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Posts Tagged: Alireza Pourreza

Names in the News

Syrett joins ANR's front desk in Davis

Selena Syrett

Selena Syrett joined the ANR team as the receptionist for the ANR building in Davis in November. She had been working as a temporary employee at the front desk since September.

Syrett comes to UC ANR from the retail world of Nordstrom Rack, where she held jobs as a cashier and stockroom employee for four years. Prior to that, she taught high school students virtually over the summer and worked as an administrative assistant at Mare Island Home Health in Vallejo. She earned a B.A. in linguistics from UC Davis. 

Syrett is located at the front desk of the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at smsyrett@ucanr.edu and (530) 750-1200. 

Beck joins Hopland and Sierra Foothill RECs

Jackie Beck
Jacalyn “Jackie” Beck joined UC ANR as an academic program management officer for Hopland and Sierra Foothill research and extension centers on Oct. 25. She is charged with developing and managing the research programs at both Hopland REC and Sierra Foothill REC.

“My personal background is in interdisciplinary wildlife science and I am looking forward to expanding research and education at Hopland and Sierra Foothill in new and unique ways,” Beck said. “We will definitely continue to focus on our historic strengths (e.g., oak management and livestock research), but I will also be looking to bring on more integrated studies, creative pursuits, and social science programs.”

Beck will help the REC directors manage existing projects, recruit new researchers, assist with finding and winning funding, and develop collaborations, both among researchers at each REC and between the two RECs.

“My goal is to create a more unified vision for academic programs at the two sites and to facilitate projects that utilize the amazing resources at both,” Beck said.

She earned a Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University and a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science at Pennsylvania State University. As a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow prior to joining UC ANR, Beck studied African lion and domestic cattle interactions, collecting data within Tanzanian national parks and non-protected areas. While working as a research coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from 2014 to 2016, she implemented bat conservation efforts.

John Bailey, Hopland REC director, would like her to meet many members of the ANR community. “I'm hoping that the introduction will lead to people contacting her and remembering that our two RECs are great places to work,” he said.

Beck is based at Sierra Foothill REC and can be reached at jacbeck@ucanr.edu.

Eissa joins Environmental Health and Safety

Essam Eissa

Essam Eissa joined UC ANR as an environmental health and safety specialist in July.

From 2016 to 2020, Eissa served as an inspector with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  He worked from 2001 to 2016 in the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Criminal Investigation as a senior environmental engineer. 

In 2002, he received a certification of professional negotiation skills from the California State Department. In 1993, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services recognized Eissa with a Certificate of Achievement for Incident Commander/Scene Manager.

Eissa earned bachelor's degrees in agriculture engineering and environmental/safety engineering from West Los Angeles College. He also earned a bachelor's degree in international law and criminal justice from Solano College. He was designated as a chief environmental engineer by the United Nations in Brindisi, Italy, in 2012.

Eissa is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1364 and eeissa@ucanr.edu.

Capitol Corridor small farms team expands

From left, Pang Kue, Asia Saechao, Fam Lee and Yurytzy Sanchez have joined Margaret Lloyd's small farms team.

Margaret Lloyd, UCCE Capitol Corridor advisor, has expanded her small farms team to include Hmong, Mien and Spanish-speaking community educators. 

Pang Kue took trainings from The Interpreter Advantage and Bridging the Gap (UC Davis) and is certified as a Superior Hmong Speaker. She has been a Hmong linguist for over 10 years, providing professional language services for clients including UC Davis Medical Center, leading Hmong language study groups, teaching cultural etiquette, and volunteering in her community. Kue can be reached at pykue@ucanr.edu

Asia Saechao is a queer, nonbinary descendent of Indigenous Khmu and Iu Mien refugees of the Secret War in Laos who settled in Richmond - homeland and ancestral lands of the Huchiun band of Ohlone.

Before joining UC ANR, Saechao worked with an environmental nonprofit to develop culturally relevant environmental education for youth of color in Oregon's greater Portland area. They now work to reimagine tools for Iu Mien and Khmu learning, storytelling and archiving. In addition to serving Mien and Hmong farmers with UC ANR, Saechao serves as senior program coordinator for Iu Mien Community Services. Saechao can be reached at asisaechao@ucanr.edu.

