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Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Winners of the Distinguished Service Awards were announced June 13. Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. The awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics. 

Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, outstanding leader and contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion.

We are pleased to congratulate and recognize this year's honorees:

Outstanding Research - Mark Hoddle 

Mark Hoddle

Mark Hoddle has been a UCCE specialist in biological control in UC Riverside Department of Entomology for 25 years. His research program on biocontrol of invasive pests that attack agricultural crops, threaten wilderness areas, and degrade urban landscapes in California has been supported by more than $14.5 million in grants from commodity boards and state and federal agencies and have significant impacts in California, nationally and internationally.

Highlights of his work include the successful biological control of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a species of palm weevil (Rhynchophorus vulneratus), the Asian citrus psyllid and the Argentine ant, resulting in a massive reduction and elimination of these pests in California and other states and countries.

Hoddle also has developed proactive biocontrol and integrated pest management programs for pests not yet present in California but that are likely to invade, including the spotted lantern fly, the avocado seed moth and the avocado seed weevil.

His outstanding research has led to over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. He also has published over 100 extension articles and 40 web pages. His outreach includes interviews for TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and podcasts.

In addition to his academic successes, Hoddle has mentored seven graduate students, more than 40 undergraduate students and nine post-graduate researchers. He also has received several national and international awards throughout his career.

Outstanding Extension - Lyn Brock 

Lyn Brock

Lyn Brock is the academic coordinator for statewide training for both the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California. Brock leads the training and professional development efforts for academics and staff that work at the state and county levels for both programs.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the EFNEP and CFHL, UC programs were stymied by the inability to provide in-person education. Through her persistence, innovation and leadership, Brock transitioned more than 140 program staff to virtual delivery in a matter of months so that they could continue to serve the people of California. 

She spearheaded novel trainings pertaining to a wide variety of topics that suddenly became relevant, including learner-centered programming, online learning platforms and copyright policies, among others. Under her leadership, 24 evidence-based curricula were adapted for virtual delivery during the pandemic. These programs are still regarded by the programs' federally funded partners as cutting-edge in virtual education.

Brock has produced numerous limited distribution publications and also presented during conferences, trainings and presentations to extend knowledge in her role as training coordinator. Highlights of her extension work include the What's Up Wednesday meetings, virtual staff check-in meetings to facilitate communication between program leadership staff. She also developed training material and trained staff on available virtual platforms to allow them to deliver programs virtually.

Outstanding New Academic - Aparna Gazula 

Aparna Gazula

Aparna Gazula became a UCCE small farms advisor in 2016. Her extension program provides training and technical assistance for nutrient management, pest management, irrigation and food safety to diversified vegetable farmers in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Because a majority of the crops grown by Asian immigrant farmers – including amaranth, bok choy, gai choy, gai lan, a choy, Chinese celery, edible chrysanthemum, yam leaves, garlic chives and pea tips – are considered minor crops, there is little research-based information about them that can be used as the basis for management decisions or to fulfill regulatory requirements.In six years, she has secured more than $1.6 million in grant funding for research, outreach and technical assistance to fill information gaps on pest management, food safety and water and nutrient management.

Many of the socially disadvantaged farmers Gazula works with face language and cultural barriers. To provide targeted extension to non-English speaking farmers, she secured grant funding to hire specialists and educators who are fluent in Cantonese and Spanish. With her team, Gazula provides technical assistance, workshops, and outreach publications in Chinese and Spanish.

She also has led her team in assisting farmers in the region to access pandemic relief funding and state programs to improve soil health and water use efficiency. Gazula and her team helped non-English-speaking farmers submit over 200 applications for relief between April and December 2020. These farmers received $3.1 million in emergency aid, allowing them to maintain vegetable production during the pandemic. With her team she also provided training and technical assistance, in both Cantonese and English, to farmers about the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Program.

Although Gazula is a new academic, she is recognized throughout the region for her expertise and is often called on by community and local government groups to contribute to food and farming initiatives. She has established herself as a leader in supporting the Asian vegetable industry.

Outstanding Team - UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team

The UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team is composed of UCCE specialists Daniele Zaccaria, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Amelie Gaudin, Jeff Mitchell and Khaled Bali, UCCE advisor Dan Munk and UC Davis students Alyssa DeVincentis and Anna Gomes.

In direct response to prominent knowledge gaps around implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the team conducted a focused applied research program on water-related impacts of winter cover crops in California's Central Valley from 2016 to 2019.

Their research showed that the benefits of winter cropping in processing tomato and almond production systems offset or compensated for water used during the winter by the cover crops. Contrary to widespread belief, research results showed that cover crops did not use a lot of soil water because evapotranspiration during this period is normally low, crops shade and cool the soil surface, and improve soil aggregation, pore space and soil water infiltration and retention. 

This research provided the basis for a series of 11 invited extension education presentations and outreach activities to inform and guide policy implementation of local stakeholder agencies and entities including the Madera Regional Water Management Group, the American Farmland Trust's SJV Conservation Partnership Program, the CA/NV Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the East Stanislaus, the Eastern Merced, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties Resource Conservation Districts, as well as the California Irrigation Institute. 

Outstanding Leader - Gail Feenstra 

Gail Feenstra

Gail Feenstra, director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, is a distinguished leader and visionary, not only in UC ANR, but across the food systems landscape. Her career has been exemplary in terms of her pioneering success in applied, multidisciplinary research, evaluation, and outreach. In the early 1990s, Feenstra began to parlay her graduate training in nutrition along with her experience in community development and food systems into what was then a very new, poorly studied discipline that she would continue to develop and lead for the next three decades.

This field of work comprises regional food systems that merge the business and livelihood needs of small- and mid-scale farmers with the economic well-being and nutritional health of their local communities. Feenstra developed SAREP's and the nation's understanding of values-based supply chains. She has been a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement and has developed widely adopted tools for farm-to-school evaluation. In recognition of her stature in this field, CDFA selected her to lead a four-year, $60 million evaluation of its Farm to School Grant Program.

Feenstra also has shown tremendous leadership within UC ANR through her role as co-chair of the California Communities and Food Systems Program Team where she has helped shape collaborations within UC ANR. She has worked to bridge interconnected disciplines of nutrition, food, health, community development and agriculture within UC ANR. She also has led efforts to work across program teams, particularly in developing new specialist and advisor position descriptions. Her energy is infectious and her leadership through collaboration is compelling. The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society recently honored Feenstra with its 2022 Richard P. Haynes Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.

Outstanding Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Katherine Soule 

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule began her DEI work in 2013, focusing on providing solutions to the challenges that marginalized youth, families and communities face on the Central Coast.

Her work particularly focused on the needs of Latino youth and families, LGBTQ+ youth and adults, neurodivergent people, and individuals living in poverty. Through a timely intervention, Soule's DEI work has helped to increase health equity, improve food security and safety, and promote economic prosperity in marginalized communities.

She implemented a very impactful “Schools as Hubs of Health” program that reached more than 4,000 students annually in more than 150 classrooms and created a college and career readiness pathway that engaged more than 12,000 youth. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her work with an emphasis on engaged and participatory research, and lifelong commitment to personally unlearning and decolonizing.

Soule also demonstrates DEI leadership by serving on the UC ANR DEI Advisory Council as the inaugural chair and serving on the City of San Luis Obispo's DEI Taskforce.

Names in the News

Armstrong joins 4-H as program representative for Tuolumne County

Erika Armstrong

Erika Armstrong has joined the UCCE Central Sierra team as 4-H Program Representative for Tuolumne County.

Armstrong, who has spent her career working with nonprofit agencies and managing volunteer programs, worked with United Way Monterey County and the Alliance on Aging. She also was a campaign manager for a candidate for the Board of Supervisors of Monterey County. Her most recent job was stay-at-home mother for herdaughters. 

She holds a bachelor's degree in collaborative health and human communication from California State University Monterey Bay.

Armstrong is based at the Tuolumne office and can be reached at (209) 533-6990 and elarmstrong@ucanr.edu.

Hsieh Wojan named chief information security officer 

Jaki Hsieh Wojan

Jacqueline (Jaki) Hsieh Wojan joined ANR as chief information security officer (CISO) on March 28. As CISO, she will be responsible for cybersecurity functions, policies and procedures, including statewide management and protection of ANR's institutional information and information technology resources.

Hsieh Wojan brings over 10 years of experience in computer operations and cybersecurity risk management. She is a certified Project Manager, a Certified Scrum Master, and an experienced CISO. In her previous position as CISO at Matica Corp., a computer software design and development company, she oversaw the IT infrastructure, deployed complex systems, vetted third-party vendors, and most recently, relocated their on-premises IT server room to a data center.

