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Posts Tagged: Qi Zhou

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Randhawa to oversee UCCE in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties

Karmjot Randhawa

Karmjot Randhawa joined ANR on Sept. 6, 2019, as the UC Cooperative Extension director for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. 

In this newly created staff position, Randhawa is responsible for the coordination and overall operations of Cooperative Extension programs in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. Unlike traditional county director positions, Randhawa will have no academic research responsibilities so she can focus on overseeing the educational and applied research programs and providing direction and leadership to the academic and support staff within the county extension programs. 

Prior to joining ANR, the Central Valley native was the research translation operations manager at George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. 

“I look forward to increasing the visibility of UCCE by communicating the positive impacts realized by the people who live in the San Joaquin Valley and benefit from the research activities and contributions of these units,” Randhawa said.

Randhawa received her B.S. and M.S. in research psychology at California State University, Fresno and received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently completing the Climate Change and Health Certification Program at Yale University. 

Karmjot is based in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 241-7514 and kgrandhawa@ucanr.edu

Zhou named UCCE assistant specialist for small farms

Qi Zhou

Qi Zhou joined ANR on Sept. 3, 2019, as a UCCE assistant specialist for small farms in Santa Clara County. She will work closely with project directors at UCCE Santa Clara to lead research and extension and extension work related to food safety practices on small farms, beginning farmer education and Asian vegetable production. 

Prior to joining ANR, Zhou conducted research on peach fruit production at Clemson University. At Huazhong Agricultural University, Zhou designed and conducted an experiment that identified the differences between flood-tolerant and flood-susceptible Poplar seedlings. Zhou has published several scientific manuscripts and abstracts and given extension presentations.

Zhou earned a Ph.D. in plant and environmental sciences with a minor in statistics from Clemson University, South Carolina, a master's degree in horticulture and forestry from Huazhong Agricultural University, China, and a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Hunan Agricultural University, China. In addition to English, Zhou is fluent in Mandarin.

Zhou is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 282-3109 and qiizhou@ucanr.edu

Aram named UCCE specialty crops advisor

Kamyar Aram

Kamyar Aram joined ANR on Aug. 5, 2019, as the UC Cooperative Extension specialty crops advisor serving Contra Costa and Alameda counties. 

Prior to joining ANR, Aram was a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis working on research and outreach for the management of vectored grapevine virus diseases, emphasizing diagnostics, the use of disease-screened plant materials and area-wide management approaches. He also has several years of work experience in commercial viticulture and winemaking in New York, Chile and California. His doctoral research focused on the life cycle of the Sudden Oak Death pathogen in aquatic environments, and as a staff research assistant at UC Davis, his research focused on diagnostics and outreach for this forest and landscape disease. For his master's thesis, he studied the use of compost as a source for nitrogen and in suppression of soilborne diseases in vegetable production, gaining experience with field production at Cornell's vegetable research farm.

Aram earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis and an M.S. in horticulture (vegetable crops) from Cornell University. He received B.S. and B.A. degrees from the Ohio State University in plant biology and Latin. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish, Italian, French and Farsi.

Aram is based in Concord and can be reached at (925) 608-6692 and kamaram@ucanr.edu.

Khan named UCCE water and watershed sciences specialist

Safeeq Khan

Safeeq Khan joined ANR on Oct. 1, 2019, as a UC Cooperative Extension assistant water and watershed sciences specialist. His research broadly focuses on understanding the interaction between climate and ecosystems to inform land and water management. He uses data-driven numerical models as a research tool to aid in the understanding of watershed systems. As a CE specialist, Khan will focus on developing and carrying out collaborative, multifaceted research and extension related to mountain hydrology and their linkage with downstream water uses statewide, with special attention to the Sierra Nevada-Central Valley watersheds.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Khan was a professional researcher and adjunct professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Merced for five years. Khan brings over 10 years of research, education and extension experience. He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, successfully secured several externally funded projects, and presented his work to a diverse range of audiences through digital and print media, workshops and conferences. He has worked very closely with state and federal agencies, local landowners and nonprofit organizations, both in California and elsewhere. He has led several projects related to watershed management, from investigating the impact of non-native tree species and groundwater overdraft on streamflow in Hawaii to mapping hydrological vulnerabilities to climate change in the Pacific Northwest. More recently, his research has been focused on evaluating climate change and watershed restoration impacts on water and forest health and developing stakeholder-driven adaptive decision support tools. He serves as an associate editor for the journal Hydrological Processes. Khan is also a co-director of UC Merced's first Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) grant that focuses on connected wildland-storage-cropland subsystems in California.

