Centennial Staff Profiles
UCCE Tulare County
Nutrition Program Coordinator (Program Representative II)
Time with ANR
My job is to provide nutrition education and resources and promote healthy lifestyles throughout the Tulare County community. My primary focus is teaching nutrition in the public school setting. I work closely with teachers and principals, providing them with science-based curriculum that is supplemental to their regular classroom material. Additionally, I coordinate collaborative efforts with community organizations such as Food Link Tulare County, the Tulare County Farm Bureau, and the International Agri-Center. On a typical day, I teach nutrition lesions in four or five classrooms, attend a community meeting, and then catch up on emails, write press releases, maintain our social media sites, and possibly teach an after-school lesson. Teaching lessons is always the highlight! I have a strong background in education, so I enjoy making a curriculum come to life. For example, if our lesson is on food safety and hygiene, I will wear a lab coat and bring an oversized magnifying glass to introduce the scientific method, and an experiment with yeast to show how rapidly bacteria multiply. During the summer months our schedules change somewhat. Upon completion of summer school, my fellow nutrition educators and I become very involved with community events. Our most productive effort involves collaboration with Food Link Tulare County, where we provide nutrition education, taste-test samples, and county fruit and vegetable distributions. This collaboration has spilled over into our school year and I am currently enjoying a monthly distribution at one of my school sites. We call this event a “Farmer’s Market for Kids.” It has been a vital part of that school’s community.
Most Memorable Moment
In 2013, I teamed with community partners from the Tulare County Farm Bureau and the International Agri-Center to bring a farm and nutrition day to 1,600 fourth graders from Tulare County schools. While nutrition education and tastings were my primary concentration, we had full participation from the UC ANR team at the office. We had representatives from Master Gardeners, the UC Davis Veterinary program, and farm and dairy advisors. As the majority of our population is made up of generally underserved communities, this field trip provided many firsts for these kids. We had sheep dog demos, sheep shearing, live horse shoeing, dairy cows, seed planting, an introduction to 4-H, and food tastings. Feedback from teachers and students was positive. The most memorable moment of that day was our last nutrition musical performance, when I could see all that had been accomplished from a year of planning!
What I love Most About Working for ANR
What I love most about my job is the direct interaction with children and families. I love seeing the look on their faces when they learn something new. When we shock parents with the quantity of sugar in beverages, their behavior change is almost immediate. Parents love their children and truly want what is best for them. It is awesome to be a part of this transformative process.
As a full-time mom, part-time preschool teacher, and survivor of numerous transfers for my husband’s work, it took me 28 years to achieve my goal of completing my bachelor’s degree. In 2010, BA in Communication in hand, I set out exploring my employment options. I saw an ad for a UC Cooperative Extension Program Representative. The requirements were the ability to speak Spanish and teach youth. Voila—a perfect fit!