Posts Tagged: Vikram Koundinya
Syrett joins ANR's front desk in Davis
Selena Syrett joined the ANR team as the receptionist for the ANR building in Davis in November. She had been working as a temporary employee at the front desk since September.
Syrett comes to UC ANR from the retail world of Nordstrom Rack, where she held jobs as a cashier and stockroom employee for four years. Prior to that, she taught high school students virtually over the summer and worked as an administrative assistant at Mare Island Home Health in Vallejo. She earned a B.A. in linguistics from UC Davis.
Syrett is located at the front desk of the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com and (530) 750-1200.
Beck joins Hopland and Sierra Foothill RECs
“My personal background is in interdisciplinary wildlife science and I am looking forward to expanding research and education at Hopland and Sierra Foothill in new and unique ways,” Beck said. “We will definitely continue to focus on our historic strengths (e.g., oak management and livestock research), but I will also be looking to bring on more integrated studies, creative pursuits, and social science programs.”
Beck will help the REC directors manage existing projects, recruit new researchers, assist with finding and winning funding, and develop collaborations, both among researchers at each REC and between the two RECs.
“My goal is to create a more unified vision for academic programs at the two sites and to facilitate projects that utilize the amazing resources at both,” Beck said.
She earned a Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University and a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science at Pennsylvania State University. As a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow prior to joining UC ANR, Beck studied African lion and domestic cattle interactions, collecting data within Tanzanian national parks and non-protected areas. While working as a research coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from 2014 to 2016, she implemented bat conservation efforts.
John Bailey, Hopland REC director, would like her to meet many members of the ANR community. “I'm hoping that the introduction will lead to people contacting her and remembering that our two RECs are great places to work,” he said.
Beck is based at Sierra Foothill REC and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eissa joins Environmental Health and Safety
Essam Eissa joined UC ANR as an environmental health and safety specialist in July.
From 2016 to 2020, Eissa served as an inspector with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He worked from 2001 to 2016 in the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Criminal Investigation as a senior environmental engineer.
In 2002, he received a certification of professional negotiation skills from the California State Department. In 1993, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services recognized Eissa with a Certificate of Achievement for Incident Commander/Scene Manager.
Eissa earned bachelor's degrees in agriculture engineering and environmental/safety engineering from West Los Angeles College. He also earned a bachelor's degree in international law and criminal justice from Solano College. He was designated as a chief environmental engineer by the United Nations in Brindisi, Italy, in 2012.
Eissa is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1364 and email@example.com.
Capitol Corridor small farms team expands
Margaret Lloyd, UCCE Capitol Corridor advisor, has expanded her small farms team to include Hmong, Mien and Spanish-speaking community educators.
Pang Kue took trainings from The Interpreter Advantage and Bridging the Gap (UC Davis) and is certified as a Superior Hmong Speaker. She has been a Hmong linguist for over 10 years, providing professional language services for clients including UC Davis Medical Center, leading Hmong language study groups, teaching cultural etiquette, and volunteering in her community. Kue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asia Saechao is a queer, nonbinary descendent of Indigenous Khmu and Iu Mien refugees of the Secret War in Laos who settled in Richmond - homeland and ancestral lands of the Huchiun band of Ohlone.
Before joining UC ANR, Saechao worked with an environmental nonprofit to develop culturally relevant environmental education for youth of color in Oregon's greater Portland area. They now work to reimagine tools for Iu Mien and Khmu learning, storytelling and archiving. In addition to serving Mien and Hmong farmers with UC ANR, Saechao serves as senior program coordinator for Iu Mien Community Services. Saechao can be reached at email@example.com.
Fam Fin Lee was a strawberry grower for six years in Elk Grove and got to know Lloyd through farm visits and annual meetings. Her parents, who are lu-Mien, were farmers in Laos and in Thailand.