She earned an M.S. in computer information systems from Boston University and a B.A. in East Asian Studies (Cum Laude) from Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Hsieh Wojan is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at jhsiehw@ucanr.edu.

UC scientists dominate entomology society awards 

Mark Hoddle
The Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America gave out 10 professional awards for 2022. UC scientists took home six of the awards – five went to Riverside and one to Davis.

Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species research director, won the C.W. Woodworth Award for outstanding accomplishments in the field over the last 10 years. He develops biological controls for invasive pests including Asian citrus psyllid, spotted lantern fly and glassy-winged sharpshooter. 

Jessica Purcell
Jessica Purcell, UCR assistant professor of entomology, won the Distinction in Student Mentoring Award. Purcell studies social behaviors in insects including ants, invasive wasps and spiders.

Dong-Hwan Choe
Dong-Hwan Choe, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and a UCR associate professor of entomology, won the Distinguished Achievement in Extension Award. He is developing new management programs for ants and bed bugs.

Erin Wilson-Rankin
Erin Wilson-Rankin, a UCR associate professor, won the Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award. Her research focuses on food webs, understanding which insects and animals are predators, which ones are prey, and how these roles affect the environment around them.

Kerry Mauck
Kerry Mauck, UCR assistant professor of entomology, won the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award.  She studies plant viruses, vectors such as aphids and psyllids, and the biochemical mechanisms that allow them to function.

Geoffrey Attardo
Geoffrey Attardo, UC Davis medical entomologist-geneticist, won the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award. Attardo monitors the dynamics of vector insects at the levels of physiology, population genetics and environmental interactions and is renowned for his groundbreaking work on tsetse flies. Read more about Attardo's work at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=51750.

Read more about the UCR award recipients at https://insideucr.ucr.edu/awards/2022/03/21/uc-riverside-scientists-dominate-entomology-society-awards.

EcoFarm honors Smith with ‘Sustie' award

Richard Smith
The Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) awarded Richard Smith, UCCE vegetable crops and weed science farm advisor for Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, the Steward of Sustainable Agriculture award, or “Sustie.”

EcoFarm developed the Sustie to honor people who have been actively and critically involved in ecologically sustainable agriculture and have demonstrated their long-term, significant contributions to the well-being of agriculture and the planet.

Smith has enthusiastically researched nutrient and pest management in organic crop production. He worked tirelessly to assist growers, from small- to large-scale farmers, in solving production problems and developing practices to improve crop and soil quality. Smith has been actively involved with EcoFarm and, starting in 1990, he served for many years as a co-facilitator of the annual Bus Tour.

He has been an unflagging advocate for increasing the use of cover crops and worked with growers on evaluating varieties and novel ways of including them in production systems. He was editor of the UC ANR publication “Cover Crops for Vegetable Production.”

 

 

Hoddle, Choe, Haviland receive $1.34 million for chlorpyrifos alternatives

From left, Mark Hoddle, Dong-Hwan Choe and David Haviland received CDFA grants for research on pest control alternatives to the banned pesticide chlorpyrifos.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has awarded $1.34 million in grants to UC ANR scientists for research on pest control alternatives to the banned pesticide chlorpyrifos.

"Finding less-toxic alternatives to pesticides like chlorpyrifos, and promoting their adoption and implementation throughout California, is a priority, and our grant programs play a vital role in reaching those goals," DPR Director Val Dolcini said.

The grants, awarded through DPR's Research Grants Program, will go to the following researchers:

  • Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension entomology specialist, UC Riverside, "Taking Chlorpyrifos out of Citrus: Maximizing IPM of Argentine Ant and Sap Sucking Pests with Biodegradable Hydrogels, Infra-Red Sensors and Cover Crops." ($500,000)
  • Dong-Hwan Choe, UC Cooperative Extension urban entomology specialist, UC Riverside, "A sustainable boric acid liquid bait delivery system (as alternative to chlorpyrifos sprays) for the management of pest ants in agricultural settings." ($340,467)
  • David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension IPM advisor for Kern County, "Hydrogel baiting systems for sugar-feeding ants in California grapes and citrus." ($500,000)

"These researchers are at the cutting edge of their fields and I'm really pleased that DPR can support their efforts," said Dolcini.

