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Names in the News

Obrist joins UC ANR as vice provost for academic personnel and development 

Daniel Obrist

Daniel Obrist joined UC ANR on Aug. 15 as the vice provost for academic personnel and development. Obrist will initially hold a 50% appointment through the end of 2022 before assuming the role full-time on Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, Obrist is a professor and the chairperson of the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. His academic and educational background includes ecology and ecosystem science, hydrogeology, atmospheric and environmental sciences, and soil science.

He has published over 85 peer-reviewed publications including in high-impact scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Reviews, and PNAS, and has a strong record of extramural research funding. Obrist has given more than 230 conference and seminar presentations.

“I am excited to contribute to the important mission of UC ANR to bring research and knowledge generated by the UC system to the people of California,” he said. “In my role, I will strive to support academic personnel at UC ANR and help recruit additional outstanding scientists to further ANR's mission. As I said during my interviews, a guiding principle of mine is to further sustainability and protect natural resources, and I am committed to supporting Californians in adapting to a fast-changing environment.”

Obrist will be based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 464-8301 and dobrist@ucanr.edu.

Norville named fire advisor in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties 

Tori Norville

Tori Norville started on Aug. 1 as the new UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.

In this capacity, Norville will work with residents and organizations within the wildland-urban interface to encourage and cultivate fire-adapted communities. She aims to provide education and outreach on home hardening, defensible space and the importance of forest and fuel management on the landscape.

While pursuing her bachelor's degree in forestry and natural resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Norville became interested in “disturbance ecology” – how factors such as disease, insects and fire affect landscapes and environments. 

“Many of the forest health problems we are seeing are stemming from a lack of disturbance, which traditionally was fire,” Norville said. 

Her understanding of fire and its effects deepened during her master's degree studies in forestry science (also at Cal Poly SLO), as well as through her seven years with CAL FIRE at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County. She worked as the Registered Professional Forester for its Timber Sales Program, and then the Research and Demonstration Program. 

Norville's firsthand experiences from the past few fire seasons have helped shape her goals and approach. She hopes to “work holistically with disturbances” – specifically fire – on the landscape to foster healthy forests and ecosystems that are adaptable and resilient, while also researching the environmental and social aspects of fuel-reduction projects and prescribed fire.

“Hopefully, I can begin to change the perception of fire from something we need to fear, to something we respect,” she said.

Norville, based at the UCCE office in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, can be reached at trnorville@ucanr.edu.

Atim named UCCE specialist in abiotic stress 

Jackie Atim

Jackie Atim began working as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist affiliated with UC Merced on July 11, based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

Atim's work will include applied research focused on abiotic stress, which includes plant stress caused by extreme temperatures, high salinity, floods, drought or nutrient deficiency. In particular, she will be studying the genetic makeup of sorghum, its resistance to drought and the value it contributes to byproducts such as bioenergy. 

California, as Atim explained, is an ideal place to study drought resilience given its semi-arid climate and water challenges. She is hopeful that California will establish sorghum as a climate-smart crop for forage and grain to address the challenges facing water-stressed production systems.   

Furthermore, Atim will focus on “transforming science that can be consumed by ordinary farmers and growers alike.”

While Atim understands the importance of research-based decision-making, she also recognizes the challenges that non-academic audiences experience when applying such information. As a start, Atim anticipates collaborating with communications experts to simplify research findings and create visually appealing resources. 

Before joining UC ANR, Atim worked as a plant pathologist for the National Agricultural Research Organization based at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Uganda. In addition to pathology, Atim has expertise in plant breeding and entomology.

Atim earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and education from Kyambogo University in Uganda. She has a master's degree in plant biotechnology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate in agriculture, plant breeding and entomology from the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom.

Atim can be reached at jatim@ucanr.edu. Follow her on Twitter @JackieAtim2.

Gyawaly named IPM advisor 

Sudan Gyawaly

Sudan Gyawaly joined UC Cooperative Extension on July 5 as an area integrated pest management advisor serving Butte, Sutter, Yuba, Glenn, Colusa and Tehama counties.