Born in Laos, Lee moved to the U.S. in 1979. Initially living with her family in an apartment with three Chinese families, Lee learned to speak Cantonese before learning English. Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yurytzy Sanchez grew up on a peach farm and raised goats, sheep, chickens and cattle in the Central Valley. The first-generation college graduate did an internship in Washington D.C. while earning her bachelor's degree in international relations from UC Davis. She also volunteered, then interned at the UC Davis Student Farm. After graduation, Sanchez took a farming position at The Cloverleaf Farm, where she co-owned and managed an eight-acre organic vegetable and stone fruit farm. Sanchez can be reached at email@example.com.
The small farms team is based at the UCCE office in Woodland. To read more about them, visit https://ccsmallfarms.ucanr.edu/About.
ESA recognizes Dara, Sutherland, Perring
Three UC ANR entomologists were recently honored by the Entomological Society of America.
Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, received the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section award for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Entomology.
Andrew Sutherland, UCCE urban integrated pest management advisor for the Bay Area, was honored for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board. He has been actively involved in developing ESA certification programs that are designed to help pest management professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills to advance their careers.
As reported previously, Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, received the ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.
The awards were presented Nov. 2 during ESA's annual meeting in Denver.
Pourreza elected to Club of Bologna
The Club of Bologna is a world task force on agricultural mechanization. The Italy-based club is comprised of 96 members from 28 countries, representing research, industry and international organizations around the world. Pourreza is one of four new members this year and the only full member from California.
“It's a great honor for me to represent U.S. and California in the Club of Bologna,” he said. “Becoming a full member has been my dream since I first joined the club as a temporary member in 2016. I'm eager to get involved with club activities and pursue California's priorities and needs in mechanization and smart farming.”
Pourreza runs the Digital Agriculture Lab at UC Davis, which uses novel sensing and mechanization technology to help California growers get the most out of their crops and resources.
His lab has developed a virtual orchard that can simulate any orchard down to the tree level using aerial sensing data collected with drones. It allows growers to examine their crops in virtual reality and run experiments to determine how much sunlight each plant is getting, as well as how to optimize resources. This prevents overuse of resources that can waste water and have detrimental long-term effects on the plants.
His team has also developed a mechanical spray backstop to catch spray pesticide particles that would otherwise be released into the air when being applied to trees.
Noah Pflueger-Peters' full story is at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/alireza-pourreza-elected-club-bologna.
Meng and CalFresh team win innovation award
Yu Meng, UCCE youth family and community advisor, and the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC team in Imperial County were honored by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences West Region with the Innovative Youth Development Program Award for Team Project.
Their “Engaging Underserved Youth in Nutrition Education and Community Development through Youth-led Participatory Action Research Program” was designed to engage youth to address nutrition, healthy behaviors, and other public health issues based on social justice principles.
With their guidance, students conducted video interviews capturing classmates' comments about cafeteria food and preferred snacks. Based on what they learned, the students recruited new members to deliver gardening and cooking lessons as well as advocate for a farm-to-school program and more garden space to benefit the whole school.
At another school, students audited food waste in their cafeteria. To reduce food waste, the students asked administrators to create a “Share Table” where students can leave unopened and untouched food for other students to pick up and eat. Meng anticipates the change will benefit more than 400 low-income youth at the school.
They partnered with Career Technical Education teachers, which boosted youth participation from dozens to hundreds. The collaboration has led to youths creating physical activity videos and developing a survey to find out how active their peers have been during the pandemic.
During the past three years, the Imperial County team worked with three school districts and 300 youth, indirectly benefiting 7,100 students through policy and environmental changes that schools made. Pre- and post-program surveys show that students reported their willingness to suggest solutions or recommendations for making their school/community a healthier place rose from 29% to 93%.
Koundinya honored for evaluation training
Vikram Koundinya, UCCE evaluation specialist at UC Davis, received the American Evaluation Association's Excellence in Extension Evaluation Training Award.
The award recognizes his efforts in conducting extension evaluation training of outstanding quality for UC Cooperative Extension professionals. His extension evaluation-capacity building program includes statewide trainings, trainings to specific project teams of extension advisors, and one-on-one consultations with extension advisors, UCCE specialists, academic staff and students.
