Posts Tagged: Michael Rethwisch
Spinelli named UCCE horticulture advisor
Gerardo Spinelli joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County as a production horticulture advisor on Oct. 12, 2020. He will work with nurseries, floriculture and controlled environment plant production.
Prior to joining UCCE San Diego, Spinelli worked for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz county since 2015 in irrigation and nitrogen management for strawberry and lettuce. He collaborated with Michael Cahn, UCCE advisor and technical expert for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency's conservation program, to promote the adoption of CropManage to optimize nitrogen and irrigation in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
He has also worked on nutrient and pest management in vegetables, lettuce hydroponic production and anaerobic soil disinfestation in banana at University of Hawaii, Manoa, and was a UCCE farm advisor for irrigation and vegetables in Stanislaus County. He also worked in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, began a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp.
Spinelli grew up in Italy on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.
He earned a B.S. in agronomy, an M.S. in tropical agriculture at the University of Florence, and a Master of International Agricultural Development and Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis, focusing on plant physiology and water stress in almond orchards.
Spinelli is based in San Diego and can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amaral named pomology, water and soils advisor
Douglas Amaral joined UCCE in Kings and Tulare as pomology, water and soils advisor on Oct. 1, 2020.
Before joining UCCE, Amaral was a project scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. His research has focused on the physiology and biochemistry of plant nutrient uptake, and molecular and genetic aspects of nutrient acquisition and tolerance in citrus, almonds, pistachios and other crops.
Amaral, who was born and raised in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese and English. He earned a Ph.D. in plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in plant nutrition and soil fertility at Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and a B.S. in biological sciences at University Center of Lavras, Brazil.
Amaral is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2737 and email@example.com.
UCCE poster, newsletters win NACAA awards
Three California state winning entries received national recognition at the recent annual meeting and professional improvement conferences of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) held virtually in late September and early October.
Michael Rethwisch, UCCE field crops advisor for Riverside County, and student assistant Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.” Rethwisch was also selected to give a presentation on comparative insecticide efficacy for lygus bug control.
The UC Dairy Newsletter was a national finalist entry and western regional winner in the Team Newsletter competition. UCCE advisors Jennifer Heguy, Daniela Bruno, Joy Hollingsworth and Betsy Karle collaborate on the newsletter.
The University of California Cooperative Extension Subtropical Horticulture News by Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties, was the western regional winner for individual newsletter.
CAPCA honors Wilen for "Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture"
Cheryl Wilen, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, received the 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award by the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA).
The Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to California agriculture. The former leader of UC ANR's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative is known for her research and development of integrated pest management strategies for the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries. Over the course of her career, Wilen has helped reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and promote the use of environmentally sound methods in production.
Wilen, who retired from her 25-year UC ANR career in July, received the award during CAPCA's virtual annual conference on Oct. 12. She is currently on recall to serve as interim director for UCCE in San Diego.
4-H Youth Retention Study Team receives national award
The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team received the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Professionals' “Susan Barkman Award for Research and Evaluation” Oct. 20, during the association's virtual conference.
The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50%) of first year 4-H members over a seven-year period to understand why youth leave the 4-H program. They found a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program contributed to attrition. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience.
While the study focused on California, the team has engaged multiple states in an effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training.
The Youth Retention Study Team includes
- JoLynn Miller, UCCE advisor for the Central Sierra
- Kendra Lewis, University of New Hampshire State Specialist for Youth & Family Resiliency and former UCCE academic coordinator for evaluation for UC ANR Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program
- Marianne Bird, UCCE advisor for the Capital Corridor
- John Borba, UCCE advisor in Kern County
- Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, UCCE advisor for Riverside and San Bernardino counties
- Dorina Espinoza, UCCE advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties
- Russell Hill, UCCE advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
- Car Mun Kok, UCCE advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties
- Sue Manglallan, UCCE advisor emeritus in San Diego County
- Kali Trzesniewski, UCCE specialist in UC Davis Department of Human & Community Development
Ronald becomes first woman to receive World Agriculture Prize
Pam Ronald, a UC Davis distinguished professor, whose work has revolutionized plant molecular genetics, has become the first woman to receive the World Agriculture Prize.
Ronald is recognized for her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. In 1995, she isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Her discovery in 2006, with UC Davis plant scientist David Mackill, of a rice submergence tolerance gene facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties that have benefited millions of farmers in South and Southeast Asia.
The award ceremony will be virtually held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.
Read the full story by Amy Quinton at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/plant-pathologist-pamela-ronald-named-gchera-world-agriculture-prize-laureate.
Hawau Bojuwon joined UC ANR on March 26, 2018, as a UCCE area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Kern County.
Prior to joiningUCCE,Bojuwon was working as a regional nutrition and health education specialist and county program director at University of Missouri Extension from 2016 to 2018. In Missouri, she planned, implemented and evaluated educational programs in nutrition, health, food safety, food resources management, and physical activity promotion education to low-income audiences. From 2015 to 2016,Bojuwon was a research assistant in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Mississippi.
In addition to her dietetic and health promotion internships, Bojuwon worked as a clinical and outpatient dietitian where she was responsible for helping people make health-conscious decisions by selecting healthy food options, reading nutrition facts on food labels, reducing fat intake and increasing physical activity. Her work experience includes assessing clients, planning, developing and directing nutritional care activities for them, interviewing and advising clients about their diets, menu planning and development of meaningful health reports in addition to providing nutrition education.
Bojuwon earned two M.S. degrees, one in food and nutrition services and the second in health promotion, and a B.A. in biochemistry from University of Mississippi. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist.
Bojuwon is based in Bakersfield and can be reached at (661) 868-6217 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Del Pozo-Valdivia named IPM advisor for Central Coast
Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia joined UCCE on March 23, 2018, as an area integrated pest management (IPM) advisor in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Del Pozo-Valdivia was a post-doctoral research scholar (from August 2016 to March 2018) at North Carolina State University, where he designed, analyzed and reported research on elucidating how Bt resistance influences flight capacity in cotton bollworm and timing of insecticides in Bt cotton to control bollworm. Del Pozo-Valdivia held graduate research assistant positions at North Carolina State University (2012-July 2016) and Washington State University (2009-2011) where he planned, designed, set up and analyzed various experiments managing an invasive Hemipteran and two Noctuid species. From July 2004 to 2008, Del Pozo-Valdivia, who is fluent in Spanish, was chief of pest management at Camposol S.A. in Trujillo, Peru, where he managed weeds, diseases and arthropod pests in commercial and GAP-certified asparagus.
Del Pozo-Valdivia completed a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in entomology from Washington State University, and a B.S. in agronomy from La Molina National Agrarian University, Lima, Peru.
Del Pozo-Valdivia is based in Salinas and be reached at (831) 759-7359 and email@example.com.
Michael Rethwisch rejoined UCCE on Nov. 13, 2017, as a crop production and entomology advisor for Palo Verde Valley in Riverside County. From 1999 to 2007, Rethwisch served in Palo Verde Valley as UCCE crop production advisor.
In 2007, Rethwisch moved to University of Nebraska – Lincoln to become a Cooperative Extension educator in crops and water for Butler and Polk counties. He conducted research on a wide variety of local crops, evaluating biostimulants and pesticide efficacy and resulting crop yields. He advised growers on pesticide safety, nitrogen management and water use. His applied research poster was chosen as the 2017 national champion by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. He also coached the 2017 4-H horticulture contest national championship team.
From 1994 to 1999, Rethwisch was an extension agent for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension at the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, where he assisted with 4-H events, trained 4-H members in horticulture and conducted pest-control research and field trials on cotton and alfalfa. From 1987 to 1992, Rethwisch was an IPM specialist at University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.
Rethwisch earned an M.S. in entomology and a B.S. in entomology and agronomy from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
Rethwisch is based in Blythe and be reached at (760) 921-5064 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Khorsandi named ASABE 'New Face of Engineering'
Farzaneh Khorsandi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist for agricultural safety and health at UC Davis, was selected as the “New Face of Engineering” by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
ASABE named 13 young members to its class of 2018 "New Faces of ASABE – Professionals." From the 13 "New Faces,” Khorsandi was chosen the top honoree and represented ASABE at Engineers Week activities in Washington, D.C., in February.
Through their professional and extracurricular pursuits, New Faces of ASABE, all 35 years of age or younger, represent the best of a profession that endeavors throughout the world to improve quality of life and make sustainable use of precious natural resources.
Nominated by engineering colleagues and fellow ASABE members, the 2018 Class of New Faces of ASABE was announced Feb. 14 at the 2018 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville.
Larson, Barry win gold for outstanding educational material
Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor in the Bay Area, and Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock and range management advisor in Sonoma County, won the Gold Award for Outstanding Educational Material in the Promotional Materials category from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.
Decisionmakers and the public have little knowledge of animal agriculture production or the ecosystems services provided by livestock grazing on western open space lands, according to Larson and Barry. To address the issue, they created an information campaign promoting the value of cattle grazing and ecosystem services on open space through curriculum and interpretive trail signage.
The advisors collaborated with the California Rangelands Conservation Coalition and three park districts (East Bay Regional Park Districts, Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, and Sonoma County Regional Parks) to produce signage, factsheets and videos describing ecosystem services and how they relate to California rangelands. The print materials are linked at http://ucanr.edu/sites/BayAreaRangeland.
The three videos are posted on UC ANR's YouTube channel:
- Sharing open spaces with livestock https://youtu.be/Qd8LEGLDhaM
- Sharing open spaces with livestock when you have a dog https://youtu.be/zzdGnfFwmcA
- A year in the life of a cow https://youtu.be/znJbWknVXVg
Susie Kocher, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra area, will accept the award on behalf of Larson and Barry during the awards ceremony May 2 at the ANREP conference in Biloxi, Miss.
APS honors Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis
Howard Judelson, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside, will be named an APS fellow.
“Over his professional life of more than three decades, Judelson has made significant fundamental contributions to studies of oomycete plant pathogens, and has advanced the discipline and mission of APS,” according to the APS website.
“Judelson is recognized for his contributions towards understanding the basic biology and evolution of oomycete plant pathogens. He established the first techniques for manipulating genes in P. infestans and relatives, created genome resources, and studied cellular pathways involved in pathogenesis. Overall, Judelson made significant contribution and achievements in original research, teaching, and professional and public service.”
“Vidalakis has made outstanding contributions to regulatory plant pathology and crop security by playing a leading role in the development and implementation of regional, state, national, and international citrus regulatory protocols in collaboration with industry, scientists, research institutions and regulatory agencies. He has played a key role in the transitioning of the Central California Tristeza Eradication Agency towards the more comprehensive Citrus Pest Detection Program with emphasis on huanglongbing (HLB) diagnostics. The rapid detection and eradication of HLB infected trees in major citrus producing areas of California, such as the San Joaquin Valley, is recognized as one of the most important elements in the battle against the deadly HLB.
“Vidalakis serves on multiple statewide citrus regulatory committees and provides expertise at the highest levels of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). One of his major regulatory contributions to California's citrus was his leading role in the development and implementation of the mandatory (SB 140) Citrus Nursery Stock Pest Cleanliness Program that protected the citrus nurseries in advance of the spread of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the discovery of HLB-diseased trees in California.”
“Subbarao's seminal research contributions focus on soilborne fungal diseases affecting lettuce and other cool-season vegetable crops. His recent research has provided crucial novel insights into the biology and management of Verticillium and Sclerotinia pathogens. His work presented convincing evidence that V. dahliae strains pathogenic to lettuce were introduced into the production system via infested spinach seeds.
“Subbarao led the development of the online platform, VertShield, built to share data and diagnostic tools so that others around the world can reliably identify Verticillium pathogens and monitor their movement. Subbarao was also a co-leader in sequencing the first Verticillium genomes, which facilitated subsequent studies on genome evolution and pathogenicity mechanisms.”
Read more about the contributions of Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis to the science of plant pathology at https://www.apsnet.org/members/awards/Pages/2018AwardeesAnnounced.aspx.
Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Alameda County, was honored for her Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) by the Harkin Institute March 21 at the Harkin on Wellness Symposium in Des Moines.
Blackburn's Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership is one of 11 wellness programs from across the country that the Harkin Institute selected to exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health.
The 11 wellness programs are highlighted in the first of what is planned to be an annual Harkin On Wellness (HOW) publication.
CNAP draws on the strengths of established community resources that joined together to coordinate work between USDA-funded partners and unfunded organizations in their community.
Through the partnership, CNAP is able to help implement and work with programs including Safe Routes to School, Alameda County Community Food Bank nutrition education and training, brown bag recovery for low-income seniors, Project EAT (Educate, Act, Thrive), Fresh Approach, Oakland Unified School District Health & Wellness and Nutrition Services, and Get Fresh Stay Healthy Campaign.
Fox named interim Affirmative Action Compliance and Title IX officer
In this role, Fox will be responsible for receiving reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Fox can be reached at (530) 750-1343 and email@example.com.
Electronic reports of misconduct, including sexual harassment and discrimination, can also be submitted through the Office of the President's confidential hotline at (800) 403-4744, or the EthicsPoint online reporting system.
More information about prevention and reporting of discrimination, sexual violence and sexual harassment is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/DiscriminationSexual_Violence/Reporting.
Last year, the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program successfully participated in #GivingTuesday campaigns.
“Our goal for 4-H was to raise $10,000 and we exceeded our goal with donations totaling over $13,000,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of Development Services. 4-H programs in 17 counties participated. In Placer County, the robotics team got their friends and family involved to promote #4HGivingConfidence on social media, leading Placer County to collect the largest amount for the 4-H Youth Development Program.
Although not as widely recognized as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.
“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity for all ANR programs to augment their funding with private donations,” said Ambrose.
A website is being created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and extension offices. Donors will be invited to designate the program or location to which they wish to donate. The URL for the #GivingTuesday website will be announced in ANR Update soon.
ANR will provide a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It will include:
- A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
- Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
- Sample tweets and social media posts
- Sample thank you note
“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”
UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:
- Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.
- Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.
- Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.
- Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.
- Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”
Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.
Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.
A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.
Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.
“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.
Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.
Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.
Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.
In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.
The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.
“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.
VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."
For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at email@example.com and Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Ozeran joined UCCE on Sept. 12 as the area livestock and natural resources advisor in Fresno and Madera counties.
Raised in Yuba City with a passion for animals and the land that supports them, Ozeran plans to focus her research, outreach and extension education efforts on current issues impacting livestock producers and land managers in both counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Ozeran was a range management intern for the Bureau of Land Management in the Salt Lake City field office. Her duties included collecting inventory, utilization and rangeland trend data, checking livestock compliance on BLM allotments and collaborating with local archaeologists to ensure compliance with archaeology requirements before grazing permit renewal. From July 2014 to May 2016, Ozeran was a graduate research and teaching assistant for the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University.
She earned a B.S. in animal science with a minor in Spanish from Cal Poly, and an M.S. in animal and range sciences with a certificate in applied statistics from Montana State University. Her thesis studied patterns and risk factors of cheatgrass invasion in Montana foothills rangelands.
Ozeran is based in Fresno and be reached at (530) 415-2555 and email@example.com.
Axelson joins UCCE as forest health specialist
Jodi Axelson joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in forest health in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley.
Axelson's broad research interests include forest resilience, adaptive management and forest disturbance; specifically, she is focused on forest dynamics and response to insect disturbances from outbreaks of bark beetles and conifer defoliators using a range of methods including dendrochronology. Learn more about her research at http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu.
Prior to joining UCCE, Axelson was employed by the British Columbia government as a forest entomologist with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In this position, she was responsible for forest health issues in an area covering 42,000 square miles comprised of distinct wet- and dry-belt ecosystems. She gained considerable experience in taking into consideration timber, wildlife and land stewardship objectives when performing insect monitoring, treatment and risk-mitigation.
She earned her B.S. in geography from the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), an M.S. in geography from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Victoria.
Axelson is based at the UC Berkeley campus and can be reached at (510) 642-8459 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DisturbedDendro.
Haghverdi joins UCCE as urban water specialist
Amir Haghverdi joined UCCE on July 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside. His research focuses on integrated urban water management.
Prior to joining UCCE, Haghverdi had been an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, performing research and extension on irrigation and water management, since July 2015.
Haghverdi earned his B.S. in irrigation engineering from University of Tehran, Iran, an M.S. in agricultural engineering - irrigation and drainage from Bu-Ali Sina University, Iran, a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Haghverdi can be reached at (951) 827-4774 and email@example.com.
