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Posts Tagged: Russ Hill

Names in the News

Doan named UCCE small farms advisor

Hung Doan

Hung Doan joined UCCE as a small farms and specialty crops advisor serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Nov. 1.  

Before joining UC ANR, Doan was an instructor for an USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Guyana. He has experience working on small-scale farms in California and abroad in Kenya and Vietnam.

While studying at UC Davis, he coordinated many plant disease clinics and diagnosed plant diseases for a large clientele base ranging from small-scale farmers to UC Cooperative Extension staff.

His research interests include integrated pest management, vegetable and mushroom production, nutrient management, food safety and vegetables and specialty crops pathology.  

Doan graduated from UC Davis with a B.S in biochemistry and molecular biology and an M.S in plant pathology under the guidance of Professor Mike Davis, working on developing sustainable controls for Fusarium wilt of cotton at UC Davis. Hung earned his Ph.D. at UC Davis studying pathogenic Escherichia coli on leafy greens working with Professor Johan Leveau.  

Doan is headquartered in Moreno Valley and can be reached at hkdoan@ucanr.edu and (408) 717-0161.

Pierce named UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor 

Curt Pierce

Curt Pierce joined UC Cooperative Extension as the area irrigation and water resources advisor for Glenn, Tehama, Colusa and Shasta counties on Oct. 15.

He works with other local UCCE orchard advisors and community stakeholders on agricultural irrigation issues such as improving efficiencies, scheduling and system maintenance, as well as groundwater recharge, flow measurements and water diversions. His past research has focused on deficit irrigation and partial root-zone drying in field-grown pecan.

He earned his Ph.D. in horticulture and B.S. in agriculture and community development, both from New Mexico State University.

Pierce is based at the UCCE Glenn County office in Orland and can be reached at calpierce@ucanr.edu.

4-H Latino Initiative team wins national DEI award

Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Claudia Díaz Carrasco, Liliana Vega, Lupita Fábregas and Russ Hill accepted their award at the National 4-H Association of Extension for Youth Development conference. Local COVID-19 safety and vaccination protocols were followed at the conference.

The Latino Initiative team of UC ANR's 4-H youth development program received the national diversity and inclusion award for their outstanding performance in expanding the 4-H program to California's Latino youth. The award was presented at the November annual conference of the National 4-H Association of Extension for Youth Development in Memphis, Tennessee. 

The award recognizes their pilot program implemented in eight California counties that generated a 250% growth in the participation of Latino children and adolescents from 2016 to 2019.

“I'm so proud to be associated with this very important work and group of passionate and skilled colleagues. The Latino initiative has set a strong foundation for expanding this work throughout California to ensure all young people have access to high caliber programming that meets local needs,” said Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, UC ANR Statewide 4-H director.

Members of the Latino Initiative present to accept the award included 4-H advisors Claudia Díaz Carrasco, Russ Hill and Liliana Vega, Schmitt-McQuitty and Lupita Fábregas, former UC ANR 4-H Youth Development assistant director for diversity and expansion and currently director of the Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development.

"This week, I am happy to be at the National Conference of the 4-H Extension Association for Youth Development," Claudia Diaz Carrasco, a 4-H advisor in Riverside County, wrote on social media after receiving this recognition. "Since 2015, I have been given the opportunity to learn by doing, and I am working to make this world a better place by helping train the next generation." – Norma De la Vega

Read the full story at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=51054.

Nader ranch wins California Leopold Award

From right, Glenn and Marie Nader and their son, Alan, are dedicated to promoting water conservation and soil health on their working cattle ranch in Modoc County. Photo courtesy of Glenn Nader

Marie and Glenn Nader's Witcher Creek Ranch in Modoc County has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 California Leopold Conservation Award.

“I was a livestock farm advisor and used much of my experiences and education on our ranch,” Glenn Nader said. “That is one of the many reasons we were selected for the 2021 California Leopold Award.” 

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

In California, the prestigious award is presented annually by Sand County FoundationAmerican Farmland TrustSustainable Conservation and the California Farm Bureau Federation.