Fam Fin Lee was a strawberry grower for six years in Elk Grove and got to know Lloyd through farm visits and annual meetings. Her parents, who are lu-Mien, were farmers in Laos and in Thailand.

Born in Laos, Lee moved to the U.S. in 1979. Initially living with her family in an apartment with three Chinese families, Lee learned to speak Cantonese before learning English. Lee can be reached at fllee@ucanr.edu.

Yurytzy Sanchez grew up on a peach farm and raised goats, sheep, chickens and cattle in the Central Valley. The first-generation college graduate did an internship in Washington D.C. while earning her bachelor's degree in international relations from UC Davis. She also volunteered, then interned at the UC Davis Student Farm. After graduation, Sanchez took a farming position at The Cloverleaf Farm, where she co-owned and managed an eight-acre organic vegetable and stone fruit farm. Sanchez can be reached at ygsanchez@ucdavis.edu.

The small farms team is based at the UCCE office in Woodland. To read more about them, visit https://ccsmallfarms.ucanr.edu/About.

ESA recognizes Dara, Sutherland, Perring 

Surendra Dara

Three UC ANR entomologists were recently honored by the Entomological Society of America.

Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, received the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section award for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Entomology.

Andrew Sutherland, UCCE urban integrated pest management advisor for the Bay Area, was honored for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board. He has been actively involved in developing ESA certification programs that are designed to help pest management professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills to advance their careers.

Andrew Sutherland receives ESA award for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board.

Thomas Perring
This year, the ESA launched the Certified Integrated Pest Management Technician credential. "The new CIT credential gives pest management professionals who are relatively new to the field a way to get a leg up in their career and gain a competitive edge," Sutherland said.

As reported previously, Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, received the ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

The awards were presented Nov. 2 during ESA's annual meeting in Denver.

Pourreza elected to Club of Bologna

Alireza Pourreza
Alireza Pourreza, UC Davis assistant professor of Cooperative Extension in biological and agricultural engineering, was elected to the prestigious Club of Bologna in October.

The Club of Bologna is a world task force on agricultural mechanization. The Italy-based club is comprised of 96 members from 28 countries, representing research, industry and international organizations around the world. Pourreza is one of four new members this year and the only full member from California.

“It's a great honor for me to represent U.S. and California in the Club of Bologna,” he said. “Becoming a full member has been my dream since I first joined the club as a temporary member in 2016. I'm eager to get involved with club activities and pursue California's priorities and needs in mechanization and smart farming.”

Pourreza runs the Digital Agriculture Lab at UC Davis, which uses novel sensing and mechanization technology to help California growers get the most out of their crops and resources.

His lab has developed a virtual orchard that can simulate any orchard down to the tree level using aerial sensing data collected with drones. It allows growers to examine their crops in virtual reality and run experiments to determine how much sunlight each plant is getting, as well as how to optimize resources. This prevents overuse of resources that can waste water and have detrimental long-term effects on the plants.

His team has also developed a mechanical spray backstop to catch spray pesticide particles that would otherwise be released into the air when being applied to trees.

Noah Pflueger-Peters' full story is at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/alireza-pourreza-elected-club-bologna.

Meng and CalFresh team win innovation award

From left, Martha Lopez, Chris Wong,Yu Meng, Paul Tabarez and Rigo Ponce of UCCE Imperial County's nutrition team. Shown in 2019.

Yu Meng, UCCE youth family and community advisor, and the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC team in Imperial County were honored by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences West Region with the Innovative Youth Development Program Award for Team Project.

Their “Engaging Underserved Youth in Nutrition Education and Community Development through Youth-led Participatory Action Research Program” was designed to engage youth to address nutrition, healthy behaviors, and other public health issues based on social justice principles.

With their guidance, students conducted video interviews capturing classmates' comments about cafeteria food and preferred snacks. Based on what they learned, the students recruited new members to deliver gardening and cooking lessons as well as advocate for a farm-to-school program and more garden space to benefit the whole school.