The award was presented to Koundinya Nov. 9 during the association's 35th annual conference, which was held virtually.
Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.
To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.
Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.
“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said.
“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”
The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.
“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.
The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.”
The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at https://joe.org/joe/2020october/a2.php.
“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.
In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.”
UCCE advisors, UCCE specialists and academics coordinators are invited to attend a training workshop on conducting a needs assessment.
Vikram Koundinya, UCCE evaluation specialist in the Department of Human Ecology (Community and Regional Development) at UC Davis; Chris Greer, IPM area advisor in UCCE San Luis Obispo County; and Katherine Webb-Martinez, associate director of UC ANR Program Planning and Evaluation are hosting training workshops in two locations – Davis and Parlier.
Friday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UC ANR Building, 2801 Second Street, Davis
Featuring roundtable discussion sharing UCCE examples with
- Betsy Karle, area dairy advisor & county director, Glenn County
- Susie Kocher, forestry/natural resources advisor, Central Sierra and El Dorado counties
- Steven Worker, 4-H youth development advisor, Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties
Friday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 9240 South Riverbend Ave., Parlier
Featuring roundtable discussion sharing UCCE examples with
- Ramiro Lobo, small farms and agricultural economics advisor, San Diego County
- Fadzayi Mashiri, livestock and natural resources advisor, Mariposa and Merced counties
- Deepa Srivastava, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, Tulare and Kings counties
The interactive training will help answer questions such as: What exactly is expected for a needs assessment? What is the benefit? When should I do this? How often should I do this? How do I use the information to design my program?
It will include basic, practical how-to steps, approaches, methods and how to write clear and concise questions.
Participants will engage in a roundtable discussion with UCCE advisors, who will share their needs assessment experiences and lessons learned.
Participants will gain...
- understanding of position description needs-assessment expectation
- understanding of the what, how, when of needs assessments
- understanding of and practice writing good questions
- awareness of UC ANR needs assessment examples and resources
- a draft needs assessment plan
For more information, contact Katherine Webb-Martinez, Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 987-0029.
On June 22, Governor Jerry Brown signed the state budget for fiscal year 2018-19, which contains a new line item for UC ANR within the UCOP budget. UC ANR will have the same amount of funding from the state for the upcoming year as we had this year. While we appreciate that ANR did not suffer additional cuts, we still need to deal with unfunded obligations of $4 million to $5 million. This results from the UC system getting an increase of 3 percent in the coming fiscal year, which will cause increases in salaries and benefits.
We are managing this $4 million to $5 million in unfunded obligations in three ways:
- We are slowing down hiring of UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) advisors & specialists throughout the state.
- Statewide programs are developing additional cuts to already reduced budgets.
- UC ANR Research and Extension Centers (RECs) are reducing the subsidy that has been provided for research projects at the RECs.
Our priority during this process is to keep UCCE advisors in the field and minimize harm to program delivery. We are fortunate that recent work on administrative efficiencies has provided some savings that we can utilize for our programs and UCCE mission.
Fulford joins UCCE as soil quality advisor
Anthony Fulford joined UCCE on June 18 as an area nutrient management/soil quality advisor in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, he studied on soil health testing and nutrient management practices for corn, soybeans, and wheat grown in Ohio as a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. Fulford studied soil fertility of rice cropping systems at the University of Arkansas where he evaluated nitrogen soil testing, nitrogen use efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions in the mid-South. His research has been focused on identifying rapid and affordable soil health measurements to better predict organic nitrogen supply to plants. He has worked closely with growers and extension educators to conduct research on nutrient management and soil health and has led demonstrations and discussions at soil health workshops.
Fulford received a Ph.D. in soil fertility from University of Arkansas, a M.S. in soil science from Southern Illinois University, and a B.S. in forestry from Colorado State University.
Fulford is based in Modesto and can be reached at (209) 525-6800 and email@example.com.