The Naders were revealed as this year's recipient during the California Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Meeting in Garden Grove on Dec. 6. The Naders, who own ranchland near Canby and Penn Valley, will receive $10,000 and a crystal award for being selected.

“A big thanks to UCCE for giving the working relationship with ranchers and researchers that was key to the knowledge base that we implemented on the ranch,” Nader said. 

 

Names in the News

Tara Batista
Batista joins ANR as 4-H advisor

Tara Batista joined UCCE as an area 4-H youth development advisor for Kings, Fresno and Tulare counties on Oct. 3.

Prior to joining UCCE, Batista was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Management, Entrepreneurship and International Business at Stetson University in Florida from 2013 to May 2016. Batista has 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and positive youth development. She has worked for the Southeastern Network for Youth and Family Services, Girl Scouts, the U.S. Dream Academy and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Batista has also designed, implemented and evaluated youth development programs in Chimaltenango, Guatemala; Vieques, Puerto Rico; Oxford, U.K.; Bogota and Barranquilla, Colombia; Pinellas Park and DeLand, Fla.; New York City and Providence, R.I. She is currently president of Run 4 a Cause Foundation, which helps youth in central Florida to participate in sports outside of school time.

Batista earned a Ph.D. in social enterprise administration and an M.Phil. in social work from Columbia University. She completed a M.Sc. in evidence-based social intervention at the University of Oxford. She also earned a B.B.A in international business and a B.A. in Spanish from Stetson University.

Batista is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2739 and tabatista@ucanr.edu.

Mae Culumber
Culumber named Fresno County nut advisor

Catherine Mae Culumber joined UCCE on June 30 as a nut crops advisor for Fresno County.

Culumber has engaged in a broad range of research disciplines, investigating the impacts of land management on plants and soils in agricultural, forest and range ecosystems. Completed in 2016, her Ph.D. dissertation described the effects of novel orchard floor management approaches on soil health, water use, tree root distribution and tree growth in stone fruit orchards. Her graduate work, conducted in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research Lab, characterized the phylogenetic structure of native grass populations used for grazing and range restoration in the western U.S.

She earned a Ph.D. in soil science and M.S. in ecology from Utah State University, and a B.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Based in Fresno, Culumber can be reached at (559) 241-7526 and cmculumber@ucanr.edu.

Follow her on Twitter at @ucnutadvisor.

JP Martins
Martins joins ANR as dairy advisor

Joao Paulo Martins joined UCCE on Aug. 1 as a dairy advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.

Martins, who goes by the nickname JP, was a private veterinarian for a year in Brazil, then worked as a research assistant and laboratory manager in the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. His research relates to herd health, reproductive management, cattle breeding, synchronization of ovulation, in vitro fertilization, and superovulation in commercial beef and dairy cows. He has expertise in ultrasonography for ovarian morphology, pregnancy diagnoses, fetal sexing and oocyte pick-up.

During his youth, the Rio de Janeiro native worked on his family's dairy farm in the Brazilian dairy state of Minas Gerais.

Martins earned a DVM degree from Federal Fluminense University (UFF), Niterói, RJ, Brazil, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in animal science from Michigan State University.

Based in Tulare, Martins can be reached at (559) 684-3313 and jpmartins@ucanr.edu.

Alex Putman

Putman named UCCE plant pathology specialist

Alex Putman joined UC ANR on April 1 as an assistant specialist in Cooperative Extension and assistant plant pathologist in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at UC Riverside.

Prior to joining ANR, Putman was a postdoctoral researcher based in Salinas for the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis from 2014 to 2016.

Putman focuses on diseases challenging vegetable and strawberry production, especially disease caused by soilborne fungi such as Athelia, Fusarium, Macrophomina, Sclerotinia, Stromatinia and Verticillium. To understand these diseases, his program will integrate various research approaches that could include cropping systems, epidemiology, host resistance, pathogen biology, remote sensing or soil ecology.

He earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology from North Carolina State University, an M.S. in agronomy from the University of Connecticut and a B.S. in natural resource sciences from the University of Maryland.