At another school, students audited food waste in their cafeteria. To reduce food waste, the students asked administrators to create a “Share Table” where students can leave unopened and untouched food for other students to pick up and eat. Meng anticipates the change will benefit more than 400 low-income youth at the school.

They partnered with Career Technical Education teachers, which boosted youth participation from dozens to hundreds. The collaboration has led to youths creating physical activity videos and developing a survey to find out how active their peers have been during the pandemic. 

During the past three years, the Imperial County team worked with three school districts and 300 youth, indirectly benefiting 7,100 students through policy and environmental changes that schools made. Pre- and post-program surveys show that students reported their willingness to suggest solutions or recommendations for making their school/community a healthier place rose from 29% to 93%.

Koundinya honored for evaluation training

Vikram Koundinya

Vikram Koundinya, UCCE evaluation specialist at UC Davis, received the American Evaluation Association's Excellence in Extension Evaluation Training Award.

The award recognizes his efforts in conducting extension evaluation training of outstanding quality for UC Cooperative Extension professionals. His extension evaluation-capacity building program includes statewide trainings, trainings to specific project teams of extension advisors, and one-on-one consultations with extension advisors, UCCE specialists, academic staff and students.

The award was presented to Koundinya Nov. 9 during the association's 35th annual conference, which was held virtually.

 

Names in the News

Gabriel Torres
Torres named grape advisor for Tulare and Kings counties

Gabriel Torres joined UCCE on Feb. 1, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Torres was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside developing an integrated pest management strategy for controlling the most prevalent nematode species in grape vineyards in California. Torres evaluated rootstock resistance, chemical and biological compounds, and anaerobic soil disinfestation methods. Torres conducted most of the nematode experiments under the supervision of UC Cooperative Extension specialist Andreas Westphal.

From 2014 to 2016, Torres was a leader of the plant pathology program for the Colombian Oil Palm Natural Research Centre (CENIPALMA) in Bogota, Colombia. There he developed and guided projects aimed at solving disease problems of the oil palm crop in Colombia, including bud rot, lethal wilt, and basal stem rot.

He completed a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.Sc. in agronomy from Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia.

Torres is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3316 and gabtorres@ucanr.edu.

Lund named grape advisor for Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties

Karl Lund

Karl Lund joined UCCE on Jan. 8, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Lund was a trial specialist at Syngenta Flower, where he designed and conducted floriculture research trials under both greenhouse and garden conditions for a wide variety of flowering plants, specifically focused on the development of fertilization recommendations and nutrient profiles. In 2016, Lund was a technology development representative at Monsanto, where he worked with seed distributors and local farmers to plant, maintain and evaluate pre-commercial varieties of lettuce, bell peppers and spinach.

Lund spent many years teaching and conducting research in viticulture. Starting in 2008, he worked in the laboratory of Andy Walker at UC Davis, where he ran a project looking at the phenotypic and genetic diversity of phylloxera in Northern California, and trying to understand the genetics of phylloxera resistance in hopes of breeding new phylloxera resistance rootstocks for California.  His research helped identify new feeding types of phylloxera in Northern California and connected those feeding types to genetic groups. He also identified new sources of broad phylloxera resistance to be used in breeding phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.

As a postdoc in the Walker lab, Lund looked at drought avoidance in grapevine rootstocks. Insights from this work may be useful in the creation of more drought-tolerant rootstocks. In addition to his research, he was a teaching assistant for several UC Davis classes. Lund wrote a book chapter on grapevine breeding in the western United States and lectured at Cal Poly SLO for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Lund completed a B.S. and a Ph.D. in genetics at UC Davis.

Based in Madera, Lund can be reached at (559) 675-7879, ext. 7205 and ktlund@ucanr.edu.

Kansal joins CSIT as portfolio and project manager 

Namita Kansal

Namita Kansal recently joined the Communication Services and Information Technology as a portfolio and project manager. 

