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Posts Tagged: Ashraf El-Kereamy

Names in the News

El-kereamy named Lindcove REC director

Ashraf El-kereamy

Ashraf El-kereamy will be the new director of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Lindcove Research & Extension Center, starting on July 1, 2020. He will continue to serve as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside and based at Lindcove Research & Extension Center.  

“Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell retires this year after 13 years as director of Lindcove REC, California's premier citrus research center,” said Mark Lagrimini, UC ANR vice provost for research and extension. “We are excited to have Ashraf in place to carry on the tremendous success attributable to the research performed at Lindcove. Ashraf brings a breadth of research, extension and leadership skills.”

El-kereamy has extensive experience with several commodities with research revolving around plant hormones, fruit ripening, plant nutrition, and the responses of different plant species to abiotic stress conditions. 

Since February 2019, El-kereamy has been serving as a UC Cooperative Extension citrus specialist based at Lindcove Research and Extension Center. Prior to the specialist position, El-kereamy was a UCCE viticulture and small fruit advisor for Kern County, where he established a research and extension program serving the San Joaquin Valley table grape industry for four years. Prior to joining UC ANR, he was an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Horticulture at Ain Shams University in Egypt. 

“I am honored and very excited to be the director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center, which plays a crucial role in the California citrus industry,” El-kereamy said. “I am confident that, with the support of our industry, community and the University of California, we will build tomorrow's Lindcove REC as a center of excellence in research and extension. I am looking forward to leading Lindcove REC and providing our clientele with up-to-date technologies to cope with the challenges facing the California agriculture industry.” 

El-kereamy earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture and master's degree in pomology from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and a doctorate in agriculture with an emphasis in grapevine physiology and molecular biology from Toulouse University in France.

Campbell named NORDP Rising Star for 2020

Vanity Campbell

The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) has named Vanity Campbell, UC ANR proposal development coordinator, one of its three Rising Stars for 2020. 

Campbell helps UC ANR employees improve their grant applications for success in receiving funding.

“Vanity's reputation as a fierce advocate for inclusive research development, an exceptional organizer, and a passionate cheerleader for her colleagues makes her precisely the kind of person this award was designed to celebrate,” wrote her nominator. “When I think about the future of NORDP, I hope she is helping us to lead it.”

NORDP established the Rising Star Award in 2016 to recognize up to three members annually who have made outstanding volunteer contributions and show great potential for future contributions to NORDP and the research development profession. Campbell will be presented with an etched glass plaque and receive free registration for a future NORDP conference.

Communicators win global awards

Steve Elliott won a silver award for writing "IPM in Yellowstone."

Six UC ANR-affiliated communicators won writing or photography awards in a global competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). 

Steve Elliott, communications coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, won one silver (second-place) and two bronze (third-place) for his writing and photography; Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist for the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, two silvers for her writing and photography; and Diane Nelson, communication specialist for the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won a bronze for her writing. 

Ricardo Vela, Miguel Sanchez and Norma de la Vega of UC ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish won a bronze award in diversity electronic media and audio for targeted audiences.

Elliott's entries and the categories: 

Kathy Keatley Garvey won a silver award for this candid photo of Kira meeting a stick insect.

Garvey's entries and the categories: 

  • Writing for Newspapers, silver award for “Paying It Forward,” about the successful career of award-winning academic advisor Elvira Galvan Hack
  • Picture Story, silver award for “Kira Meets a Stick Insect” (at Bohart Museum of Entomology)

Nelson's entry and category:

Vela, Sanchez and de la Vega's entry and category:

The awards were presented during ACE's virtual conference June 24. ACE is an international association of communicators, educators and information technologists who focus on communicating research-based information. The organization offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences.

Read more at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=42747.

Meyer receives Bradford-Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award 

Deanne Meyer

Deanne Meyer, UC Cooperative Extension livestock waste management specialist, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford & Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award, given by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis. 

Meyer is being honored for her leadership in substantially improving the sustainability of California's dairy industry through her research and outreach.

The Bradford-Rominger award recognizes and honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist. 

Meyer has directed the environmental stewardship efforts of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP)—a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia—since the program's inception in 1996. 