Prior to becoming an IPM advisor, Gyawaly was an associate specialist at UCCE in Stanislaus County, where he studied tree nut pests, including walnut husk fly, navel orangeworm, and Pacific flatheaded borer. Before that, he was a post-doctoral researcher at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, studying pest management on vegetables and fruit trees on small farms.

In his new role, Gyawaly is learning about the crops and pest situation in the region by talking with growers and other stakeholders. He plans to develop a need-based applied IPM research and extension program for orchards, tree nuts and other crops grown in the region.

He earned an M.S. in entomology from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in entomology from Virginia Tech.

He earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture in his native Nepal, then worked in rural areas of Nepal for a couple of years, providing sustainable vegetable production and pest management trainings to growers before moving to the United States in 2009 for graduate studies.

Gyawaly is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 538-7201 and sgyawaly@ucanr.edu. Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sudan-gyawaly-987320221.

Padasas named nutrition and health advisor 

Irene Padasas

Irene Padasas started as UC Cooperative Extension community nutrition and health advisor for Tulare, Kings, Madera and Fresno counties on June 13.

Padasas will design her education and research programs for communities based on their priority needs within the broad areas of healthy lifestyles, health equity, food, nutrition, water security and safety, and climate change and health.

As part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' work to promote healthy families and communities, Padasas also will support the efforts of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in California and the Cal Fresh Healthy Living, University of California Nutrition Education Program.

After earning a bachelor's in special education at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and a master's in developmental psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University, Padasas received her Ph.D. in human sciences – with a specialization in global family health and well-being – from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. 

In Nebraska, Padasas played a significant role in extension programs that promote positive and healthy child and adolescent development, such as co-developing curriculum for UpStarts, a program that provides youth entrepreneurship and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education for high school students in rural areas. 

She also led the analyses of qualitative data from the Ecological Approach to Family Style Dining, a research intervention program that aims to support young children's health and nutrition in early childcare centers subsidized by USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Padasas' current research centers on social and cultural factors that shape the quality of life and well-being of families.

“To serve our communities more effectively as an advisor, I'm focused on exploring the role of culture in health communication to better understand adoption and acceptance of health and nutrition education programs in the community,” Padasas said.

Padasas is based at the UCCE office in Tulare and can be reached at iopadasas@ucanr.edu and (559) 684-3300. 

Ellsworth joins Capitol Corridor 

Susan Ellsworth

Susan Ellsworth joined UC Cooperative Extension in January as director for the Capitol Corridor, which serves Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties.  

Her priority as county director is supporting Capitol Corridor staff and helping programs to thrive, while continuing to deepen her knowledge about food systems and community vitality. Ellsworth runs a small olive oil operation in conjunction with her family and said she is thrilled to be back in the Sacramento Valley after 10 years in the Bay Area.

Prior to joining UCCE, Ellsworth worked for the Alameda County Resource Conservation District as a food systems specialist with a focus on supporting new entries to farming and ranching. She has a background in urban agriculture – including serving as co-founder of Common Good City Farm in Washington D.C. – as well as in facilitation and conflict resolution related to natural resource management. 

Ellsworth earned a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Colby College and a master's degree in community development from UC Davis.

Ellsworth is based in Woodland and can be reached at (530) 574-9947 or sellsworth@ucanr.edu

Moore, Conrad, Yu, Dampier join IT staff

From left, Heather Moore, Chun Yu, Natalie Conrad and Stephen Dampier.

Information Technology recently hired four more IT experts to assist UC ANR employees.

Heather Moore has joined the IT Help Desk team as a computer resources specialist. She serves as the primary point of contact for ANR staff and affiliates with computer hardware, software, mobile and other technology needs and problems affecting individuals and departmental technology and network connections.

She also provides phone and in-person diagnosis, prioritization and support for all walk-in, telephone, email and web-based requests for assistance, logging service tickets in a tracking system. 

Before joining UC ANR, she graduated from Sierra College in the spring of 2022, with an AA degree in business information. Previously she was a para educator at Sierra Elementary School in Rocklin.

