Summer 2019 Newsletter

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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It’s been an exciting year at IFAL. We’re pleased to share our activities with you. You can keep up with our activities throughout the year on our new website—visit us at and follow us on Twitter @FoodAgLiteracy. We welcome feedback.

This year has seen some big changes for us. Shannon Albers departed IFAL to become a Social Media Contributor for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). Hanna Bartram joined IFAL in January 2019 as the new Program, Educational, and Outreach Coordinator. She serves as the facilitator of IFAL’s graduate student group Science Says and is excited to support and grow the group in conjunction with the student leaders. Additionally, she organizes science literacy and communication events, social media outreach, grant writing, building collaborations with other organizations focused on science literacy, and serves as a liaison between the campus and community.

Jacklyn Woods joined IFAL at the end of July as the first science communication intern for IFAL/Science Says. She is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering department in Kent Leach’s lab. Her research focuses on using adult stem cells to regenerate bone after trauma. Jackie believes science should be accessible and interesting to everyone, so she blogs to help bridge the gap between the general public and scientific research. You can read more about easily attainable science in the Science Says blogs.

IFAL director Pam Ronald was honored to be elected to the National Academy of Science and was chosen for the American Society of Plant Biologists Leadership in Science Public Service Award, reflecting IFAL’s growing recognition.

We are excited to highlight some of our activities from the 2018-2019 academic year in the following pages, as well as preview some events coming up next year.


Pamela Ronald – Director, IFAL

Hanna Bartram – Program, Educational, and Outreach Coordinator, IFAL

[A PDF copy of this newsletter can be found here]

Innovator Summit

The theme of the 2019 Innovator Summit was “Transformation of the Food System”. This event was hosted at UC Davis by the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, IFAL’s sister organization. IFAL co-hosted the Summit, and organized sessions on “Communicating About Food”. We were pleased that several board members were able to speak or attend.

Day 1, IFAL featured speakers focusing on Global Crop Biotechnology:

speakersDavid Zilberman, Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley *IFAL Board Member

Sarah Davidson-Evanega, Director, Alliance for Science, Cornell University *IFAL Board Member

Nassib Mugwanya, Outreach Officer, Uganda Biosciences Information Center (UBIC) at the National Crops Resources Research Institute


Day 2, IFAL featured speakers focusing on Food Policy and Ethics:

speakersRobert Paarlberg, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University *IFAL Board Member

Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist, UC Davis

Anne Barnhill, Associate Faculty; Research Scholar, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University *IFAL Board Member


This event featured an evening reception on May 20th, followed by two days of invigorating keynote presentations, parallel sessions, innovation showcases, and a tour to the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia campus in Napa Valley on May 21st & 22nd. Guests from industry, research, technology, finance, NGO and government organizations attended. You can read more about the 2019 Innovator Summit here.

Science Talk ’19Science Talk

Thanks to funding from IFAL, Science Says member Logan Savidge and IFAL coordinator Hanna Bartram were able to attend Science Talk ’19 in Portland, OR and share some of what they learned through a blog post shared on Science Says’ website. Science Talk ’19 brought together a wide range of science communicators for two engrossing and inspiring days of learning and discussion about the best ways to talk science. The conference featured speakers, panels, presentations, workshops, exhibits, and networking opportunities focused on the theme of community. As such, this conference provided an open and inviting space for an entire community to gather. 

IFAL Outreach

IFAL continues to reach audiences worldwide. A few event highlights showing the diverse audiences that Director Ronald has presented to:

Science Says

Science Says, IFAL’s student/postdoc communication group, continues to provide training and opportunities for students and postdocs to practice science communication. The monthly newsletter goes out to over 80 graduate students and postdocs. Science Says launched a new website this year, as well. Check out the latest events and blogs at

New blogs include:

Other events:

  • Fall BBQ: 15 new and returning members joined us for this welcome kick-off to the fall quarter 2018. Science Says barbecue
  • Science Improv Class: We had a really successful and popular set of workshops with over 25 graduate students attending from across many disciplines of science. Participants learned to hone their messaging about their research through improvisational theater techniques.
  • Andrew GrooverCindy Kiel, and Ahmad Hakim-Elahi discussed the ramifications of the government shutdown on science research at our January meeting.
  • Greg Watry, an accomplished science writer with UC Davis, shared his tips and tricks for success in science writing as a career.
  • UC Davis Picnic Day was held on April 13, 2019 and Science Says students tabled with the theme “Carnival”. They had science trivia, painting with plant-based watercolors, a prize wheel, and face painting.
  • North Bay Science Discovery Day: At our booth, ~300 attendees shared why they love science as they dressed up like scientists for our hands-on activity: extracting DNA from Science Says members at Discovery Daystrawberries. Using household materials, participants were ecstatic as the sticky DNA emerged from the strawberries. Our volunteers also sparked curiosity in visitors by asking about how their favorite animals might be related based on similarities and differences, encouraging questions about evolution and the tree of life. Kids also had the chance to dress up like scientists and take photos.
  • Sacramento Science Distilled, a science café hosted monthly in a pub in Sacramento, regularly draws ~60 community members.

If you are in Davis, we’d love for you to join an event. Here are a few upcoming events to consider:

  • Chalk It Up! Festival in Sacramento: A public art festival on Labor Day weekend in downtown Sacramento. Science Says members will create science-themed art with chalk on a sidewalk square for the thousands of attendees to appreciate (Aug 31st-Sept 2nd)
  • North Bay Science Discovery Day: Science Says will host a booth again with family-friendly activities (October 26th, 10 am–4 pm) 
  • Climate and Agriculture interdisciplinary dialogue in collaboration with the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy (Early December)
  • Cali Rice Fest: Prof. Pamela Ronald and Dr. Oliver Dong will speak at this new regional festival focusing on rice. This is the first year of this highly anticipated event co-sponsored by the City of Davis and UC Davis, and we expect a large turnout. IFAL is assisting with the educational programming. (May 29th-31st)
  • Sac Science Distilled is held at Streets Pub in Sacramento on the third Wednesday of every month. It is free to the public. Bright and engaging local scientists share research stories to inform, entertain, and spark scientific curiosity.
  • Innovator Summit 2020 (Date TBD)
  • Picnic Day (April 18th, 2020)