ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

STAR award winners celebrated

The IT team helped ANR employees get equipment needed to work remotely when the coronavirus pandemic made it inadvisable to work in ANR offices.
The 2019-2020 winners of UC ANR's Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Awards were recognized and celebrated on June 18. The awards reward outstanding individual and team performances by staff.

Individual Awards

Zeva Cho
Zeva Cho, 4-H Youth Development Program, CE San Mateo/San Francisco. “Since her start in 2016, Zeva's outstanding organizational abilities have been critical in organizing the club finances and records. Zeva also demonstrated her exceptional creativity by expanding the Healthy Living Ambassadors Program, which was the first program of its kind in California.”

Anna Dirkse
Anna Dirkse, Knotwood Outreach, UCCE Marin. “It's well-known in the valley that one of the original Fillmore Rock-Art poster artists is a local resident. Playing off of the alternative vibe, Anna designed a Fillmore inspired flyer to attract the eye of folks that might eschew something more straightforward or formal. That approach boosted program participation in an area that we thought was saturated.”

Veronica Geiger
Veronica Geiger, Payroll, Business Operations Center. “For 5 months, Veronica was the sole payroll transaction processor and during this time we were preparing to go live with UCPath and had a lot of clean up entry to make in PPS as well as standard fiscal year end entry in PPS. …we were able to make the necessary entries timely and within required deadlines.” 

Sally Harmsworth
Sally Harmsworth, Business Operations Center. “She has worked with Development Services and other units to reduce duplicative processes, saving time and money for the entire organization – one small example, creating a PCI compliance group for ANR so we don't duplicate effort on this time-consuming yearly process.”

Linda Harris
Linda Harris, Office of Risk & Safety Services. “Linda finds creative solutions to risk management challenges, often working with the UC ANR staff and partner agencies to address concerns, modify contract language, or make other adjustments so the program can go on.”

Rachel Lloyd
Rachel Lloyd, Administrative Policies & Business Contracts. “Rachel Lloyd made an exceptional contribution to the improved efficiency and productivity of the Controller's Office's Administrative Policies and Business Contracts unit. Rachel reviewed and mapped the current workflow for Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and designed and implemented an improved process.”

Belinda Messenger-Sikes
Belinda Messenger-Sikes, Integrated Pest Management. “Between 2018 and 2019 while UC IPM urban team was without a Community Education Specialist, Belinda took on several of the duties normally assigned to that position. In 2019, UC IPM urban team organized several training workshops but had difficulty finding a plant pathologist who was available on some of the dates. Belinda stepped up to be one of the trainers while still getting her other work done on time.” 

Sue Mosbacher
Sue Mosbacher, Master Food Preserver, CE Central Sierra. “She is currently facilitating the response to COVID-19 as well as the reappointment process for the 400+ current volunteers in 17 counties....Her work should be considered transformational to the organization as a whole.”

Shyra Murrey

Shyra Murrey, EFNEP State Office. “I pick 3 key words to describe Shyra:

1.    Creative - An updated review process (which I understand saved around $200K)
2.    Collaborative - Clearly works well with the 33 EFNEP educators
3.    Capable - A strong presenter

Stephanie Parreira
Stephanie Parreira, Integrated Pest Management. “Stephanie was integral in getting a new grant program with EPA off the ground. This assignment was outside of her normal duties, but she immediately took ownership and responsibility for leading daily processes. Her work ethic, attention to detail, project management and organizational skills have been invaluable to the program.”

Kaela Plank
Kaela Plank, Nutrition Policy Institute. “Kaela Plank's exceptional performance as Chair of the Staff Assembly Wellness Committee has contributed to the expansion of the committee's role in Staff Assembly and the support of employee health and wellness for ANR staff.”

Kendra Rose
Kendra Rose, Office of Contracts and Grants. “Last fall, Kendra worked directly with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to include in the Request for Proposal the ability for one of our 4-H programs to apply for the CalAgPlate License Plate Funds…. Now, thanks to Kendra there is a carve-out that allows UCANR 4-H Youth Programs to apply.”

