CAUSES In Action | September 2020
Meet CAUSES Deputy Director
Greetings, UDC Firebirds, CAUSES Nation, and Community Stakeholders! 
I am grateful and honored to serve as the Deputy Director of Land-Grant Programs, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES).
My role as Deputy Director includes assisting the Dean with the administration of research and extension programs and leading vital operational systems and strategies. I have been privileged to be a part of land-grant administration for nearly 15 years.

As the District of Columbia's land-grant institution, our mission is three-fold: education, research, and extension. At UDC CAUSES, we provide rewarding, educational opportunities for DC residents and beyond through our relevant and unique academic programs. In addition to contributing to the current bodies of knowledge through tested research, we conduct studies, investigations, and experiments to resolve issues explicitly affecting our capital city and the nation. Additionally, we extend the results of our research findings, along with other beneficial information, to the community via workshops, demonstrations, free and fee-based courses, and community events. Through our education, research, and extension contributions, we aim to make a meaningful impact that ultimately improves residents' quality of life across the eight wards of the District and beyond.

COVID-19 is a pandemic that has insisted on having its way. Ready or not, it is here! When trouble arises, so does fear, confusion, and uncertainty. As a result, it is a fight or flight response that guides our attitudes, thoughts, and actions. I am grateful to the wise and thought leadership of Dr. Dwane Jones, who serves as Acting Dean and Director of Land-Grant Programs. Dean Jones is relentless in his support of our programs and encourages us to find strategic ways to contribute and move the College forward each day. Equally, I extend gratitude to the University President, Ronald F. Mason, Jr., J.D.; Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Lawrence T. Potter, Jr.; Members of the President's Cabinet; UDC's COVID Planning Team; and our committed faculty, staff, and students. All mentioned have played an essential role in meeting the present call to accommodate existing circumstances.

As we move forward in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, I challenge us all to take time to acknowledge all things positive in our lives, big or small! Learning to appreciate more of the smaller things may reduce things we deem imposing and negative. Use words of gratitude to recognize those who assist you in the smallest of ways. A sincere "thank you" or other kind gestures of appreciation go a long way and make a positive difference in someone's day and life. In times such as these, finding ways to extend a helping hand or kindness to others can bring quiet during the storm.  
         "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." – William James.
My earnest hope for all of us during this fall semester and beyond is that diligence, positivity, safety, and compassion will abide. Be well, my friends!

Most sincerely,

Diane C. Hyman, MBA
Deputy Director of Land-Grant Programs
Tune In: A Day in the Life at CAUSES!
"A cliché that rings true for CAUSES is "It takes a village." Regardless of their level of intelligence, experience, and tenacity, no one can successfully build and maintain a department, team, unit, college, or university, alone. It takes a diverse collection of talent to effectively sustain operations, develop and implement continuous improvement strategies, and, ultimately, thrive, exceeding expectations. With that said, in this edition of our newsletter, we feature those who work diligently and purposefully, behind the scenes, to help ensure proper efficiency and effectiveness in our operations at UDC CAUSES."
 - Diane Hyman

Please take the time to meet our extraordinary operations team in this edition and become familiar with the names and faces that work efficiently,
behind the scenes, to support the University, CAUSES, and our community of stakeholders.
CAUSES URIII Team Awarded $53,000 Grant from USDA Forest Service!
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kamran Zendehdel and the Urban Resilience, Innovation & Infrastructure (URII) team have been awarded a $53,000 grant from the USDA Forest Service to conduct research on oak tree decline in D.C. The study collaborates between the District Department of Transportation's (DDOT) Urban Forestry Division, United States Forest Service (USFS), and UDC, and includes the possibility of repeat funding every three years. The project will explore spatial patterns of white oak health, pathogen and insect pest occurrence, and abiotic factors affecting street tree conditions across the city.

The collaborative project will provide an opportunity to build UDC’s capacity to conduct research more broadly related to urban forestry. The funding will support a Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Urban Sustainability graduate research assistant for two years under faculty and staff mentorship. CAUSES and the USFS will provide this student with relevant technical and development training.
NEW Published Article by CAUSES Distinguished Professor and PhD Program Director, Dr. O'Hara!
Edward Elgar Publishing published a Research Agenda for Critical Political Economy. The chapter: “Reclaiming Local Contexts: Disrupting the Virtual Economy” was contributed by Dr. Sabine O’Hara.

Learn how reclaiming local contexts can disrupt the virtual economy!

Kudos to Dr. Anna Franz for obtaining her professional architect license!
This month, we celebrate Dr. Anna Franz, Assistant Professor of Architecture and City Planning at the Department of Architecture & Urban Sustainability, for achieving her professional architectural licensure in the city of D.C.

For more information regarding this licensure, please contact Dr. Anna Franz at
CAUSES Dr. Phronie Jackson presented at the 2020 CDC STD Prevention Conference!
Join us as we congratulate CAUSES very own Dr. Phronie Jackson, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Health Education/Public Health, for her recent opportunity as a featured presenter for a poster research presentation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2020 STD Prevention Conference.