Khan earned a Ph.D. in natural resources and environmental management from University of Hawaii at Manoa. He also holds a master's degree in agricultural systems and management from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India and a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from CSA University of Agriculture and Technology Kanpur, India. In addition to English, he is fluent in Hindi and Urdu. 

Khan is based at UC Merced and can be reached at (209) 386-3623 and msafeeq@ucanr.edu. Follow him on Twitter @safeeqkhan.

Farrar elected chair-elect for National IPM Coordinating Committee

Jim Farrar

Jim Farrar has been elected chair-elect for National Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee, which is under the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' ESCOP/ECOP committee system. He will be chair-elect, chair, and past-chair for the next three years.

Farrar will serve with committee chair Danesha Seth Carley of the Southern IPM Center and Ann Hazelrigg of University of Vermont Extension, who moves into the past-chair position.

The National IPM Coordinating Committee is a committee of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) and is a subcommittee of the ESCOP Science and Technology Committee. The committee facilitates coordination and collaboration nationally among and between IPM research and extension at the land-grant universities, and between the land-grants and federal agencies involved in IPM. 

Fennimore receives Fulbright award

Steve Fennimore

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced that Steven Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to work in agriculture in Uruguay. Fennimore will conduct research and teaching at the INIA Las Brujas horticultural field station as part of a project to develop sustainable weed management systems in specialty crops.

Fennimore, director of the statewide Vegetable Research and Information Center, focuses on weed management in vegetable crops and small fruits, as well as weed seed biology and physiology, and seed bank ecology.

Based in Salinas, Fennimore conducts a research and extension program focused on weed management in vegetables, flowers and strawberries, particularly in coastal production areas in California. His program combines chemical and nonchemical methods, for both organic and conventional systems, with the objective of minimizing weed management costs. He also focuses on automated weeding systems to mitigate the severe labor shortages in California, and use of field-scale steam applicators to reduce the need for chemical fumigation in sensitive sites and near urban areas. 

Fennimore is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2019–2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 4:26 PM

UC ANR supporters give over $85,000 on #GivingTuesday

Thanks to everyone who participated, UC ANR's #GivingTuesday campaign was a tremendous success.

“We surpassed our goal of $60,000, raising $85,168,” said Mary Maffly Ciricillo, director of Annual Giving and Individual Gifts. “This is close to a 24 percent increase over last year's Giving Tuesday total of $68,322.”

As an added incentive to potential donors, ANR received over $37,000 in donations toward match challenge funds supporting all of UC ANR programs.

The California 4-H Foundation alone brought in over $32,000. Compared to 2016, there was a 250 percent increase in giving to UC ANR programs – including Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, IPM, the REC System, and county offices – totaling over $15,000.

The number of gifts received also rose, from 224 gifts in 2016 to 318 gifts this year. “We even received a gift designated to urban horticulture!” Ciricillo said.

In addition to raising money, the #GivingTuesday social media campaign helped raise the visibility of ANR programs. The Master Gardener Program team made a video of the unselfies posted on social media by their supporters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI_tVcNhBcQ.

“We appreciate everyone's cooperation in this fundraising effort and hope we can continue to build on our success for the next #GivingTuesday,” Ciricillo said. “These private funds will help us expand UC ANR's reach.”

Below is a list of funds donors selected to receive Giving Tuesday their gifts:

ANR - Master Gardener Annual Giving Fund

Alameda County Master Gardener Endowment Fund

Elkus Ranch Fund

San Mateo - 4-H Program - Various Donors

Statewide Master Gardener Endowment Fund

Sacramento County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

Los Angeles County UCCE Fund

Orange County UCCE Fund

El Dorado County UCCE - Rangeland Fund

San Mateo/San Francisco UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

ANR - Giving Tuesday Match Fund

San Mateo County UCCE - MG Greenhouse

KREC - Kearney REC - Fund

SFREC - Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center Fund

Sonoma County UCCE - Citizen Science Projects

"urban horticulture"

Los Angeles County UCCE - Master Gardeners

LREC - Lindove Field Station

El Dorado County UCCE - Master Gardeners - Various Dnrs

San Mateo/SF UCCE - Master Food Preserver

Fresno County UCCE

4-H Undesignated

"REC System"