Marcy Sousa
Marcy Sousa, UC Master Gardener, CE San Joaquin. “We couldn't have started our brand new Master Gardener Program in Stanislaus County without her hard work and help.”

Douzong Vang
Douzong Vang, Human Resources. “Because of the nature of  the new responsibilities for both UC ANR and UCPath, Douzong has often been required to initiate research to  determine nuances, steps and various paths to obtain resolution to complicated situations.”

Patti Verdugo Johnson
Patti Verdugo Johnson, Hansen Research & Extension Center and CE Ventura. “Her brain is constantly churning out solutions. No project is too big and no detail too small. Through all the complexities that make up the UCCE Ventura County and Hansen REC, Patti maintains a strong sense of fairness, unwavering professionalism and grace.”

Mary Vlandis
Mary Vlandis, Human Resources. Mary took point in collaborating on a new and very complicated process for Contracting Out/Creating Vendor Agreements. She worked tirelessly to push a UC ANR friendly outcome with systemwide labor and we were able to identify some very positive outcomes for our organization.

Jeannette Warnert
Jeannette Warnert, Strategic Communications. “Senior leadership charged Strategic Communications with spearheading UC ANR's first-ever hosted reception during the 2020 World Ag Expo, along with planning and staffing two trade show booths. Jeannette Warnert took on the leadership role for both the trade show presence and the reception.”

Michael Yang
Michael Yang, Small Farms and Specialty Crops, CE Fresno. Michael Yang has been working with UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County for over 25 years serving the Southeast Asian farming community. …Many of these farmers are still in business because Michael helped them connect to a farmers market, complete paperwork for a variety of regulations, or solve production issues on their farm.”


Team Awards

CalFresh Healthy Living, UC in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties

The CalFresh Healthy Living, UC nutrition educators in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties oversee 200 4-H youth snack club leaders who have taught healthy habits to more than 4,500 of their peers. Their efforts have led to significant improvements in parity in 4-H for reaching Latino youth in their communities.
  • Miguel Diaz
  • Emily Dimond
  • Kelly Hong
  • Shannon Klisch
  • Melissa LaFreniere
  • Abbi Marrs
  • Betsy Plascencia
  • Rosa Vargas

Central Sierra Master Food Preserver Program Staff

Robin Cleveland and Sue Mosbacher of UCCE Central Sierra got a grant and extended Master Food Preserver classes to counties that don’t have a MFP program.

Robin Cleveland and Sue Mosbacher 

Information Technology (IT) Team 

  • David Hatter
  • Lora Schroeder
  • Ron Walker
  • Jonathan Wilson

Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center 

The KARE team worked collectively – at least 6 feet apart – during the coronavirus crisis to ensure research and essential functions at Kearney REC continue.
  • Ivan Aldana
  • Keith Byrum
  • Janie Duran
  • Marcia Holmes-Baker
  • Mike Kulow
  • Dale Pattigan
  • Vincent Silva
  • Patrick West

Nutrition Policy Institute 

In addition to their regular duties, the NPI Operations Transition Team members "worked together to maintain NPI operations during multiple unprecedented transitions: a reduction in team members, adoption of UC Path, an office move, and a transition to working from home during a pandemic."
  • Temika Green
  • Danielle Lee
  • Meirong Liao
  • Joni Rippee

UCCE San Bernardino Program Integration Stars 

This team has come together to create a seamless, meaningful program integration that proved to be successful in five schools in San Bernardino County. They have demonstrated that EFNEP, Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver program integration is not only possible, but can take each ANR program to a new height. School administrators and staff see the addition of MG and MFP as 'value-added' to EFNEP."
  • Christine Davidson
  • Dee Denton
  • Dalila Lizarraga
  • Marilynn Ljungberg
  • Margaret O'Neill
  • Roxana Puentes
  • Clara Wilshire 

For details about the achievements of the STAR winners, see the recording of the June event posted at


Posted on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:37 PM

No Comments Posted.

Login to leave a comment.

Read more

Webmaster Email: