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Names in the News

Solins joins UC ANR as new environmental horticulture advisor 

Joanna Solins

Joanna Solins joined UC ANR on Oct. 3 as a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties.

Solins will focus on research and outreach related to urban plants, landscaping and climate change, while building relationships with county and municipal governments, nonprofits, landscape and tree care professionals, nursery growers and utilities, among others. She also will support the UC Master Gardener coordinators in her assigned counties, collaborating to extend knowledge and resources to community members.

“My core goals are to improve the climate suitability and ecological performance of urban landscaping and promote the equitable distribution of benefits from urban plants,” Solins said.

After attaining a bachelor's degree in environmental studies at Vassar College, Solins began her career leading outreach education programs for the New England Aquarium and writing for educational publishers. She also worked in communications at the Coral Reef Alliance in San Francisco before starting graduate school at UC Davis, which culminated in a master's in geography and Ph.D. in ecology.

Solins' research at UC Davis combined field studies and geographic information system analysis to investigate plant communities, tree canopy and soils along urban creeks in the Sacramento area. She also carried out postdoctoral research on green stormwater infrastructure, urban forest composition, and the water demand of urban vegetation across California, and contributed to projects examining residential landscaping and urban heat in Sacramento.

Solins is based in Sacramento and can be reached at jsolins@ucanr.edu or (916) 875-2409.

Mar named UCCE organic materials management advisor 

Stephanie Mar

Stephanie Mar joined UC Cooperative Extension on Oct. 3 as the assistant organic materials management advisor serving Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Mar is responsible for investigating ways to divert organic wastes from landfills to alternative end markets, such as circular food economies, composting and wastewater reclamation.

“To me, waste doesn't have an end life, just a next life,” said Mar. “A lot of people don't know what happens to their waste after the garbage truck comes or they flush a toilet, so a part of my job is to understand what we are wasting and what happens to it.”

Mar attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a master's degree in public health focused on environmental science and engineering, and a master's degree in city and regional planning focused on land use and environmental planning. She also has a bachelor's degree in public health from UC Berkeley.

Much of Mar's professional experience, like her time working for the City of Berkeley, is centered on community outreach and policy development, two strengths that she believes will serve her well in this new role.

Previously, Mar worked as a public health analyst for UC San Francisco and as a social research analyst with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services too. Both of which strengthened her understanding of policy and program development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

“Research gives us a lot of information, but then there's a need for translation from what we know to what it actually means,” she said. “There are a lot of people doing different things [to manage their waste], so there's a need for coordination and dispersal of information." 

Mar's background in policy development is something she'll rely on to operationalize the research being done by herself and her colleagues.

Behavioral change is one of Mar's anticipated challenges in this role. Even if research and policy efforts yield successful results, encouraging the community to adapt can be an uphill battle. 

“Sorting trash, for example, is more of a mental burden than a physical one,” she explained. “We know what the research says and what we need to do, it's just about developing the market to make it happen.”

Mar is based out of Irvine at the South Coast Research and Extension Center and can be reached at samar@ucanr.edu.

Dobbin named UCCE water justice policy and planning specialist 

Kristin Dobbin

Kristin Dobbin has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on water justice policy and planning. 

Originally from Utah, Dobbin comes to Rausser College from UC Los Angeles' Luskin Center for Innovation, where she was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Dobbin pairs her love for rural communities, community natural resource management and environmental justice organizing with a strong belief that research can and should play an important role in advancing policy. She hopes to leverage her new position, the first of its kind for UC, to uplift community water managers and impacted residents as leaders and experts in conversations surrounding water management and access.

“It's a dream and a responsibility to be assuming a role that so perfectly weds research and impact,” Dobbin tweeted about her new UC Cooperative Extension water justice policy and planning specialist role.

Dobbin earned her Ph.D. in ecology with an emphasis in environmental policy and human ecology from UC Davis and B.A. in environmental analysis from Pitzer College in Claremont. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the Community Water Center – a grassroots environmental justice organization that advances community-driven solutions for water justice in the Central Valley. 

Dobbin is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at kbdobbin@berkeley.edu and on Twitter @kbdobbin.

Shive named UCCE forest and fuels management specialist 

Kristen Shive

Kristen Shive has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on forest and fuels management.

Bringing more than 20 years of experience in conservation, forest and fire management, and ecology, her work broadly focuses on restoring fire to fire-adapted ecosystems, prioritizing areas for restoration, and understanding shifting fire regimes. Prior to joining UC ANR, Shive led the forest program science team for The Nature Conservancy's California Chapter and was the director of science for Save the Redwoods League. She also has worked for the National Park Service in Alaska, California and Wyoming, most recently as the fire ecologist for Yosemite National Park.

She earned her master's degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. in ecosystem science from UC Berkeley. 

Shive is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at kshive@berkeley.edu and (630) 917-5170 and on Twitter @klshive.

Bacon joins NPI as policy analyst 

Kassandra Bacon

Kassandra Bacon joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on Oct. 12 as a project policy analyst.

Bacon earned her Master's in Public Health with a concentration in public health nutrition and Graduate Certificate in Food Systems at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and B.S. in nutritional sciences from the University of New Hampshire, Durham. 

During her academic journey, she contributed to several research projects pertaining to sustainable food systems, program evaluation, and improvement of public nutrition policy. Additionally, her experience includes program coordination and evaluation, data analysis, and development of communication materials to advance equity-based public health solutions.

At NPI, Bacon will continue to support public health nutrition through policy and program evaluation. She will work on projects related to nutrition and increasing consumption of drinking water and in childcare and universal school meals. 

Bacon is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at kabacon@ucanr.edu.

Rodriguez joins 4-H as advisor in Northern California 

Matt Rodriguez

Matt Rodriguez joined UC Cooperative Extension on Sept. 5 as a 4-H youth development advisor for Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties. As a 4-H advisor, Rodriguez implements extension education and applied research programs grounded in positive youth development theory. He also provides expertise to enhance volunteer engagement in 4-H youth development programs.

Rodriguez earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's School of Public Health in the Department of Family Science. His dissertation, “Influence of Latinx Fathers' Behaviors, Cognitions, Affect, and Family Congruence on Youth Energy Balance-Related Health Outcomes,” investigated Latinx father involvement in the context of youth energy balance-related behaviors. During his doctoral training, Rodriguez also supported several USDA-funded research initiatives involving Latinx fathers and youth. His recent publication, "Predictors Associated with Fathers' Successful Completion of the FOCUS Program,” investigated a sample of fathers in Texas who participated in a child welfare parenting intervention.

Rodriguez currently co-chairs the Men in Families focus group at the National Council on Family Relations. He was also recently elected as Section Counselor for the American Public Health Association's Health Informatics Information Technology section.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Rodriguez was a professional web developer for several large nonprofits in the Midwest. Growing up in a multicultural family with ancestry deriving from Puerto Rico, Japan, Nigeria and England, he embraces the importance of cultural diversity and competency in his family science research.

Rodriguez is based in Auburn and can be reached at (530) 889-7391 and mrro@ucanr.edu and on social media @MattR_Rodriguez. 

Martinico named human-wildlife interactions advisor 

Breanna Martinico

Breanna Martinico joined UC Cooperative Extension as a Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor on July 5. She will work on issues that involve wildlife as agricultural pests and beneficial species. She will be conducting a needs assessment to learn about priority issues in Napa, Lake and Solano counties.  

Martinico is a wildlife biologist and ecologist, specializing in ornithology. Her past research addressed the role of birds on farms as pests and pest control agents. She has worked on projects investigating the important role farmland plays as habitat for California birds. In other work with the USDA Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, she investigated the implications of agricultural land-use and pest management practices on raptor ecology and conservation.

Martinico is a UC Davis graduate with a B.S. in wildlife fish and conservation biology, MS in avian sciences, and has nearly completed her Ph.D. in ecology.  

Martinico is compelled by the co-existence and mutual benefits of humans and wildlife in agroecosystems and is committed to working to find solutions that benefit both people and wildlife. She is excited to be part of UC ANR where she can develop a research and extension program that has the power to increase knowledge and adoption of management practices that promote ecological sustainability and increase farm viability in California.

Martinico is based in Napa and can be reached at bmartinico@ucanr.edu or (707) 253-4141.

Forest Stewardship Education Initiative wins award

Forest workshop participants. Evaluators praised the forestry team for following up with participants to determine impacts.

UC ANR's Forest Stewardship Education Initiative received the national Family Forest Education Comprehensive Program Award from the National Woodland Owners Association and the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs.

The award is shared by the UC ANR forestry team which includes co-principal investigators: Susie Kocher, UCCE forest and natural resources advisor for the Central Sierra; Mike Jones, forestry advisor for Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties; and Kim Ingram, Forest Stewardship Education Initiative academic coordinator. 

Other UC ANR forestry team members include Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties; Ricky Satomi, forestry and natural resources advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Placer, Nevada and Butte counties; Ryan Tompkins, UCCE forest and natural resources advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties; Rob York, UCCE specialist and co-director of Berkeley Forests; Bill Stewart, UCCE specialist emeritus; Rachelle Hedges, Berkeley Forests project and policy analyst; and Ariel Roughton, Berkeley Forests research stations manager. 

The initiative – developed in 2019 as a project through input by the Forest Landowner Education and Outreach Working Group of the California Governor's Forest Management Task Force – is focused on educating private forest landowners to better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a forest management plan, engaging with natural resource professionals, and taking advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals.

The program was implemented using three-day forest stewardship workshops prior to COVID-19 and an educational construct involving self-study in advance of online sessions with resource educators during the pandemic. 

Currently the program involves nine weekly online sessions and one in-person field day. Completion of the workshop series entitles participants to an initial site visit by a resource professional. To date, 335 individuals attended, with 98% indicating improvement in the understanding of forest management planning, 89% planning to consult with a professional, and through May 2022, 49 participants have had site visits from professionals using the program's $800 stipend that supported the visit.

Evaluators felt that the sessions reflected “Excellent submission and programming,” and that it was “Highly complementary that personnel follow-up with participants AFTER the program to determine impacts cited.” Some were also impressed when recognizing the narrative that program managers would like to reach more private landowners about participating in the program using a benefit/barrier assessment.

One evaluator commented, “This is a very high-quality program. It easily rates very high in each of the criteria categories. The nomination package was thorough and it is evident that those involved in the development and delivery of these workshops are knowledgeable and passionate about landowner and professional education. Kudos to California!”

“Our funder CAL FIRE was so pleased with the program that they funded an expansion starting in 2022, which includes additional field days for people not in the workshops, and additional outreach to broad audiences across the state,” Kocher said. “We have funding for two community education specialists and a communications person, which are under recruitment.”

The award was presented on Sept. 22 at the 2022 Society of American Foresters national convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

Roche and multi-state team win NIFA Partnership Award 

Leslie Roche

Leslie Roche, UCCE rangeland management specialist, received on Oct. 6 the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Award for Multi-State Efforts on behalf of the National Connections Team for Forest and Rangeland Resources.

The certificate reads, “NIFA recognizes the National Connections Team for Forest and Rangeland Resources, based at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, for developing a webinar series around Renewable Resources and Extension Act critical issues. The team's goal for the webinar series was to strengthen RREA programming by increasing renewable resource Extension and outreach professionals' capacity to provide scientific and technologically relevant content. It showcased innovative programming developed by forest and range professionals from Land-grant universities across the nation. Evaluations showed the series had both national and global appeal. Additionally, the webinar series were influential with participants indicating that they had learned ways to enhance their own programming.”

The multi-state team was led by Mark Thorne (University of Hawaii-Manoa) and Barb Hutchinson (Rangelands Partnership/University of Arizona) and includes Kris Tiles (University of Wisconsin), Retta Bruegger (Colorado State University), Adam Downing (Virginia Tech), Sheila Merrigan (Rangelands Partnership/University of  Arizona), Martha Monroe (University of Florida), Dave Bogner (University of Arizona), Elise Gornish ( University of Arizona), and Roche.

The web-based conference series can be viewed at https://globalrangelands.org/rreasp/webinars.

4-H receives national recognition

From left, Stephanie Barrett, JoLynn Miller and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty.

At the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals annual conference, UCANR 4-H was recognized. Fe Moncloa, 4-H advisor for Santa Clara County; Martin Smith, UCCE specialist; Charles Go, former 4-H advisor for Contra Costa County; and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H Youth Development director and interim director of County Cooperative Extension, received awards for 25 years of service to the organization. JoLynn Miller, 4-H youth development advisor, received the distinguished service award for 7 to 15 years of service to NAE4-HYDP. Stephanie Barrett, 4-H community education supervisor for Southern California, received an achievement-is-service award for serving 3 to 7 years.

 

 

Names in the News

Pearsons joins UCCE as small farm advisor 

Kirsten Pearsons

Kirsten Pearsons joined UC Cooperative Extension on March 1 as a small farm advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. She is developing research and extension programs focused on integrating soil health practices and pest management strategies for small-scale farmers and specialty crops.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Pearsons was a postdoctoral researcher at the nonprofit Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, where she focused on studying and promoting organic and regenerative agriculture. She worked on Rodale's long-term Farming Systems Trial, studying how organic and reduced-till field crop production affects long-term farm economics, soil health and water quality compared to conventional practices.

She earned a Ph.D. in entomology at Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in environmental toxicology at UC Davis.

Pearsons is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at kapearsons@ucanr.edu, (805) 788-9486 (office) and (925) 487-8374 (cell). She will be posting event information and resources for small-scale farms in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties on Instagram @ucceslosmallfarms

Satomi moves to UCCE Sutter-Yuba 

Ricky Satomi

Ricky Satomi joined UCCE Sutter-Yuba on March 15 as an area forestry and natural resources advisor in the Western Sierra Region (Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Nevada and Placer counties). He specializes in forest management with a focus on new technologies and wood products.

Prior to moving to UCCE Sutter-Yuba, Satomi served as a UCCE area forest advisor working on forestry and youth education issues for Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. 

Satomi earned a Master of Forestry looking at the cost efficiency of forest mastication treatments, and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment, both from UC Berkeley. He has also worked as a field forester working on various inventory and timber management programs throughout California.

In the coming year, he hopes to offer workshops for forest landowners and professionals around novel GIS tools, climate-smart silvicultural practices, reforestation best practices, and workforce development opportunities.

Satomi is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-6213 or rpsatomi@ucanr.edu.

Barreto joins Contracts and Grants 

Cameron Barreto

Cameron Barreto joined UC ANR as a senior contracts and grants officer on April 14. He will be working with the Office of Contracts and Grants to assist UC ANR researchers with the submission and management of their proposals and awards for sponsored research.

Prior to joining UC ANR, he was a research services coordinator with UC San Francisco Office of Sponsored Research for three years assisting the Pediatrics Department and participating in several extramural groups including serving as co-chair of the Office of Sponsored Research Council and Gallup Engagement Survey officer.

He earned a B.A. in history from the University of Rochester in upstate New York. 

Barreto is based at the ANR Building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1368 and cebarreto@ucanr.edu.

Won joins UC Master Gardener Program 

Danny Won

Danny Won is the new program assistant for the UC Master Gardener Program statewide office. He has been with UC ANR since 2015, working as an administrative assistant for the UC Integrated Pest Management Program.