Some of the projects she is working on include assessing the network status of all UCCE sites in California to inform strategic decisions to fund and prioritize the UCCE sites that urgently need network upgrades, portfolio-level reports to inform strategic, operational and funding decisions for the Web IT team, a change management process for the entire IT team, and a project plan and funding estimates for the ANR website redesign.

Before joining ANR, Kansal was a project manager at the UC Davis School of Medicine, working to operationalize strategic initiatives, program development and project management.  

She earned a masters in public administration and a master in arts from Syracuse University. 

Kansal is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1207 and namkansal@ucanr.edu.

Ali Pourreza
Pourreza wins ASABE Sunkist Young Designer Award

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has selected Ali Pourreza, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, to receive the Sunkist Young Designer Award.

This award recognizes and honors ASABE members under 40 years of age for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the agricultural engineering profession and to stimulate professional achievement.

Sponsored by Sunkist Growers, Inc., the Young Designer Award recognizes the development of a technical plan that influences agricultural engineering progress, as evidenced by use in the field.

Pourreza developed a polarized imaging technique to detect accumulation of starch in citrus leaves as an early indication of citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB).

“The polarized imaging technique was primarily used for early citrus greening detection, that is a major disease of citrus with no known cure,” said Pourreza. “Early detection of citrus greening is important because growers can prevent further spread of the disease before the entire orchard gets infected. The polarized imaging technique can also be used in other applications that involve the detection of starch or sugar.”

He also developed the Virtual Orchard, which uses aerial imagery and photogrammetry to create a 3-D image of an orchard.

“Knowledge about tree geometry such as individual canopy cover, volume, height and density is important for growers to understand variability within their orchard and make timely decisions about irrigation, nutrient, pest and disease, etc.,” Pourreza said. ”Virtual Orchard is an affordable technology that makes this information accessible for growers. Information extracted from the Virtual Orchard can be used to apply variable rate inputs in a site-specific manner according to the prescription maps that identify the application rate at different locations of an orchard.”

The award will be presented to Pourreza during the ASABE annual meeting in July in Detroit.

UC ANR receives award for extending high-speed broadband

Gabe Youtsey
The nonprofit organization CENIC has awardedUC ANR its 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. The award recognizes work to extend high-speed broadband to University of California researchers in rural communities across California by connecting UC ANR sites to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN),

Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer; Tolgay Kizilelma, chief information security officer; and Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations, were recognized as project leaders.

Tolgay Kizilelma
In 2016, CENIC began working with UC ANR to connect its nine research and extension centers to CalREN, equipping them with internet speeds comparable to those found on UC campuses. For example, the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County and the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Imperial County are both connected at 500 Mbps, five times their previous level of connectivity. 

“You can't do big data with dial-up internet speed,” said Jeffery Dahlberg, director of the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center. “Before this upgrade, our internet was slower than my home internet speeds. Now we have speeds more like you will find on UC campuses.”

Tu Tran
Due to the remote location of most of these facilities, the work involved in identifying suitable pathways for connections between each site and the CalREN network has been extensive. Engineers from CENIC and UC ANR collaborated on network design, deployment, and troubleshooting to equip these facilities with the high-speed internet they need.

In addition to the RECs, Highlander Hall, home to News and Information Outreach in Spanish and the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, is now connected to CalREN. Elkus Ranch (the environmental education center for Bay Area youths), the UC ANR building in Davis and 30 UC Cooperative Extension sites are in the process of being connected.

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 4:58 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

UC ANR introduces Market-based Adjustment Plan for staff salaries

Attracting and retaining highly qualified employees is a top priority for UC ANR. To be more competitive among many diverse employment markets, UC ANR leadership has developed a plan to address the competitiveness of our staff salaries. 

As part of UC ANR's overall compensation strategy, VP Humiston approved a four-year Market-based Adjustment Plan for non-represented staff to ensure salaries of existing staff are better aligned with the labor market. All non-represented staff are eligible to participate in this plan, regardless of their position's funding source. For some whose compensation has fallen behind market rates, the Division is making a significant effort to address this issue, as long as it is fiscally viable and prudent to do so.