Riverside County UCCE - Master Gardeners

Sutter-Yuba Counties UCCE - Master Gardeners

Merced County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

UC California Naturalist Program

Ventura County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

HREC - Hopland REC - Fund

"Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund"

IPM - Program Fund

4-H Foundation UC Donor Funds

DREC - Desert REC FARM SMART Fund

Merced County Agriculture Extension and Research Endowment

Alameda County UCCE - Master Gardeners

UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Orange County UCCE - Master Food Preserver Fund

Kern - 4-H Program - Various Donors

Colusa County UCCE - Master Gardener Program

Central Sierra - UCCE

Ventura County UCCE Fund

"Ventura County Master Gardeners"

San Joaquin County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

ANR - California Naturalist Scholarship Fund

Statewide Program - Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program

ANR Informatics and GIS Fund

Nutrition Policy Institute General Fund

Plumas County UCCE - Project Learning Tree

ANR - Master Food Preservers Fund

California Institute for Water Resources

San Mateo County UCCE Fund

Santa Barbara County 4-H - Various Donors

Contra Costa County UCCE Fund

 

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 3:53 PM

See a sneak preview of UC ANR home page’s refreshed design

You are invited to review the new ucanr.edu design refresh.

Strategic Communications now has a Website Redesign Feedback survey that offers an opportunity for additional input. You'll find links to the proposed designs for desktop, tablet and smart phone. It shows the website interactions and a survey, where you can rate various elements of the website project and offer open-ended comments and ideas, at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=22172.

Please submit your feedback by Friday, Dec. 1.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Names in the News

Megan Marotta
Marotta joins UC ANR as program integration coordinator

Megan Marotta joined UC ANR Youth Families and Communities Statewide Program team as a program integration coordinator in July and is working with five statewide programs: Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, 4-H Youth Development, UC CalFresh and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Her position, which is new, provides an opportunity to capitalize on the partnerships and programming that already exist in each county.

Marotta brings more than 13 years of experience building partnerships in communities, the last 7 years as a program director for afterschool and summer programs in the Bay Area. She received a BA in psychology from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University.

Marotta is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1225 and mrmarotta@ucanr.edu.

From left, Megan Phillippi of Montana State University, Nancy Shelstad and Tim Ewers of Idaho State University, Jeannette Rea-Keywood of Rutgers University, and Kendra Lewis and JoLynn Miller accepted the Excellence in Teamwork Award.

4-H team wins national teamwork award

A multi-state group formed to study 4-H youth retention received the Excellence in Teamwork Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NA4-HA). Kendra Lewis, 4-H academic coordinator for evaluation, and JoLynn Miller, 4-H youth development advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-county Partnership, accepted the award on Nov. 16 in Indianapolis at the NA4-HA Annual Conference.

The youth retention study is focused on understanding why youth and families join, drop out or stay in 4-H. By learning about these factors, youth recruitment and retention in 4-H can be improved. Being able to learn about these issues across states has been valuable as 4-H professionals create tools to help mitigate some of the issues learned from the study.

Since 2014, Lewis and Miller have been co-chairs of the group, which also includes UC Cooperative Extension 4-H advisors Marianne Bird, John Borba and Russell Hill, and specialist Kali Trzesniewski.

For California youth and families, the team has already created a New Family Handbook and a Project Leader Checklist to help leaders as they welcome new families. UC ANR is currently partnering with Cooperative Extension staff at University of Idaho, Rutgers University, University of Wyoming and Louisiana State University. 

The team won the California 4-H Association, Western Region of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and National NAE4-HA awards for Excellence in Teamwork.

Blackburn and Lagura win NEAFCS research award

Mary Blackburn
Mary L. Blackburn, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, and MaryAnn A. Lagura, early childhood program coordinator, both of UC Cooperative Extension in Alameda County, won first place in the Program Excellence Through Research Award category for their “Preschool Wellness Policy Development,” both in the nation and in the western region in the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Annual Awards Program.

MaryAnn Lagura
In 2017, about 67,000 children in Alameda County participated in California's Child and Adult Care Food Program - Child Care and Adult Care Components. Of that number, about 12,000 (17.93 percent) of these children were at 319 sites operating without wellness policies. The early childhood obesity prevention initiative, funded by the Alameda County Health Department – Nutrition Services, was launched in 2014 to develop wellness policies at 20 preschools with 1,074 children in five cities in Alameda County. Blackburn and Lagura provided guidance and support to develop, approve and adopt policies to promote healthy eating, physical activity, environmental changes and model healthy behaviors. They also evaluated the outcomes.