Won will be supporting the UC Master Gardener Program by managing inventory and shipping and overseeing volunteers' annual reappointment, California Department of Food and Agriculture licenses, program purchases, and many other projects. He will continue to provide support to UC IPM for events and workshops. His new office is located in the ANR building at space #102 and he can be reached at dwon@ucanr.edu.

Worker wins Scholar Award 

Steven Worker

Steven Worker, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for 4-H youth development in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, received the 2022 Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association's Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group.

The Scholar Award recognizes outstanding research in the out-of-school time field and honors a scholar in the early to middle stages of their career.

Worker, who became a 4-H advisor in 2016, was recognized for excellence, creativity and intentionality in contributing to the out-of-school-time learning field. His research efforts have focused on (1) youth development with an emphasis on adapting, piloting and evaluating youth development program models that integrate culturally relevant practices to engage culturally diverse youth; (2) science learning that engages youth in personally meaningful experiences situated in authentic community activities; and (3) exploring factors involved with improving volunteer educator competence and confidence to facilitate high-quality youth development.

Worker strives to improve the cultural relevancy of youth development programs to make them more welcoming to marginalized youth. Applying his research findings, Worker organizes activities to engage youth in STEM. During the pandemic, he created ways for children to learn and socialize safely by meeting online to build motorboats and view livestock presentations in person at a drive-through animal science day. In May, he will host the North Bay Science Discovery Day.

Bruno wins New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award 

Ellen Bruno

Ellen Bruno, UC Cooperative Extension economics specialist at UC Berkeley, is a recipient of the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) 2021 New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award, an award granted to early career scientists supporting research in one of FFAR's Challenge Areas.

FFAR's New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award provides early-career scientists with funding to focus on food and agriculture research without the pressure of securing additional funding. Each applicant can receive up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Meeting future food needs requires effectively managing scarce groundwater. California is addressing this problem through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which ensures better groundwater use and management. Bruno's research is using the act as a case study to identify policies that enhance water sustainability and minimize regulation costs.

Kocher, Ingram win educational materials awards 

Susie Kocher
Kim Ingram
Susie Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension forestry and natural resources advisor, and Kim Ingram, forest stewardship education coordinator, won two bronze awards from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals for outstanding educational materials.

One award was for the Forest Stewardship Education Newsletter in the “Newsletters or Series of Articles” category and another award in the “TV or Video” category for their four-part series of Forest Inventory videos. Ingram and Kocher share the video award with Kestrel Grevatt, a GrizzlyCorps Fellow. 

Susie Kocher explains in a video how forest landowners can manage their forest land and take an inventory of trees in their forest.

 

Names in the News

Light joins UCCE as agronomy advisor

Sarah Light

Sarah Light joined UCCE on July 5, 2017, as an area agronomy advisor in Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties.

Light earned a dual M.S. in soil science & botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and conducted her graduate research in potato production at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Eastern Oregon. Light, who speaks Spanish, also holds a B.A. in Latin American studies with a minor in Spanish literature from Brandeis University.

Prior to joining UCCE, Light was working as a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project that evaluated the impact of biochar application on soil water properties. Light volunteered with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program in Malawi and worked for several years in small-scale farms and gardens in the Bay Area.

Light is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and selight@ucanr.edu.

Milliron named UCCE orchards advisor

Luke Milliron

Luke Milliron joined UCCE on June 12, 2017, as an area sustainable orchard systems advisor in Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Milliron worked as an agronomy technician at Dellavalle Laboratory, Inc. since April 2016. He was responsible for soil and plant tissue sampling in almond, walnut, grapevine and processing tomato systems. He also supported grower irrigation management with neutron probe, pressure chamber and watermark readings.

From January 2015 to March 2016, Milliron was a UC Cooperative Extension horticulture intern, funded by the Almond Board of California and the California Dried Plum Board. During his internship, he was based in UCCE Sutter-Yuba and San Joaquin counties where he worked on 20 UCCE trials in almond, prune, walnut, processing tomato and landscape horticulture. Milliron also assisted UCCE farm advisors on visits with almond, prune, walnut and tomato growers, wrote newsletter articles and delivered talks to growers and pest control advisers.

Milliron earned an M.S. in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. His research focused on the measurement of almond tree water stress during winter dormancy. He earned a B.S. in agricultural science, with an option in crops and horticulture from California State University, Chico.

Milliron is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 828-9666 and lkmilliron@ucanr.edu and on Twitter @MillironLuke.

Satomi joins UCCE as forestry advisor

Ricky Satomi

Ricky Satomi joined UCCE on May 15, 2017, as an Area Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

Satomi earned an M.S. in forestry from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment from UC Berkeley.

Prior to joining UCCE, Satomi worked as a research associate with the UC Wood Biomass Utilization Group, analyzing wood utilization capacity in California. His master's thesis focused on productivity and cost tracking of forest fuel mastication treatments using open source geospatial analysis. He also developed interactive web and audiovisual platforms to enhance delivery of forest management practices to the public. From 2009 to 2013, Satomi was a field forester working on inventory and management plans for land ownerships throughout Northern California.

Satomi is based in Redding and can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and rpsatomi@ucanr.edu.

Montazar joins UCCE as water management advisor

Ali Montazar

Aliasghar Montazar joined UCCE on June 1, 2017, as an area irrigation and water management advisor in Imperial and Riverside counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Montazar was a project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis for three years. From 2011 to 2014, he was a research associate in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. He is also a former associate professor at the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the University of Tehran, Iran. Montazar has more than 15 years of research, extension, teaching and technical consulting experience and has served in several leadership positions in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering in California and abroad.

Montazar, who is fluent in Persian and Arabic, earned a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage from University of Tehran, Iran; an M.S. in irrigation structures from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran; and a B.S. in irrigation engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

Montazaris is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7707 and amontazar@ucanr.edu.

Chen named nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor

Wei-ting Chen

Wei-ting Chen joined UCCE on Aug. 29, 2016, as the area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Chen worked for a health communications firm based in Atlanta, Ga., where she managed health communication projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and led user research and evaluation efforts for web-based health communication products.

At Johns Hopkins University, she developed an urban agriculture summer training program for low-income inner-city teens, led the founding and operations of the university's first community garden, conducted a literature review on the topics of community food security and farm-to-school through the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and surveyed SNAP recipients at farmers markets about their experience with fruit and vegetable incentives. Her dissertation combined her interest in poverty, social policy, and food system issues and examined public assistance-dependent mothers experience as consumers in the food system and how they made food decisions for their households. From 2005 to 2008, Chen, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, worked for the California Charter Schools Association coordinating its board and leadership development program.

She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology at Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in political science and sociology at UC Davis.

Chen is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and wtgchen@ucanr.edu.

Megaro joins ANR as government and community relations director

Anne Megaro

Anne Megaro joined UC ANR as government and community relations director on Aug. 28. In her new role, Megaro will guide UC ANR employees in nurturing relationships with government officials and will monitor legislation that could affect UC ANR. She will also develop programs to promote community awareness of UC ANR.

Megaro, who earned a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University and a B.S. in animal science and management from UC Davis, brings a solid understanding of agriculture, science and the UC system along with knowledge of California's legislative processes.

“We're absolutely thrilled to have someone of Anne's caliber and credentials on board at UC ANR,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “Her hiring is a real coup for us and couldn't come at a more critical time. Educating our elected officials about the value of ANR research and outreach is always important, but especially as we try to increase investment in research infrastructure to address issues such as water, wildfire, invasive pests, food insecurity and other challenges facing the state.”

For the past five years, Megaro has been the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture's consultant. As the sole agriculture committee consultant for the Senate, Megaro planned legislative hearings, conducted independent research and analyzed agricultural bills to advise senators and staff on policy and legislative issues. She collaborated with senators, assembly members, governor's staff, legislative staff, government agencies, stakeholders and members of the public to resolve issues related to specific bills or policies.

“With the goodwill she's developed and contacts she's made in the state Senate, coupled with her ability to work with UC Cooperative Extension county directors and Research and Extension Center directors on effectively engaging policymakers at the local level, Anne will elevate UC ANR's ability to connect people with the data they need to make informed policy decisions,” Humiston said.

Megaro is based at the ANR building in Davis in Room 178 and can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and ammegaro@ucanr.edu.

Haver named interim associate director of REC system

Darren Haver

Darren Haver has agreed to serve as the interim associate director of the Research and Extension Center system, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Haver has served as the UC Cooperative Extension water resources advisor in Orange County since 2002, director of South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine since 2009 and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County beginning in 2011.

“Darren brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president and interim REC director. “We continue to develop a plan to address administrative vacancies and look forward to working with him in this interim role.”

Haver will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2018, or until a new director is appointed. He will succeed Lisa Fischer, who plans to retire from UC ANR in September after five years as associate director of the REC system.

“Under her direction, each REC has developed a strategic plan to set the course for the future and numerous capital improvements have been made to the RECs, including new office and conference spaces,” said Powers. “We wish Lisa the very best as she takes on new adventures.”

Harper honored by California Wool Growers

John Harper

John Harper, UCCE livestock advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, received the California Wool Growers Association's Golden Fleece Award at their annual meeting Aug. 19 in Cambria.

The Golden Fleece Award is presented each year to a living and active member of the California Wool Growers Association or a public official who through his or her position has made a lasting contribution to the California sheep industry. This is the “un-sung hero” award. Recipients are intended to be those individuals who have given unremitting support and service to the California sheep industry and received little recognition for their efforts.

“John Harper was honored with the California Wool Growers Association Golden Fleece Award for his unrecognized contributions as livestock/natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties to the California sheep industry over the years,” said Erica Sanko, CWGA executive director. “John is known statewide and nationally for his sheep shearing and wool grading schools, which provides a much-needed resource of qualified sheep shearers for the California sheep industry.”

Since 1990, Harper has been hosting the UC Cooperative Extension Sheep Shearing School, which is the only program of its kind in California. At the five-day intensive course, more than 300 students from California, other states and other countries have been trained to shear sheep, giving them skills to start a new and profitable career. Harper, who serves as secretary for the Mendocino/Lake Wool Growers Association, has also authored or co-authored more than 350 research-based articles and publications.

Ingram honored by Nevada County Fair board

Roger Ingram

Roger Ingram, UCCE advisor emeritus, was named the 2017 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. The award was created by Western Fairs Association (WFA), a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry, to recognize those who support and contribute to the quality of their local fair. During opening ceremonies on Aug. 9, Ingram was recognized for his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Ingram's involvement with the fair began in 1986 when he joined UC Cooperative Extension as the 4-H/livestock and natural resources advisor in Nevada County. At the Nevada County Fair, he organized and conducted a livestock judging contest until 1995. He has been instrumental in coordinating carcass quality programs for fair animals and working with exhibitors and leaders to understand the data and to use it to improve their feeding and management practices.

From 2006 to 2011, Ingram gave a series of agriculture-related presentations at the fair as part of the workshop series coordinated by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

“For decades, Roger has been an advocate of local youth in agriculture, particularly the youth at the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “His contributions to the agriculture programs at the Fairgrounds have educated adults and children.  Whether it's participating in the annual farm day, assisting with agricultural youth programs, serving as a guest speaker in the seminar series at the fair, or assisting the kids at the fair – his work is invaluable.”