Putman is based in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 827-4212 and alexander.putman@ucr.edu. Follow him on Twitter @VeggiePathUCR.

Derrick Robinson
Robinson named Money Talks coordinator

Derrick Robinson joined ANR on Aug. 1 as an academic coordinator for the Money Talks project.

Prior to joining ANR, Robinson was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Geography at University of North Florida for a year. He developed and instructed courses in economics on principles of microeconomics, macroeconomics, intermediate microeconomics, conservation of natural resources, economic geography and business statistics. From 2014 to 2015, Robinson developed and taught a course in agribusiness, entrepreneurship and ag-policy analysis at Tuskegee University. At Auburn University, he worked on community-based research with local Sea Grant offices as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration collegiate fellow from 2011 to 2015. From 2009 to 2011, he was a project manager for the University of North Florida Environmental Center, where he organized programs for the campus community and surrounding regional community.

Robinson earned a B.S. in communication: electronic media and a B.A. in economics from University of North Florida, and his Ph.D. in applied economics from Auburn University.

Based in San Diego, Robinson can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and dearobinson@ucanr.edu.

Liz Sizensky
Sizensky joins NPI and communications

Liz Sizensky has joined the Strategic Communications team in Davis and the Nutrition Policy Institute in Berkeley as a communications strategist. She brings extensive experience managing digital and print projects. Prior to joining ANR, she served nine years at UC Berkeley, where she led web and print projects that increased awareness of the research and initiatives of the School of Public Health, SafeTREC, the Division of Student Affairs, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Before UC Berkeley, she spent eight years overseeing websites and marketing communications for Silicon Valley technology companies including Netscape, HP and VeriSign. She is known for translating complex ideas into clear and engaging communications that educate, inform and inspire readers.

She earned a B.A. with honors in English from Mills College in Oakland.

Sizensky can be reached at (530) 750-1272 in Davis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at easizensky@ucanr.edu.

Janet Caprile
Caprile wins IPM Achievement Award

Janet Caprile, UCCE advisor for Contra Costa and Alameda counties, and the Contra Costa County Agriculture Department have been awarded a 2016 IPM Achievement Award by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for their cherry buckskin project.

Cherry buckskin disease has wiped out cherry production in several areas of California since it was first reported in 1931. In the 1980s, the disease became established in San Joaquin County. To prevent the establishment of the disease in neighboring Contra Costa County, a collaborative effort among UC Cooperative Extension, the county agriculture department and local cherry growers began in 1987. 

Caprile trained UC Master Gardener volunteers to identify cherry buckskin disease symptoms and organized them to help perform an annual survey during harvest. Mid Valley Ag Services covers the cost of lab testing each year. The Master Gardeners and former coordinator Emma Conner first detected infected trees during the 2002 survey.

Caprile informed growers of the disease detection and worked with them to develop an aggressive IPM treatment and eradication program to prevent the establishment of this devastating disease. As a result of these efforts, the disease has been eliminated in Contra Costa County.

The 2016 Achievement Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters on Jan. 26 in Sacramento.

Doug Parker
Parker honored for professional service

The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation honored Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, with its Chairman's Award for Professional Service to the foundation.

In announcing the award, Robert D. Day, RNRF executive director, wrote to Parker: “You received the award because of your essential volunteer assistance in developing the program and identifying eminently qualified prospective speakers for RNRF's 2015 Congress on sustaining Wester Water. Plus, you launched the congress with an excellent opening address. We would not have had the program that we did without you.”

Parker is president of the Universities Council on Water Resources, an association of universities and organizations leading in education, research and public service in water resources. As UCOWR president, he serves on the executive council for NIDIS, the National Integrated Drought Information System, which maintains the Drought.gov website at https://www.drought.gov/drought.

The Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) is a nonprofit, public policy research organization based in North Bethesda, Md. It is a consortium of scientific, professional, educational, design and engineering organizations whose primary purpose is to advance science, the application of science, and public education in managing and conserving renewable natural resources. 

