Faith Kearns (10), May 2021 (17)

Water Talk podcast begins April 2

The weekly Water Talk podcast can be heard on Fridays.

The second season of Water Talk podcast begins Friday, April 2. The weekly podcast will feature discussions of agriculture, water policy, environmental and social justice, climate change and other issues related to California water. 

This year's podcast will definitely include drought, says co-host Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, “In California, drought is not if, it's when.” The organizers plan to invite guests from every corner of the state, from border to border.

“The Water Talk team has new members!” the Water Talk team tweeted. “We were thrilled to welcome ultra-talented Claire Bjork and Victoria Roberts as production support for Season 2, thanks in part to an ANR Renewable Resources Extension Act grant.” 

A sneak preview of Season 2 is posted on Twitter at

In addition to listening to the podcast, you can follow @podcast_water on Twitter for water-related news.        

To catch up on Season 1 of Water Talk, visit

The Water Talk podcast is hosted by UC Cooperative Extension specialists Mallika Nocco and Samuel Sandoval Solis, both based in UC Davis Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, and Kearns.

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 11:09 AM
Tags: Faith Kearns (10), Mallika Nocco (3), March 2021 (22), Samuel Sandoval (2), Water (11)

New research identifies UCCE disaster management needs

From left, UCCE small-farm team members Jesus Ontiveros Barajas, Marianna Castiaux and Jacob Roberson distributed COVID-19 safety kits to small-scale farmers in Fresno County. Photo by Carmen Mendoza

Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.

To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.

Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.

“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said. 

After the Camp Fire, Tracy Schohr sampled stream water in Butte County to test for livestock owners who worried whether it was safe for animals to drink.

“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”

The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.

“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.

The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.” 

Betsy Karle takes a forage sample to assess whether it was safe for cattle to be moved onto pasture that was not burned but had received ash from the Camp Fire. Photo by Tracy Schohr

The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at

“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.

In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.” 

Posted on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM

UC ANR visits the Capitol

The first UC ANR Day at the Capitol was March 26, 2019.

UC ANR Day at the Capitol was held on March 26, 2019, to update California legislators and legislative staff on UC ANR's research and outreach projects. Vice President Glenda Humiston and a UC ANR delegation discussed a wide variety of topics during the legislative visits, including wildfire and forest health, water quality, youth development, nutrition and climate adaptation.

Every year, representatives from each UC campus gather in Sacramento for UC Day at the Capitol to educate lawmakers about the importance of research and higher education and their contributions to California's economy and progress. Although UC ANR participates in the annual Ag Day at the Capitol, this was the first UC ANR Day at the Capitol.

State Senator Jim Nielsen, fourth from left, who represents the Town of Paradise and the surrounding communities, thanked Tracy Schohr and Bailey Butler for helping Butte County residents evacuate their animals and keep them safe during the Camp Fire.

ANR's Global Food Initiative fellow Maci Mueller set up appointments with the policymakers and coordinated the UC ANR delegation to explain the value of investment in UC ANR research and outreach.

The UC ANR delegation consisted of two teams led by Humiston and Wendy Powers, associate vice president. The teams included Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator; Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties; Tracy Schohr, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resource advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Butte counties; Alena Pacheco, 4-H community education specialist in Fresno County; Bailey Butler, Oroville 4-H member; and El Dorado County 4-H Ambassadors Emily Ferrell, Josie Rothman and Isabella Veffredo, who were accompanied by El Dorado County 4-H program representatives Vera Bullard and Denise Veffredo. 

Alena Pacheco told Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, standing fourth from left, how 4-H collaborates with UC Master Gardener Program and UC CalFresh Nutrition Education to engage at-risk children in Fresno County in gardening and other activities to teach them life and work skills.

“As a team, we were able to connect with every member or staffer that we met,” Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog. “Sometimes it was around the 4-H program, and what the program has done for our impressive team members, sometimes it was around fire or water, and other staffers or members were particularly interested in moringa. Either way, the goal was to make a connection so that each visit left an impression.”

“UC ANR Day was a terrific opportunity for 4-H members to practice their communication skills and get involved in advocacy at the state level,” Mueller said. 

Oroville 4-H member Bailey described for legislators and their staff how she worked from Nov. 8 when the Camp Fire broke out until after Christmas with UC Cooperative Extension advisor Tracy Schohr and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine staff to care for 1,200 evacuated livestock and to train others to assist. Emily, a 4-H Ambassador in El Dorado County, said her 4-H experience with STEM activities and leadership training helped her get into the university of her choice – UC Santa Barbara.

Bailey and Emily told Assemblymember Laura Friedman, fifth from left, how they have benefited from their 4-H experiences and she is interested in learning more about UC Cooperative Extension activities in Los Angeles County.

The 2018-19 UC budget fact sheet can be downloaded at
The teams visited a total of 17 offices including state senators Cathleen Galgiani (Senate Agriculture Committee chair), Hannah-Beth Jackson, Brian Jones, Connie Leyva, Mike McGuire, Holly J. Mitchell, Jim Nielsen and Scott Wilk and assemblymembers  Brian Dahle, Susan Talamantes Eggman (Assembly Agriculture Committee chair), Heath Flora, Laura Friedman, Monique Limon, Jose Medina, Jay Obernolte, Robert Rivas and Jim Wood.

Greeted warmly by each office, the teams shared examples of work being done by UC ANR in their districts, offered them assistance and thanked the legislators for their support. They left a copy of the UC ANR Snapshot, UC ANR map and overview, a 4-H fact sheet and UC at a Glance.

Legislators praised the 4-H members and UC ANR staff for the work they do for Californians.

“I look forward to making UC ANR Day at the Capitol an annual event,” Humiston said. “Telling people about the value of ANR's work is not only part of our mission, it is essential in educating others about all that we accomplish with the resources we have.”

A fact sheet showing the effects of shrinking public investment in the University of California and agricultural research can be downloaded at


At Ag Day at the Capitol, UCCE Modoc County Director Laura Snell talks with Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Maci Mueller.
Senator Richard Pan discusses avocado production with VP Humiston.
State Senators Steven Bradford and Brian Jones talk with members of California 4-H about rabbits.
VP Humiston tells Assemblymember Steven Choi about the array of research projects conducted at South Coast Research & Extension Center in his district.
Mueller welcomed Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to the UC ANR booth at Ag Day at the Capitol.

Sean Hogan, IGIS academic coordinator, talks drones with Assemblymember Devon Mathis.
Sean Hogan, IGIS academic coordinator, talks drones with Assemblymember Devon Mathis.

Posted on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 6:21 PM

Read more

Webmaster Email: