Posts Tagged: Barbara Allen-Diaz
“I am incredibly honored to receive this special award,” said Allen-Diaz, who was visibly surprised and moved by Gilless's announcement.
The Berkeley Citation recognizes academic achievement and University service of the highest order. In addition to her contributions as a researcher, graduate student mentor and professor of range science, Allen-Diaz has served in many leadership roles for UC Berkeley and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).
“Her leadership as chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, as Executive Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources, and finally as the Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources has produced a legacy of accomplishments that few academics can match,” Gilless said. “The college would not have its remarkable Geospatial Innovation Facility without her foresight and willingness to make the necessary investment. ANR would not have the strategic plan that has guided a resurgent sense of how to implement the University's land grant mission.”
Allen-Diaz has served as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. She has authored more than 170 research articles and presentations. In February, she became the first woman to receive the Society for Range Management's highest award, the Frederick G. Renner Award.
After earning her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at UC Berkeley, Allen-Diaz took a job with the U.S. Forest Service. In 1986, she joined the faculty at UC Berkeley faculty, where she studied the effects of livestock grazing on natural resources, oak woodlands and ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada and the effects of climate change on rangeland species and landscapes. At the end of June, she will retire as UC vice president and as Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.
The Berkeley Citation was created in 1968, when the University of California celebrated its 100th birthday, to honor individuals or organizations that had rendered distinguished or extraordinary service to the university.
To read more about Allen-Diaz's career, see the latest issue of California Agriculture journal.
UC ANR has chosen Gavin McNicol and Stella Cousins, both UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidates, to receive UC President's Sustainability Student Fellowships.
“Our search for new ways to reduce UC's and California's carbon footprint is sure to benefit from the creativity and innovative ideas brought by these two exceptional student fellows,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
McNicol, a native of Scotland, is studying how much methane is released from restored wetlands in the Sacramento Delta region. The results of his research will inform the development of future wetland restoration plans, encouraging more effective efforts to minimize emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
The UC Office of the President is providing $7,500 to each of UC's 10 campuses and to the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, earmarked to fund student awards in support of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative and other UC-based sustainability efforts.
An initiative to enhance competitive and sustainable food systems is part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.
The premier award is given annually to SRM members who have sustained accomplishments or contributions to rangeland management during the last ten years.
“Barbara has a record of outstanding research productivity that has affected the understanding and management of California rangelands and has had global impacts,” said Amy Ganguli, assistant professor of range science at New Mexico State University.
“Barbara is also a well-regarded educator who has mentored several graduate students and young professionals who are making significant contributions to rangeland and natural resource management,” said Ganguli, who, along with Fee Busby, Utah State University wildland resources professor, nominated her for the award.
This is not the first time Allen-Diaz has been recognized by her peers for her research on the effects of livestock grazing on natural resources, oak woodlands and ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada. The national society honored her with its Outstanding Achievement Award in 2001, and the following year the California chapter named her Range Manager of the Year.
In 2007, Allen-Diaz was among 2,000 scientists recognized for their work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the IPCC and Vice President Al Gore. Allen-Diaz's contributions focused on the effects of climate change on rangeland species and landscapes. She has authored more than 170 research articles and presentations. She has been an active member of the Society for Range Management, serving on its board of directors and on various government panels.
Allen-Diaz, who has served as UC ANR's vice president since 2011, is also a tenured UC Berkeley faculty member in the College of Natural Resources and currently holds the prestigious Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management. She has been with the University of California since 1986. She earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at UC Berkeley.
Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted in the story that 2013 was the first time in recent years that UC hired more Cooperative Extension faculty than had retired. In December, she approved hiring of another 29 advisors and 16 specialists for the 2015-16 cycle.
"So we turned the corner for the first time in this long downward spiral," she said. "My goal is to continue to rebuild the footprint of Cooperative Extension."
Lee also interviewed UCCE vice provost Chris Greer, who said he expects ANR to end 2015 with a net gain of academics.
"It's not huge leaps and bounds; it's a small gain, but we're hoping as we continue this process of filling these positions, that we'll start gaining some ground," he said.
Rather than automatically refilling vacant positions, Greer said much thought is put into revamping job descriptions or creating new positions to better fit the evolving needs of agricultural business. To help prioritize which positions should be hired first, UC sought public input, receiving more than 900 individual comments last year, including from agricultural organizations.
Jim Sullins, the UCCE director for Tulare County who is planning to retire in mid-2015, said more advisors are covering multiple counties and must travel longer distances to make farm visits, so they are turning to new communications strategies in their work, such as email, social media, and other web technology. But traditional farm calls are still a mainstay service.
Katherine Pope, the new UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor in Yolo County, was also featured in the AgAlert story. She talked about the importance of having enough staff to enable advisors to call on farmers personally. Pope said going out to the farm gives her a fuller picture of what she's dealing with that she can't get over the phone or with photos via email. Sometimes she may notice other issues unrelated to the original problem, or the visit may prompt other questions from the farmer.
"My job is to spread information and knowledge, and doing that in person is absolutely the best way to do that," she said.
November 19, 2014
Pam Kan-Rice, (510) 206-3476, email@example.com
UC students receive fellowships to study food issues
UC Berkeley senior Jacqueline Chang, UC Davis graduate student Samantha Smith and UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Kevi Mace-Hill each have been awarded a $2,500 fellowship.
The fellowships are supported by the UC Global Food Initiative, which UC President Janet Napolitano, together with UC's 10 chancellors, launched in July in an effort to help put UC's campuses, the state and the world on a pathway to sustainably and nutritiously feed itself. The UC Office of the President is providing $7,500 to each UC campus, ANR and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the fellowships, which will be awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students, with funds allotted at each campus's discretion in three $2,500 portions.
Jacqueline Chang, UC Berkeley
Chang will work with Lorrene Ritchie, director of UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute, on a food security research project. The UC Berkeley senior, who is majoring in nutritional science with an interest in food insecurity, will assist in developing and conducting a survey to assess the prevalence of hunger and inadequate access to food among UC students across all 10 campuses. She will write a report and present the survey findings to Napolitano in the spring. Chang, a native of the Southern California community of San Marino, has worked with the Berkeley-based organization Feeding Forward to raise awareness of hunger, food insecurity and food waste.
Samantha Smith, UC Davis
Smith, a public health graduate student at UC Davis, with direction from Connie Schneider, director of UC ANR's statewide Youth, Families and Communities Program, will interview UC scientists about their research and extension efforts in agriculture, food and nutrition statewide and capture their stories to share with the public via blogs and social media. Smith, a native of Pleasanton, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Sonoma State University and is a California Wellness Foundation Fellow.
Mace-Hill will lead a group of graduate students that organizes seminars and workshops for students interested in careers in Cooperative Extension. Their goal is to improve graduate student preparedness for extension, outreach and applied research. Her fellowship will support the UC Berkeley graduate student-led Cooperative Extension Showcase.
The annual event brings UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists who conduct research and extension in nutrition, youth development, agriculture and natural resources to the Berkeley campus to discuss their work and network with graduate students. At the showcase in the spring, students will have an opportunity to meet potential mentors. Mace-Hill, a native of LaVeta, Colo., earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in biology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in biological pest control at UC Berkeley.
Through its Global Food Initiative, UC is building on existing efforts and creating new collaborations among its 10 campuses, affiliated national laboratories and ANR to improve food security, health and sustainability.