Meyer's dedication to build a bridge between industry and regulatory agencies has paid dividends for California's air and water quality. With Meyer's leadership, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility's manure management. The program has been so successful that it received California's highest environmental honor, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, in 2007.

Reflecting on Meyer's work, Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said, “Serving as chair of California's Water Quality Task Force in the mid-1990s, I had a front row seat to the challenges Deanne faced as she organized CDQAP and brought many unlikely allies to the table. The many successes of that program is a testament to her skills as both a scientist and a diplomat.”

Beyond Meyer's work with CDQAP, her research in groundwater salinity has provided farmers, agency staff and other concerned stakeholders with unbiased information presented with an understanding of agricultural realities.

“Her efforts, leadership, and dedication are so valued by all the diverse sectors she works across,” said Anita Oberbauer, professor and dean for Agricultural Sciences at UC Davis. “By working closely with regulatory agencies and farmers, she ensures our state's livestock and dairy producers have the tools that they need to meet the environmental challenges.” 

Names in the News

El-Kereamy named UCCE citrus specialist
Ashraf El-Kereamy

Ashraf El-Kereamy was appointed UC Cooperative Extension citrus horticultural specialist in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside on Feb. 1, 2019.

He had been working as a UCCE area viticulture advisor serving Kern, Tulare and Kings counties since 2014.

Prior to joining UCCE, El-Kereamy worked as a post-doc research associate at University of Guelph, studying plant drought and heat stress tolerance in plants from 2013 to 2014, and studying the genotypes variation in nitrogen use efficiency and plant heat stress tolerance from 2008 to 2012. From 2012 to 2013, he was assistant/associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, Ain Shams University, Egypt, where he taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses for horticultural science and served as the principal investigator for a U.S.-Egypt joint collaborative research project between University of Wyoming and Ain Shams University on improving grapevine tolerance to drought and heat stress. As a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Guelph, Vineland, El-Kereamy studied the pathogenesis-related proteins during plum fruit ripening. As a University of Manitoba post-doc, he studied the physiological role of abscisic acid in plants.

He earned his Ph.D. in agriculture with an emphasis in grape physiology and molecular biology from INP-ENSAT, Toulouse University, Toulouse, France, and a M.Sc. in pomology and B.Sc. in horticulture, both from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

El-Kereamy is based at Lindcove Research and Extension Center in Exeter, and can be reached at (559) 592-2408, Cell: (661) 703-4678 and aelkereamy@ucanr.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ashrafelkereamy.

Galdi joins UCCE in Siskiyou County

Giuliano Galdi

Giuliano C. Galdi joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2019, as a UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor in Siskiyou County.

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 to improve sustainability of water use and hay quality. Tasks included irrigation scheduling, planting/harvesting trials, and data handling and analysis. As a master's student and student research assistant at Fresno State (2014-2017), Galdi evaluated salinity tolerance in different alfalfa varieties, attended conferences, and presented research in the form of posters and talks. He speaks Portuguese fluently.

Galdi completed 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 Yreka and can be reached at (530) 842-2711 and gcgaldi@ucanr.edu.

Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @uccesiskiyou.

Grettenberger joins UCCE as field and vegetable crops specialist

Ian Grettenberger

Ian Grettenberger joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2019, as a field and vegetable crops assistant specialist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis. Grettenberger is interested in advancing integrated pest management in field and vegetable crops, plant-insect interactions, and applied insect ecology.

Grettenberger earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Penn State University and a BS in biology from Western Washington University.

Prior to joining UCCE, Grettenberger was a postdoctoral research scholar at UC Davis, working first with Larry Godfrey and then with Frank Zalom.

Grettenberger is based at UC Davis in Briggs Hall and can be reached at (530) 752-0473 and imgrettenberger@ucdavis.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @IGrett.

Meng joins UCCE in Imperial County

Yu Meng

Yu Meng joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2019, as the youth, families and communities advisor serving Imperial County, UC Desert Research and Extension Center and communities near the U.S.-Mexico border. Her responsibilities will focus on providing community development programs in the area of youth, families, and communities, with major outreach to the Latino youth and families.

Prior to joining UCCE, Meng worked for a USDA-funded project known as "the WAVE~Ripples for change" in collaboration with Oregon State University professionals, extension, community partners, high school soccer coaches, and school districts, and other dedicated volunteers. The program was designed to prevent unhealthy weight gain among 15- to 19-year-old soccer players. Most of the youth she worked with were Latinos and from low-income families. During this time, Meng helped develop and test the first sports nutrition, physical activity, family and consumer sciences curriculum for active youth. Her work resulted in positive developments in youth, reducing added sugar intake, maintaining fruit and vegetable intake over time, and improving the awareness of sports nutrition. Participating youth also applied additional skills they learned from gardening and cooking workshops at their homes and shared the lessons and practical applications with their respective families.

Meng is fluent in Chinese and originally from China, where she worked for food industries and started to notice the nutrition issues with processed foods and their effects on children's health. With that in mind, she came to the U.S. and earned a master's degree and Ph.D.

She completed a Ph.D. in nutrition science from Oregon State University, a M.S. in food science and nutrition from Utah State University, and a B.S. in Food Science and Engineering from Southern China University of Technology, China.

Meng is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7700 and ucmeng@ucanr.edu.

York joins UCCE as silviculture and forest specialist

Rob York

Robert York joined UC ANR on Jan. 2, 2019, as a UC Cooperative Extension silviculture and applied forest ecology assistant specialist and adjunct associate professor of forestry in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. He directs research and management activity on the Berkeley Forests, a network of five research forests covering the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest from Shasta to Tulare counties.

York is a Registered Professional Forester in California. He earned a Ph.D. in forest ecology and silviculture, a M.S. in forest community ecology and a B.S. in forest management, all from UC Berkeley.

Prior to joining UCCE, York has been the research station manager at Blodgett Forest Research Station with UC Berkeley.

York is based in Georgetown and can be reached at (530) 333-4475 and ryork@berkeley.edu.

Forbes named Strategic Communications director

Linda Forbes

Linda Forbes joined UC ANR as Strategic Communications director on Feb. 19.

Forbes brings over 15 years of communications experience as a marketing and branding leader in the private sector and most recently at UC Davis. Since 2012, she served as associate director of marketing at UC Davis, leading initiatives such as the award-winning monthly Aggie Tip Sheet and major advertising campaigns, as well as collaborating with campus colleagues to promote the impact and value of UC Davis on a variety of digital platforms. Travelers who fly out of the Sacramento airport may have seen ads from the last campaign she led, which included the “You sip, we solve” ad showcasing UC Davis advances in protecting the water supply.

Before coming to UC, Forbes led marketing for a statewide accounting firm and managed an automotive aftermarket brand. But Forbes, whose father was a USDA veterinarian, had a desire to contribute her skills to an organization that solves agricultural and environmental issues.

“We look forward to having Linda lead our efforts to transform ANR from the university's ‘best kept secret' to a well-known, valued service,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president

Forbes is located in room 175 in the ANR building in Davis. She can be reached at (530) 750-1204 and lforbes@ucanr.edu.

Scott joins ANR as payroll manager

Anne Marie Scott

Anne Marie Scott joined ANR's Business Operations Center as ANR payroll manager on Feb. 7, 2019. 

Scott brings strong payroll management and UCPath expertise with 19 years of UC experience in payroll, employment tax and accounts payable management. Most recently, she served as the payroll manager for the UC Office of the President working in the new UCPath system for the past year and a half. Prior to UCOP, she worked for UC Davis for 17 years as a payroll accountant, accounts payable division manager and also as the payroll manager for one of UCD's new shared service centers. She is also a Certified Payroll Professional.

Her experience working in the UCPath system at UCOP will uniquely enhance ANR's transition of payroll services to the new UCPath system. Scott will lead the ANR BOC payroll team providing time reporting and payroll services to all ANR units statewide. She will also work closely with the ANR Human Resources team to ensure efficient coordination between HR actions and payroll services. 

Scott is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be contacted at ascott@ucanr.edu and (530) 750-1273.

Zilberman awarded Wolf Prize

David Zilberman

David Zilberman, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor of agricultural and resources economics at UC Berkeley, has been awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Agriculture in recognition of his work developing economic models for fundamental problems in agriculture, economics and policy.

The Wolf Prize is an international award granted by the Wolf Foundation in six categories: agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics and the arts. The prize in the agriculture category is often referred to as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in agriculture.

The award citation names Zilberman as “a leading protagonist in debates over water policy, environmental and resource policy in agriculture and the bioeconomy,” and highlights his career as “a unique mixture of theoretical work, applied research and extension.”

"I am deeply honored to have been selected,” said Zilberman, who holds the Robinson Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. “This prize is a recognition of my entire community: my family, my collaborators, my teachers in Israel and Berkeley, the College of Natural Resources, and the uniquely supportive and inspiring Berkeley campus."

Read more about Zilberman's career achievements at https://nature.berkeley.edu/news/2019/01/david-zilberman-awarded-wolf-prize-agriculture.

Davy, Mashiri, James and Kyser win award for weed paper

From left, Josh Davy, Fadzayi Mashiri,Guy Kyser and Jeremy James.

The Weed Science Society of America honored four ANR members with its Outstanding Paper Award, Invasive Plant Science and Management. 

Medusahead grass at Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center.
Josh Davy, UC Cooperative Extension livestock, range and natural resources advisor for Tehama, Colusa and Glenn counties; Fadzayi Mashiri, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Mariposa and Merced counties; Jeremy James, UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center director, and Guy Kyser, UCCE specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, co-authored “Timing Aminopyralid to Prevent Seed Production Controls Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) and Increases Forage Grasses.”

Their co-authors were Matthew J. Rinella, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service; Susan E. Bellows, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, and Vanelle F. Peterson, Dow AgroSciences. 

The award was presented Feb. 11 during the organization's annual meeting in New Orleans.

Humiston honored by California Legislature

From left, Assemblymember Jose Medina, Paul Granillo and Glenda Humiston.

The California Legislature recognized Vice President Glenda Humiston and Paul Granillo, president of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, as recipients of the California Economic Summit's 2018 Steward Leader Awards on Feb. 4.

Humiston received the California Steward Leader Award, which recognizes statewide contributions, and Granillo received the Regional Steward Leader Award, which recognizes regional contributions. The awards were presented at last year's California Economic Summit.

Senator Anna Caballero and Assemblymember Jose Medina issued joint resolutions to Humiston and Granillo commending their exemplary records of civic leadership, both have served on the California Economic Summit Steering Committee since its inception in 2011. 

Caballero read a resolution recognizing VP Glenda Humiston as recipient of the 2018 California Steward Leader Award.

Read more about Humiston's award at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=28665.  

Humiston speaks to House Ag Committee on value of agricultural research

From left, Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University chancellor; Jacqueline Burns, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dean for research and director; Humiston; Walter H. Hill, Tuskegee University dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences and vice provost for Land-Grant Affairs; Steven H. Tallant, Texas A&M University president; and Carrie L. Billy, president and CEO of American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.

A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding, Humiston told U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
Humiston was among the six higher education leaders invited to Washington, D.C., to speak on the importance of university agricultural research and innovation on June 22.

“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources, and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research. I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”

Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.

“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."

Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.

Highlights of Humiston's remarks

  • A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
  • The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
  • A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.
  • With University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
  • In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
  • Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.

To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.

For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.

The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Eric Natwick, UCCE Imperial County advisor, hangs up his insect net after 36 years

Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz presents Eric Natwick a plaque on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
After a long and distinguished career with the UC Cooperative Extension office in Imperial County, entomologist Eric Natwick has decided to hang up his insect net. Natwick graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1980 and began work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in their insect lab in Tucson, Ariz. On July 1, 1981 he moved to the Imperial Valley where he joined the UCCE Imperial County office as the entomology advisor.

Since then, he has been a critical resource for pest management needs in field crops, alfalfa and vegetables. Besides alfalfa, his main focus has been on cotton, cole crops, lettuce, melons, onions and bell peppers. His most recent work has been working to spot and send out important information to growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) on the potentially devastating sugarcane aphid. Some of his other important projects include whitefly host plant resistance in cotton, insecticidal control of cotton pests and whitefly control in melons, and the tomato yellow leaf curly virus, a disease that threatens both commercial tomato production fields as well as home gardens.

Back in the 1990s, Natwick's work and research on the pink bollworm, which was invading the region's cotton fields, was instrumental in changing growers' practices by restricting cotton planting and terminating dates. The pink bollworm is no longer as severe a pest as it once was.

He has also put in an enormous amount of work into combatting the sweetpotato whitefly, for which he has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. He worked on pesticide evaluations for short-term control of the pest and tested alfalfa varieties for whitefly resistance. Natwick also helped develop an alfalfa irrigation management strategy to reduce whitefly numbers.

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie presents to Natwick a plaque recognizing 35 years of contributions to UC.
During his time at UCCE Imperial County, Natwick's expertise in entomology was sought out all over the world. He has given presentations and provided consulting to more than 25 countries, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and most recently Spain. In 1994, he received a distinguished service award as outstanding research advisor.

Former UCCE Imperial County director Khaled Bali said, “Eric has always been a hard worker and is one of the top one percent of advisors in having achieved the highest step (Step 9) in the UC system six years ago.”

Another former colleague, Michael Rethwisch of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln said, “It takes a special person to be a successful low-desert cooperative extension entomology advisor. It takes grit, perseverance, self-motivation, leadership and an expert eye for new insect pests and resulting challenges when diseases are involved. Eric, you not only survived, but thrived!”

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie said, “Because of his great knowledge, Eric has been our ‘go-to' person for our new advisors when they had questions or needed ideas. I can say that Eric has been a great artist of research in the field of entomology whose position will not easily be filled.”

In addition to his research, Natwick served two terms on the Holtville City Council, was mayor in 1988-89 and was director of UCCE Imperial County for five years. He has also done extensive mission work internationally.

Natwick was recently honored at a retirement party. About 70 of his colleagues, friends and employees turned out to say thanks for his years of service. He and his wife, Lisa, recently moved to Cedar City, Utah, where they plan to enjoy their “golden years”.

This article was published in the Imperial Valley Press on July 6, 2017.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 10:29 AM
  • Author: Trish Burich-McNeece

Names in the News

Mariano Galla
Galla named UCCE farm advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties

Mariano Galla joined UCCE on June 5 as an area agronomic cropping systems and weed science advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Galla was a research scientist from 2010 to 2014 at Agrisearch Services (now part of Eurofin Agroscience Australia), an Australian contract-research company with offices spread throughout the country. During his four years with the company, Galla worked in different locations across Australia, where he gained experience in different cropping systems and environments. He was responsible for establishing and conducting field trials in horticulture and broad acreage agronomy and with plant varieties.

Galla earned an M.S. in international agricultural development and a B.S. in agricultural sciences from University of Florence in Italy. He is currently studying herbicide drift as a Ph.D. candidate in weed science at UC Davis, and he anticipates completing his doctorate in spring 2018. He speaks Italian fluently.

Based in Orland, Galla can be reached at (530) 865-1105 and mfgalla@ucanr.edu

Trish Bloemker Sowers
Sowers named executive director of 4-H Foundation

Trish Bloemker Sowers joined the Development Services team June 1 as the major gift officer/executive director of the 4-H Foundation. She is a seasoned development professional with more than a decade of major and principal gifts experience in the university setting. She has worked with collegiate alumni, parents and friends as well as corporate and foundation partners at a variety of institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University, Missouri University of Science & Technology and UC Davis. In addition, Sowers has served as an executive director to a variety of trade and professional association leaders, a role in which she excelled at chapter management, board development and volunteer recruitment. 

While she takes great pride in her previous development work, Sowers is especially excited to help strengthen and enhance the CA 4-H Foundation. 4-H is the organization that has had the greatest impact on her life and there has never been a cause in which she believes more passionately than 4-H. 

Sowers, a 10-year 4-H alumna, represented the Nebraska 4-H program as a state and national leadership winner at the National 4-H Congress, where she was selected to receive the Silver Presidential Tray for outstanding leadership. In addition, she was a delegate to the National 4-H Conference, served as a member of the Nebraska Teen Awareness Team and held key leadership roles in four consecutive state conferences. 

Sowers is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and earned her master's degree at the University of Nebraska, while working full time in the Nebraska State 4-H office. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and an active volunteer for several educational and philanthropic organizations. 

Based at the ANR building in Davis, Sowers can be reached at (530) 750-1202 and tbsowers@ucanr.edu.

Bryan Schneider
Schneider named CNAS communications director

Bryan Schneider joined UC Riverside's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences as its director of communications on June 19. In this role, he will oversee digital, web and print communications, along with marketing and events management, for the college, working closely with UCR's Strategic Communications office on media relations and various communications initiatives.

Working in higher education for over 17 years, Schneider came to UCR from the Claremont Colleges, where he co-managed the communications office for Claremont McKenna College. He also led award-winning marketing and web development teams for the Health Sciences enterprise at the University of Southern California, which included the Keck Medical Center of USC and the Keck School of Medicine. Prior to that, he led communications efforts at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication and Claremont Graduate University.

Prior to his career in public communications, Schneider was a grant writer and prospect researcher in development. He studied anthropology at UCLA and the University of Michigan.

Schneider is based in the CNAS Dean's Office in the Geology Building at UCR and can be reached at (951) 827-5304 and bryan.schneider@ucr.edu.

Messenger-Sikes and Fontecha join IPM

Belinda Messenger-Sikes
Belinda Messenger-Sikes joined UC IPM as an urban writer/editor on May 1. Messenger-Sikes will update Pest Notes publications and contribute to the Urban IPM Program's newsletters, blogs, online training course development and other materials. She will also assist academics and staff in developing curricula for various training materials aimed at UC Master Gardeners, retailers, pest management professionals and other urban audiences.

Messenger-Sikes holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Riverside. Her dissertation studied the use of calcium soil amendments for control of Phytophthora root rot of avocado. After graduating, she worked as a mycologist in the discovery section of AgraQuest, a biopesticide company in Davis. In 2000, she joined the pest management program at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, where she worked in both urban and agricultural IPM. She initiated the school and child care IPM program and worked as the child care IPM specialist for eight years. Messenger-Sikes specialized in outreach and education of school staff and child care providers, introducing new users to the concepts and practices of IPM.

Messenger-Sikes is located at the ANR building in Davis. She can be reached at bmsikes@ucanr.edu and at (530) 750-1395.

Kathreen Fontecha
Kathreen Fontecha joined UC IPM as the web production coordinator and UI/UX designer on April 3. Fontecha will ensure a consistent and tested online design and user experience for the UC IPM website and digital products. She will produce wireframes and mockups, as well as create final HTML and CSS prototypes. Fontecha will coordinate and ensure that IPM content is clearly laid out and quickly and efficiently published to the UC IPM website. Working with the IT/Production staff, her first goal is to transition the website to a more mobile friendly look and feel.

Fontecha is joining UC IPM from ANR Communication Services and Information Technology (CSIT), where she was the senior artist working on producing print and digital materials for UC ANR publications, California Agriculture magazine article layouts, newsletters, infographics, signage and presentations. In addition to print production, she provided web strategy and user experience design. In this role, Fontecha developed wireframes and prototypes that provided efficient user interaction and considerations for responsive web design. 

Before CSIT, Fontecha worked for the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at UC Davis as their senior graphic designer. She managed and produced CLTC's visual communications, including publications, photography and the design and content management of their website.

Fontecha is located at the ANR building in Davis. She can be reached at (530) 750-1386 and kmfontecha@ucanr.edu.

LeChé McGill
McGill named to Council of UC Staff Assemblies 

LeChé McGill, academic human resources business consultant, has been named the junior delegate for UC ANR to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies. In this role, she also now has a position on the UC ANR Staff Assembly Council. The current chair of UC ANR Staff Assembly, Matt Baur, and co-chair Christina Adamson, have one more year on their two-year terms at the helm.

All ANR staff employees are members of the ANR Staff Assembly. The elected leaders of the group seek staff input on policies, processes and programs and serve in an advisory capacity to ANR leadership, giving staff a collective voice on issues of concern. 

Surls' book wins Gold Medal

From Cows to Concrete” by Rachel Surls, UC Cooperative Extension sustainable food systems advisor in Los Angeles County, and Judith Gerber has earned the Gold Medal in the category of Regional (Adult Nonfiction) in the 19th annual Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

The announcement was made during the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24. The awards recognize the best books published in 2016 from small, independent and university presses.

From the earliest pueblo cornfields to the struggles of farm workers to the rise of the environmental movement, "From Cows to Concrete" chronicles the epic tale of how agriculture forged Los Angeles into an urban metropolis, and how, ultimately, this farm empire spurred the very growth that paved it over, as sprawling suburbs swallowed up thousands of acres of prime farmland.