At the end of the 2017 school year, 18 sites had fully implemented policies. Twelve are entering a third year and six are in the second year of implementation – two sites lost funding. Preliminary evaluations of the overall outcomes found goal achievements by all sites exceeded the total number of priority goals sites selected for the first year by a ratio of 2:1.

The award was presented at the annual NEAFCS Awards Ceremony in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 18 and 19. 

Gerry poses with former recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Front row, from left, are Nancy Hinkle, Gerry, and Dick Miller. Back row, from left, are Phil Kaufman, Chris Geden, Jerry Hogsette, Don Rutz, Dave Taylor, UC Riverside professor Brad Mullens and Wes Watson. Photo by Annie Rich

Gerry earns lifetime achievement award  

Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology at the UC Riverside, received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Entomology. 

Gerry's outstanding contributions to animal health and productivity were recognized at the 61st Livestock Insect Workers Conference in Savannah, Ga., in June 2017. He serves as president of the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Section of the Entomological Society of America.

Last year Gerry was honored as a member of a multi-state research team for “S-1060: Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety.” The 2016 Experiment Station Section Award for Excellence in Multi-State Research was given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

To learn more about Gerry's research, visit http://veterinaryentomology.ucr.edu.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 1:23 PM

UC ANR shares staff engagement survey results

Last spring, a sampling of non-represented UC ANR staff were asked to complete the biennial Staff Engagement Survey to gauge their impressions about working for the University. The Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), in collaboration with Systemwide Human Resources' Employee Relations department, developed the survey with the company Willis Towers Watson. The 2017 survey follows similar surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015. The results have been tabulated, and the UC ANR Staff Assembly and UC ANR Human Resources are preparing to share the results broadly across the division.

All staff and academics are invited to take part in a webinar review of the survey results from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 13 (additional information and the webinar link will be e-mailed). Vice President Glenda Humiston, ANR Staff Assembly and ANR Human Resources will host a town hall meeting from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Jan. 16 to discuss the results and ideas for improvement.  

“Reviewing the engagement survey results gives us the opportunity to have open conversations about how people feel about working at UC ANR, and identify ways we can improve,” said John Fox, ANR Human Resources executive director.

At the UC ANR Staff Assembly ambassadors' meeting in October, CUCSA delegates Jeannette Warnert and LeChé McGill presented a preview of the results in three areas that show opportunities for improvement: organizational change, performance management and wellness. After the presentation, the ambassadors broke into groups to suggest ways to improve staff impressions in these areas.

According to the survey, 34 percent of respondents had a favorable impression to the statement, "Generally, recent major organizational changes across the UC system have been planned well.” This is a 2 percentage-point increase from 2015.

The most popular suggestion from the ambassadors for improvement was including staff (particularly those affected by the changes) in the change process. The ambassadors also emphasized the importance of communication about changes, such as information about why changes are being made and how they will be implemented. They also stressed the importance of listening to staff and taking their input seriously.

In the area of performance management, 70 percent of staff surveyed responded favorably to the statement, “I think my performance on the job is evaluated fairly.” However, this was an 8 percentage point drop from the 2015 survey. A significant proportion, 67 percent, had favorable impressions about the statement, "I feel my personal contributions are recognized." A smaller group, 20 percent, responded favorably to "I feel my campus/location does a good job matching pay to performance."

The ambassadors felt strongly that performance management impressions could be improved by helping staff and supervisors develop a better understanding of the new employee-performance-appraisal report rating system. They suggested sharing details about the successes of staff who were rated "transformational," and providing training to staff on their role in the performance appraisal process.

Ambassadors also expressed a concern that there is an assumption among UC ANR managers that staff cannot be rated as "exceptional.”

The 2017 Staff Engagement Survey covered the topic of “wellness” for the first time. Sixty-one percent of UC ANR staff responded favorably to the statement, “My supervisor is supportive of my participation in health or wellness-related initiatives and programs offered at my campus/location.” A similar number, 60 percent, gave favorable responses to the statement, “My organization promotes an environment of physical, mental and social well-being.”

Ambassadors shared a number of ideas for improving this outcome, such as offering discounts for local health clubs/gyms, release time for exercise, exercise awards, structured wellness activities, and support for telecommuting.

For more information on the 2017 UC Staff Engagement Survey, see the UC ANR Staff Assembly website.

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 9:26 AM

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