Using UC Career Tracks, UC ANR Human Resources will be able to identify, review and address the salaries of non-represented staff members whose pay is not in the targeted competitive zone. This strategy will be implemented over four years, which will allow us to better manage the fiscal impact of the salary adjustments.

Eligible employees will be notified individually within the next few weeks. These market-based adjustments are separate and distinct from any merit program approved centrally by President Napolitano.

For more information, please read the FAQs at http://ucanr.edu/sites/ANRSPU/Supervisor_Resources/Compensation/Equity_

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 1:03 PM

UC ANR adds Matching Grants Program

AVP Wendy Powers announced that UC ANR has added another funding mechanism to its 2017 funding opportunities/grants website: a Matching Grants Program.

For grant opportunities that require matching funds, this program will provide cash resources for UC ANR academics to submit as matching funds in their proposals for external funding support of research, outreach or training efforts.

Proposed projects must be within the scope of the UC ANR Strategic Vision. All UC ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted at any time, as the opportunities present themselves.  Proposals will be submitted to the Associate Vice President and reviewed by the UC ANR Strategic Initiative Leaders and two UC ANR Vice Provosts. Because we recognize that these are time-sensitive projects, the review process will take no more than one month.

Requests for matching funds will be no more than three pages in length and must include a link to the request for proposals, a justification indicating why it is appropriate for UC ANR to provide the cash match, description of the project (study design, educational framework/audience, training program, etc.) and detailed budget. Requests of up to a 1:1 cash match will be considered. No awards will be made until a contract between the grantor and UC ANR is executed. In addition to any reporting required by the grantor, all projects will require a final report with stated outcomes/impacts or anticipated outcomes/impacts. A final report to the grantor may be substituted if the final report contains outcome/impact information.

UC ANR will provide a limited pool of funds for this grant program on an annual basis. The pool of funding will be managed to ensure year round availability for timely projects.

For details about the Matching Grants Program and other ANR funding opportunities and grants, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Programs/2017_Funding_Opportunities_Grants.

For questions about the Matching Grants Program, please contact Powers at wendy.powers@ucop.edu.

 

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 10:11 AM

UC ANR to boost 4-H and MFP county support, better integrate YFC programs

The extended vacancy of the Youth, Families and Communities Director position (vacant 17 months) has given UC ANR leadership time to  consider program needs and how the Division can best meet those needs moving forward. After reflection, collecting recommendations from the respective Statewide Directors and gathering input from the broader ANR community, AVP Wendy Powers has decided not to fill the YFC director position.

“Interim co-directors Shannon Horrillo and Katie Panarella have provided excellent leadership and afforded the Division an opportunity to invest the unused salary provision to further strengthen and support the YFC program,” Powers said. 

Funds designated for the YFC director position will be reinvested into YFC programs to support growth and new opportunities. The statewide program directors identified program integration among 4-H Youth Development; Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences; Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener programs as a key priority.

“In support of their vision, we will hire a Program Integration Coordinator that will support efforts to integrate across programs and disciplines to maximize extension efforts and identify new multidisciplinary funding opportunities,” Powers said. “This is consistent with the original intent of having a YFC program and a goal within the UC ANR strategic plan to better integrate and focus our efforts.” The position will be released in the coming months with interviews anticipated in May.

“Subsequently, based on the directors' recommendations, we will invest in hiring a Master Food Preserver and Food Entrepreneurship Academic Coordinator,” Powers said. “This position will bring together our existing work with home food preservation, cottage foods and innovation in agriculture to best address the food security needs of California and to pursue funding opportunities to implement programming.

She also announced plans to hire a part-time 4-H online data system administrator to centralize some 4-H online administrative functions at the state level, reducing the administrative workload on 4-H county-based staff and increasing technical assistance and support.

“We believe this plan will provide the needed support to position YFC for growth and to meet future needs,” said Powers.

Shannon Horrillo will continue permanently as the statewide 4-H director and Katie Panarella as the statewide Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program. They will continue working in partnership with Missy Gable, the statewide Master Gardener director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program to lead these high-priority ANR statewide programs and integration in ways that leverage their assets for greater collective impact.   

 

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