Surls and Gerber tell the continuing story of how, on the same land once squandered by corporate greed and “progress,” urban farmers are making inroads to a greener future. More than 150 vintage images expand the fascinating, detailed history.

Gerber, a second-generation Angeleno, is a farm and garden authority who has written about sustainable and urban farming, local foods and organic gardening for more than 20 years.

Over 2,000 entries were submitted in 66 categories, with Foreword's editors choosing the finalists, and a panel of over 150 librarians and booksellers acting as judges to pick the winners.

The book, published by Angel City Press, is available at http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=3549. 

Steve Elliott

Elliott and Garvey win ACE awards

Two communicators affiliated with UC ANR won a total of five awards for their writing and photography in a competition sponsored by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). The awards were presented at the ACE meeting, held June 13-16 in New Orleans.

Steve Elliott, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management Center, received a gold award in promotional writing for his story, "Safflower Makes an Areawide IPM Program Work," published in the Western Front newsletter. Judges scored his work 100 out of a possible 100, saying, "You had me at Rodney Dangerfield. Very creative, the lead drew me right in wanting to read more. Excellent flow, packed with information in a narrative style. Congratulations on the terrific analytics for the newsletter."

He also received a bronze for his photo essay, "Loving the Land of Enchantment." Judges wrote: "Good variety of shot sizes which keeps it interesting. Diversity of stories along with photo content is engaging, and sticking to the IPM theme helps. There is so much text info that it was difficult to wade through. The words compliment the photos instead of the usual where the story supersedes the photos."

 

Garvey won a bronze ACE award for this photo of a monarch butterfly.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist for the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, received a silver award (second place) for a photo series entitled the "Predator and the Pest: What's for Dinner?" on her Bug Squad post on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website on Oct. 3, 2016. Her series showed a praying mantis eating a cabbage white butterfly. Judges commented, "Definitely tells a story, interesting angles and good macro technique. Caught in the moment, but has a still life feel to it, like it's a diorama in a museum and we get to look at the scene from all sides. A unique look and good capture.?"

Garvey also won a bronze award for her feature photo "Save the Monarchs," posted Aug. 8, 2016, on her Bug Squad blog. It showed a monarch clinging to a finger. Judges said, "The detail in this photo is incredible. The lighting on the hand against the black background is definitely striking. And it makes the white spots on the monarch pop! Beautiful!"

This WSU-tagged monarch was featured in a Bug Squad blog post that won an ACE award. Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

"WSU-Tagged Monarch: What a Traveler!" earned her a bronze award (third place) for blog writing on her Bug Squad blog. Judges wrote: "Short and sweet and to the point. Perfect for web reading. The photo is so helpful to the reader. The call to action at the end is a plus and not something I've seen on other entries. Fabulous use of social media to extend the reach of the article, too." – Kathy Keatley Garvey

William Walton
Walton wins Western Region NIFA teaching award

William Walton, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Western Region Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. He will be recognized at the Western Region Joint Summer Meeting in Portland, Ore., on July 12. 

The award, given by National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recognizes exceptional and innovative teaching in college and university agricultural and food science programs. Recipients exhibit “sustained, meritorious and exceptional teaching” that is “fundamental to recruiting and retaining the scientific and professional expertise essential to the future growth and progress of our nation's food and agricultural system.”

Each nominee is judged on teaching quality, philosophy of teaching and teaching methodology, service to the teaching profession and professional growth in teaching, professional growth and scholarly activity, and service to students.

“I have formulated my teaching goals and outcomes with the following thought in mind: if I ran into a former student on the street five years from now, what concepts in insect ecology would I hope that this person has retained?” Walton said. “I want my courses to provide benefits that transcend the subject matter, but I also want to balance new developments in pedagogy and technology with a fundamental understanding of the subject matter. Students need to be informed and inquisitive citizens who appreciate that learning is fun and a life-long process.”

Walton's laboratory works on integrating studies of mosquito biology and ecology with the design of control methodologies for pestiferous and pathogen-transmitting mosquitoes in wetlands. He was a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, has served as president of the Society for Vector Ecology, and is president-elect of the American Mosquito Control Association. – Iqbal Pitalwalla

 

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