 

Putting Youth on the Map wins UC tech award

The University of California recognized 10 teams from across the system with the 2017 Larry L. Sautter Award. Putting Youth on the Map won a Golden Award. The Center for Regional Change's interactive website provides analyses of California youth well-being and curricula on how to use them. The website is a resource for researchers and policymakers, as well as youth and adult advocates, who are working to ensure the well-being of young people in the state.

The annual award, which is sponsored by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council, recognizes collaborative innovations in information technology that advance the university's mission of teaching, research, public service and patient care, or that improve the effectiveness of university processes. The award encourages collaboration and solution sharing across the UC system. Systemwide Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola announced the winners Aug. 8 at the UC Computing Services Conference in San Diego.

Nancy Erbstein, who holds a research faculty appointment in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology, is the principal investigator for the project. UC Cooperative Extension advisors Charles Go, Russell Hill, Anna Martin, Fe Moncloa, Terri Spezzano and Steven Worker; UCCE nutrition education coordinator Dennis Carrasquilla, UC CalFresh director David Ginsburg and former Youth, Families and Communities Program director Constance Schneider contributed to the development of Putting Youth on the Map.

The resource was created with support from The California Endowment, UCANR, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California and Sierra Health Foundation.

The Putting Youth on the Map website is at http://interact.regionalchange.ucdavis.edu/youth.

 

AVP Powers announces 51 proposals invited for competitive and high-reward grants

AVP Wendy Powers announced the letters of intent (LOIs) for which principal investigators have been invited to submit full proposals to ANR's Competitive Grants Program and High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program. The list of 51 approved projects can be found at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/261626.pdf.

This year ANR received a total of 108 letters of intent — 97 for the Competitive Grants Program and 11 for the High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program. Strategic Initiative leaders and their respective panels reviewed all letters of intent thoroughly to address the appropriateness of the proposals in addressing the goals and criteria outlined by each funding opportunity.

ANR Competitive Grants Program

The purpose of the ANR competitive grants program is to address high-priority issue areas identified by at least one of the strategic initiatives: Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases (EIPD), Healthy Families and Communities (HFC), Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), Sustainable Natural Ecosystems (SNE), and Water Quality, Quantity and Security (Water).

ANR Competitive Grants Program 2017 Cycle:

  • Full proposals due June 19
  • Technical peer review: mid-June – early September 2017
  • Strategic Initiative review and recommendations: end of September 2017
  • Program Council review and recommendations: October/November 2017
  • Announcement of funded grants: November/December 2017

High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program

Given the complexity of societal problems, high-risk research is necessary to achieve gains for real progress in addressing present and emerging challenges. This program will provide funds to initiate and complete research and proof-of-concept efforts that serve as the basis for larger funding opportunities. These projects must be of a high-risk/high-reward nature that are best conducted in a controlled, research setting and, if successful, lend themselves to subsequent larger funding opportunities and/or intellectual property development.

Proposed projects must be within the scope of the ANR Strategic Vision. All ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted using the same timeline as outlined for the traditional competitive grants program, but reviewed separately due to the nature of the proposal.

For questions about ANR's competitive grants program or high-risk/high-reward grants program, please contact Melanie Caruso at mmcaruso@ucanr.edu.

Nutrition Policy Institute launches Research to Action news brief

The Nutrition Policy Institute has launched a news brief called Research to Action. The publication will provide information on research, policy, news, announcements, events, articles and action items focused on nutrition and healthy communities. 

The first issue looks at the work of the National Drinking Water Alliance (NDWA). NPI is the “hub” for NDWA, which engages in and coordinates evidence-based efforts going on all over the country to improve tap water safety and access, especially for children, and to provide drinking water education and promotion. The NDWA website is a “go-to” resource for information on drinking water. 
 
Future editions of Research to Action will be sent several times per year. Please sign up for the Research to Action mailing list, and please share Research to Action with colleagues who would be interested in receiving it.

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