Saitone named ag economics specialist
Prior to joining UCCE, Saitone had been a project scientist for ARE since July 2015. Before returning to UC Davis, she worked for OnPoint Analytics, an economic consulting firm in the Bay Area, where she conducted research on a wide variety of agricultural industries including meatpacking, dairy, eggs, broilers and sugar beets.
Saitone earned her B.A. in economics at Sonoma State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis.
Saitone can be reached at (530) 752-1870 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bautista named 4-H STEM coordinator
Jessica Bautista joined ANR on July 5 as the 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) academic coordinator.
Prior to joining ANR, Bautista was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside. Bautista's area of research interest focused on molecular biology and genetics in plant developmental biology.
As a native Californian and a first-generation student born to Mexican migrant parents, Bautista speaks Spanish and has fostered various methods to make her research accessible and advocate for STEM career paths for underrepresented communities. In 2012, Bautista co-founded UCR's Plant Discovery Day in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. This annual outreach event is filled with interactive science demonstrations for elementary school students in the community. She has also presented her research and discussed her career path annually since 2013 at workshops geared towards teaching and empowering young Latina women to pursue higher education and various career options.
Bautista completed a B.S. in biotechnology (chemistry minor) from California State University Northridge and a Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Riverside.
Bautista is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1341 and email@example.com.
Pourreza wins international prize for HLB detection
Newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor Alireza Pourreza has been awarded the 2016 Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize by the Club of Bologna, an honor presented every other year to the best doctoral dissertations focused on agricultural machinery and mechanization. The Club of Bologna is a world taskforce on strategies for the development of agricultural mechanization.
Pourreza, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2014, worked on early detection of Huanglongbing disease of citrus. Huanglongbing, an incurable disease that is spread by Asian citrus psyllid, has seriously impacted citrus production in Florida. The disease has been found in commercial and residential sites in all counties with commercial citrus.
Early detection allows growers to remove infected trees before the disease can spread to healthy trees. Currently HLB infection is confirmed when leaves with yellowing blotches are submitted for PCR testing, which is expensive and time-consuming. However, the yellowing can be also symptomatic of other conditions, such as nutrient deficiency.
"We discovered we could see the symptoms of Huanglongbing using a camera, a set of cross-polarizers and narrowband lighting before it is visible to the human eye," said Pourreza, who is based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
He said the yellow blotches on HLB-infected leaves are caused by starch accumulation.
"If we could detect abnormal levels of starch in the leaf, we could tell it is affected with HLB," Pourreza said. "Starch showed the ability to rotate the polarization plane of light. We used this optical characteristic to develop the sensing methodology."
Pourreza said the team has patented the technique and is working on developing a commercial product. He is seeking funding to continue the research in California, where, to date, HLB has only been detected in isolated Los Angeles neighborhoods. Asian citrus psyllid is found in important California commercial citrus production regions from the Mexican border to as far north as Placer County.
4-H Youth Development team wins national diversity award
4-H Youth Development advisors Dorina Espinoza, Russell Hill, Fe Moncloa and Keith Nathaniel and 4-H associate director Shannon Horrillo have won the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.
The award, given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), honors the team for creating and using Intercultural Development Inventory© to shift organizational culture. This shift includes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people.
To meet the needs of a culturally and ethnically diverse youth population in California, they created a professional-development intervention for 4-H academics and staff. The Intercultural Development Inventory© is a cross-culturally generalizable, valid and reliable assessment of intercultural competence. Calling themselves the Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrators, they applied the strategy over three years, providing 176 hours of intercultural communication feedback sessions, learning communities and regional conferences to enhance the intercultural competence of 65 4-H personnel.
Evaluations demonstrated that after the intervention UC 4-H Youth Development Program personnel had acquired skills and characteristics to become more culturally competent. The program has moved from focusing on similarities across diverse people that can mask deeper recognition of cultural differences to recognizing the complexity of dimensions of diversity.
The action plan and resulting positive change provides the potential to improve hiring and professional development nationwide by replication in other states. A summary of California's IDI professional development activities can be found in the National 4-H Latino Youth Outreach: Best Practices Toolkit, Professional Development.
The National Extension Diversity Award will be presented on Nov. 13 at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.