Megaro named interim director of Strategic Communications
Anne Megaro has been appointed to serve as interim director of Strategic Communications in addition to her current role as director of government and community relations. She will assume this role until the Strategic Communications position is filled.
During the transition, Liz Sizensky and Pam Kan-Rice will share project management responsibilities and Cynthia Kintigh will oversee content migration to the new website design. For assistance with publicizing the impact of your work, you are welcome, as always, to contact Jeannette Warnert, Ricardo Vela or Kan-Rice directly.
Megaro can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Strategic Communications staff contact information is listed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Administration/Associate_Vice_President_for_Academic_Programs_and_Strategic_Initiatives/csit/staff.
Gerry and Haviland honored by ESA
Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist and UC Riverside Professor of Veterinary Entomology, and David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Kern County, recently received awards from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
Gerry, who created a website https://www.veterinaryentomology.org to help producers identify pests and search lists of pesticides registered for veterinary pests, received the 2018 Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Award.
One person nominating Gerry wrote, “From the beginning of his career, Alec has demonstrated a consistent ability to balance scholarly investigations with providing solutions to practical pest management problems. These two spheres of endeavors have infused each other, resulting in a prodigious contribution to our knowledge of pests of livestock and poultry and the diseases they carry to humans and animals.”
Another wrote, “Alec has heavily influenced our Pacific region through his many collaborations with UC extension personnel (specialists and farm advisors in animal agriculture at the county level or up at UC Davis) and his research projects and meaningful interaction with vector control districts.”
Haviland, who delivers presentations in Spanish as well as English, received the 2018 Excellence in Extension award.
One nomination letter said, “Haviland uses his research outputs to drive his prodigious extension program. This includes 430 presentations, primarily to farmer and pest control advisor audiences, to total attendances of over 32,000 people.”
Another wrote, “In our opinion, Mr. Haviland has proven to be more intuitive, approachable, and accessible to the local agricultural industry than most. His presentations to growers and PCAs on the issues and outcome of his research have always been timely and on target and he continues to provide valuable information for our newsletters and other industry periodicals. We have experienced evidence of his hard work in getting all important findings, whether from his work or his peers, delivered to growers and PCA's quickly so that the information can be put to use. He has always been open to our pest management concerns, very creative in developing management strategies, available to answer questions, and provides leadership and outreach for new information and research findings.”
Other UC colleagues also received awards from ESA's Pacific Branch:
- Award for Excellence in Teaching- William Walton, UC Riverside
- Distinction in Student Mentoring- Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis
- Student Leadership Award- Jessica Gillung, UC Davis
The awards were presented June 12 at the Pacific Branch Entomological Society of America meeting in Reno.
Zalom named new editor-in-chief of journal
Frank G. Zalom, distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, will be the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology, the largest of the Entomological Society of America's family of scientific journals.
“Dr. Frank Zalom's career can be viewed as a model of applied entomology derived from an understanding of basic biology, and he is an ideal choice to be the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology," said ESA President Michael Parrella. "His unparalleled and broad expertise will serve to continue the journal's growth as the publication of choice for applied entomological research and to build upon the legacy of Dr. John Trumble [professor of entomology at UC Riverside]."
Zalom brings the experience of a 40-year career at the intersection of entomological research, teaching, and application. He served for 16 years as director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program and is the only entomologist in the UC system to ever receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. His primary research focus has been on integrated pest management of agricultural crops.
"My colleagues and I on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Economic Entomology are delighted to welcome Dr. Frank Zalom as the journal's next editor-in-chief. We could not have asked for a better candidate in terms of vision, dedication, reputation, experience, and integrity," says Xuguo Zhou, associate professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky and chair of the Journal of Economic Entomology Editorial Board
"And we also express our deep gratitude to Dr. John Trumble, whose tireless work ethic and unerring leadership have driven JEE to such great success for so long," said Zhou.
Zalom will take on a five-year term as editor-in-chief.