Chun Yu has joined the IT Team as an IT service desk analyst. As part of the highly service-oriented ANR IT Service Desk team, he serves as a primary point of contact for ANR staff and affiliates for assistance with computer hardware, software, mobile and other technology needs.

He earned a bachelor's degree in computer science at Sacramento State University. 

Natalie Conrad has joined the IT team as an information systems analyst. She brings 13 years of experience in the printing software and hardware industry.

"I am excited to expand the Help Desk team and am looking forward to assisting all departments throughout the organization," Conrad said.

Moore, Conrad and Yu are based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at Help@ucanr.edu.

Stephen Dampier is the new IT trainer. He will be helping UC ANR employees with accessibility of websites, how to use Zoom, how to use Site Builder, and how to use the Integrated Web Platform (IWP). 

He has been a user interface (UI) developer and engineer for about 20 years, working for startups. 

“If you've used OpenTable to make a restaurant reservation or have used Tallie Expense Software or bought something from PotteryBarnKids.com, then you may have used my UI,” Dampier said. “I am passionate about good user experience, accessibility and love the challenges of search engine optimization.”

Prior to his UI career, Dampier was a photographer and a fine arts photography teacher at the University of Central Florida and the San Francisco Art Institute. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts and was an exhibiting artist for years. 

Dampier added, “I was also a drummer for a long time in various punk and rock and roll bands. I've built my own offshore fishing boat, which I use to fish the San Francisco Bay, Tomales Bay and the big blue Pacific Ocean. You'll see me come and go on my Aprilia Falco motorcycle or my beast of a diesel truck on rare occasions.” 

Dampier is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at sdampier@ucanr.edu

Harper named Agriculturalist of the Year 

John Harper receives Agriculturalist of the Year Award. Photo by Glen McGourty

John Harper, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the Board of Directors for the Redwood Empire Fair. 

“John's service to our ranchers, wool-growers and ecologists cannot be overstated,” said Jennifer Seward, Redwood Empire Fair CEO. “He has provided more than a lifetime of service to our communities.”

For the past 31 years, Harper has served Mendocino and Lake counties as the UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, and as UCCE director in both counties for about 15 years.

Harper's achievements include ranch water-quality management planning, sheep shearing and wool classing schools, development of the first UCCE livestock and natural resources web pages, rangeland grass and plants identification workshops, meat harvest and processing feasibility studies, a beef quality assurance program, utilizing sheep grazing for canopy floor management of vineyards, and ranch road workshops.

Harper also produced videos on range monitoring for residual dry matter and stream restoration methods and co-developed an online rangeland ecology and management course. 

The award was presented to Harper at a special pre-fair kickoff Director's Dinner on Aug. 6.

AAEA lauds bee paper 

Honey bee photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Several scientists from UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics have been recognized by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association for co-authoring a paper recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology. 

The paper, “Balancing Bees and Pest Management: Projected Costs of Proposed Bee-Protective Neonicotinoid Regulation in California,” received the award for “Outstanding Published Paper Which Significantly Contributed to Transdisciplinary Work of Specialty Crops Industries.”

Co-authors Rachael Goodhue, Agricultural Experiment Station professor at UC Davis, UCCE specialists Ian Grettenberger and Houston Wilson, and emeritus UCCE specialists Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Robert Van Steenwyk, and Frank Zalom shared in the award.

Their co-authors include Kevi Mace, Jessica Rudder, Hanlin Wei and John Steggall of UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Tor Tolhurst of Purdue University, and Daniel Tregeagle of North Carolina State University.

There has been a recent effort from state and national governments to regulate neonicotinoids – a critical crop protection tool for many pests. Without mitigation measures, they can be harmful to managed pollinators, including bees. 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation began crafting regulation in 2018 to mitigate neonicotinoid dangers to managed pollinators. As a result, three papers were written estimating potential economic impacts on California farmers for mitigating neonicotinoid risk. Those findings were then incorporated as CDPR began finalizing the regulation. The second of the three papers on neonicotinoids received the award. 

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 7:41 PM

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.  

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 6:04 PM

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