Marianne Bird (on left)
Bird and Hill receive national extension 4-H awards

The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents honored the work of 4-H youth development advisors Marianne Bird and Russell Hill on Oct. 13.

Bird, who serves Sacramento County, received the 2016 NAE4HA Meritorious Service Award. According to the association, Bird received the award because she “loves bringing new learning opportunities to young people, especially in STEM and environmental education.” It also noted that “She works extensively with camps and afterschool programs and enjoys empowering teens-as-teachers. Marianne served on the National 4-H Science in Urban Communities team and fashioned 4-H on the Wild Side, a National 4-H Program of Distinction.”

Russ Hill (on right)
Hill, who serves Merced, Madera and Mariposa counties, received the NAE4HA Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service and dedication to the 4-H youth development profession.

Hill recently celebrated 10 years of service with UC ANR. His prior roles include county 4-H program representative and the director of the 4-H Military Partnership. He is part of the team recently honored by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Cooperative Extension system, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) with the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.

Bird and Hill received the awards on Oct. 13 at the NAE4HA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Vernard Lewis
Lewis inducted into Pest Management Hall of Fame

Vernard Lewis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, was inducted into Pest Management Professional Magazine's 2016 Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 in honor of his 35-year career in pest management. The entomologist focuses on urban pests, including ants, cockroaches and wood-boring beetles, but is best known for his integrated pest management research and outreach on bed bugs and termites.

Saying that he's “had a blast,” Lewis, who joined UC ANR in 1990, told Pest Management Professional that he plans to retire in 2017. He reminisced about doing pest control at San Quentin Prison and building Villa Termiti at the Richmond Field Station to test termite detection and control measures. To read the article, visit http://www.mypmp.net/2016/09/22/pmp-hall-of-fame-2016-inductee-dr-vernard-lewis-reflects-on-career.

 

 

 

ANR reaches out to donors on #GivingTuesday

Last year, 4-H in Placer County was successful in attracting donations through its #GivingTues campaign.
This year ANR will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. 

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
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM

UC Research to Policy Conference puts science into action

Jason Delborne described the roles of a scientist in policy as outlined in Roger A. Pielke, Jr.'s book "The Honest Broker": pure scientist, issue advocate, science arbiter and honest broker.
A diverse group of UC scientists working on agricultural, natural resources and food issues came together at the First Research to Policy Conference to explore how to use research to effectively engage in public policy. The event, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was held on the UC Davis campus on Oct. 12-13.

“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.

From left, Mindy Romero, Lorrene Ritchie, Thomas Harter, David Lewis and Yana Valachovic, shared what they have learned from engaging in policy.

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.

From left, Amrith Gunasekara, Tina Cannon Leahy, Anne Megaro, Rebecca Newhouse and Juliet Sims described how they use research to shape policy.

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.

During a breakout session, participants discuss current research that has policy implications.

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 lfrerichs@ucanr.edu, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at cgupta@ucdavis.edu and Roche at lmroche@ucdavis.edu

Names in the News

Rebecca Ozeran
Ozeran named UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor

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 rkozeran@ucanr.edu.

Axelson joins UCCE as forest health specialist

Jodi Axelson

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 jodi.axelson@berkeley.edu. Follow her on Twitter @DisturbedDendro.

Haghverdi joins UCCE as urban water specialist

Amir Haghverdi

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 amir.haghverdi@ucr.edu.

Saitone named ag economics specialist

Tina Saitone
Tina Saitone joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) at UC Davis, where she is focused on livestock and rangeland economics. Saitone conducts research on a broad range of topics in agricultural economics including food quality and safety, agricultural cooperatives, industry competition, generic commodity promotion, and federal and state marketing orders.

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 saitone@primal.ucdavis.edu.

Bautista named 4-H STEM coordinator

Jessica Bautista

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 jbautista@ucanr.edu.

Pourreza wins international prize for HLB detection

Ali Pourreza

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.

From left, Keith Nathaniel, Fe Moncloa, Shannon Horrillo, Russell Hill and Dorina Espinoza.

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. 

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