 

New DPR grants enable research into alternatives to the banned pesticide for citrus, grapes and other crops.

Full descriptions of each research project are available on DPR's website.

Funding for these grants came from a one-time $2.1 million General Fund allocation to DPR for research projects that advance safer, more-sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. DPR previously funded three research grants for alternatives to chlorpyrifos research.

Following California's historic decision to end use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2019, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) convened the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group to evaluate potential alternatives. The work group's report outlines actions that can further support agriculture and the health of local communities, farmworkers and the environment.

 

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2020 at 4:21 PM

Final position proposals due Sept. 15 for 2018 Call for Cooperative Extension positions

On Aug. 1, phase 2 of the Cooperative Extension Positions Call process ended and phase 3 began. During phase 2, the Program Teams reviewed the 40 phase 1 proposals and submitted six additional proposals. All submitted proposals are posted on the 2018 Call for Position web page: http://ucanr.edu/2018callforpositions.

Phase 3:

  • The statewide programs and institutes are now reviewing all 46 proposed positions to determine if there are any positions they feel are of higher priority.
  • If so, they can propose up to two additional CE advisor positions and two additional CE specialist positions by Sept. 15 – keeping in mind that the more proposals there are at the end, the lower the probability of being approved for recruitment.
  • The proposals that did not make the phase 1 final 40 can be picked up during these subsequent phases. They can be found on the proposal ideas web page. New proposals are not limited to these ideas.

After Sept. 15, Program Council will review all the feedback and make recommendations to the vice president.

“We thank the ANR network for actively engaging in this participatory process to strengthen and rebuild CE positions statewide,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president.

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 4:17 PM

ANR to join UCPath next spring

UCPATH is an acronym for “UC Payroll, Academic Personnel, Timekeeping & Human Resources.”
Preparations are underway for UC ANR to join UCPath in the spring. To ensure a successful transition to new systems and new processes, John Fox, executive director of Human Resources, recently hosted the first in a series of monthly meetings with business officers and administrative staff located in UC Cooperative Extension offices, at Research and Extension Centers and in administrative units.

UCPath is a systemwide initiative launched by the University of California to modernize its current payroll system, which is nearly 40 years old. Using new technology, UCPath will unify and standardize payroll, benefits and human resource systems for all UC employees.

Employees at Office of the President, UC Merced and UC Riverside have already made the transition. UCLA and UC Santa Barbara are scheduled to join UCPath this fall. UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC ANR are scheduled to join in April 2019.

This initiative involves a single payroll and HR technology system, a shared services center in Riverside, and the formation of UC ANR as a distinct business unit within UC. The formation of UC ANR as a stand-alone business unit, rather than as part of UCOP or a campus, is one of the strategic initiatives supported by President Napolitano, and provides an opportunity to improve efficiency and strengthen compliance and accountability.

“UC Path will transform the way we do business,” said Fox. “Our fiscal silos will be unified, hugely improving the accuracy of our fiscal data and the speed with which we can access it. It will also give all of us better access to information and improved tools for hiring and transaction approvals.”

Business officers and administrative staff will be key to the success of UCPath for ANR.

“They are the people who know how to get things done in ANR today,” Fox said. “We want to support them in becoming UCPath experts to help ANR employees navigate the new systems and processes.”

Business officers and administrative staff who missed the UCPath Network kick-off Zoom meeting with Fox can view a recording of the Aug 24 session at https://ucdavis.app.box.com/v/ucpathnetwork. The next monthly session will be on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m. to noon.

Highlights of UCPath when it goes live in spring 2019:

  • User-friendly, mobile-enabled portal to view and update personal data and manage benefits
  • The UCPath Center in Riverside will help with benefits, payroll and personnel services
  • Direct deposit in up to three accounts 
  • New recruitment tools and enhanced candidate experience
  • Manager self-service access to reports and employee data
  • Improved security for payroll and personnel data
  • Automated routing for approval of personnel and certain pay transactions
  • Improved online employee appraisal system
  • Standard set of reports provided to all UC business units

Academics who are affiliated with a campus should refer to their respective campus UCPath websites. More information is on UC ANR's UCPath website at http://ucanr.edu/UCPath and it will continue to be updated as we approach the launch.

An email account has been set up to receive questions and comments about UCPath: ucpath@ucanr.edu.

 

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2018 at 3:01 PM

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