For more information regarding this event, please contact Dr. Jackson at
Student Spotlight
UDC CAUSES Student Donates Rare Artwork to the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience!
Meet Camille Sarmiento! - A proud and contributing Firebird of UDC! Camille is an undergraduate student of UDC CAUSES, pursuing her studies in urban sustainability. She also serve as the winner of the 2020 Earth Day President Award for the art category.
Recently, she gifted the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience (CSDR) at CAUSES, with her hand-crafted artwork she entered in the 2020 UDC 2020 Earth Day Art Competiton. Camille's art piece is named "United in Plastic We Stand”.

"It is a representation of our future if we don't clean up our act. We are part of a consumerism society that thrives on plastic production. By not properly disposing of our waste, we will have a world covered in plastic. I support urban sustainability and look forward to helping CAUSES build a better future of today!"  - Camille S.

Camille designed and constructed this rare piece from recycled materials. - An amazing technique when creating artwork without harming the ozone layer! Go Firebird!
ATTN: Dr. Phronie Jackson is the NEW appointed Coordinator for CAUSES Health Education Program! 
We are proud to report CAUSES Dr. Phronie Jackson has been appointed as the Health Education Program's NEW Coordinator!

Serving UDC as a Professor since 2017, Dr. Jackson has extensive experience working in Public Health & Health Education. Her scholarly activities include community and public health education, including chronic disease prevention and management, HIV prevention, and program development and implementation.
"As Coordinator of the Health Education Program, I look forward to contributing my expertise to updating the Health Education program to make it relevant to address current community and public health concerns such as Pandemics, Climate Change, Racial and Violence issues. I plan to assure that Health Education students are offered classes and activities that engage and prepare them to positively impact residents in their communities. I am optimistic that opportunities to collaborate with CAUSES' academic programs and land-grant centers, as well as throughout the University, will expose the students to challenging experiential learning, where they can apply their skill and knowledge." - Dr. Jackson

In this role as Coordinator, Dr. Jackson will be instrumental in supporting students with advising and registration in the program and serving as a point of contact to help transition the Health Education Program to reach its highest potential. We are excited that Dr. Jackson has agreed to serve in this capacity to continue improving our Health Education program.
UDC CAUSES Requests for Research Grant Proposals!
The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) embodies the land-grant mission of the University. CAUSES offers research-based academic and community outreach programs that improve people's and communities' quality of life in the District of Columbia and beyond. As the only public land-grant University in the District, UDC serves a highly diverse student and resident population.
We are now accepting multidisciplinary research proposals that use urban agriculture and urban sustainability as a tool to advance at least one of the NIFA and Sustainable DC goals! Submissions focusing on any dimension of urban agriculture, sustainability, and resiliency are welcome, such as architecture, biology and ecology, economics, engineering, health/nutrition, social/community, and technology.

Proposals must be submitted electronically in MS Word format to Matthew Richardson, Assistant Director of Urban Agriculture Research at, by midnight on Friday, October 16, 2020.
Become a Graduate Assistant in Urban Sustainabiltiy Today!
Our Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program in Urban Sustainability is NOW offering graduate assistant positions! For application eligibility, you must have obtained a bachelor's degree in or related to sustainability, urban ecology, land management, or a closely related field, to become the next graduate assistant for the upcoming semester. Apply now before it’s too late!

Compensation: $18,3000 for 12 months (including conditional tuition benefits)

Priority deadline: October 9, 2020, by midnight

For additional information or to apply for the graduate assistantship, please contact Dr. Simon Bird at
DC Master Naturalist Program Site Launch Coming This Fall!
UDC CAUSES plans to launch the newly-improved DC Master Naturalist program's webpage this Fall! Our new online site will serve an excellent resource for up-to-date information and program highlights.

Our specialized program is designed to provide participants a comprehensive overview of urban factors and environmental ecosystems that influence those systems, preparing them for a lifetime of volunteer service to the community.

Join our next cohort and learn from and network with local industry experts on environmental ecosystems to gain further insights on environmental stewardship and education. For more information, please directly contact Dr. Kamran Zendehdel at (202) 274-7161 or at Stay tuned!
CAUSES Fall Research Seminar Episodes 1 & 2 are NOW Available!
In case you've missed it: CAUSES Fall Research Seminar Virtual Series 1 & 2 are NOW available on CAUSES-TV!

Our first series, "Urban Leadership and Cultural Competency: Tools and Mindset for Today's Leaders," was held on Aug. 28, 2020 and led by Edwin Nichols, an international organization development consultant and behavioral expert.

Our second series, "Creating an Urban Commons: Tenant Organizing & Housing Cooperatives in D.C.," was organized on Sept. 11, 2020 and moderated by Amanda Huron, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia.

Save The Date: The trilogy event for our Research Seminar Series will continue on October 13, 2020!
Upcoming Events & Workshops
Coming Soon: 2020 National Capital Region Water Resources Virtual Symposium!
The American Water Resources Association‘s (AWRA) 8th National Capital Region (NCR) Water Resources Virtual Symposium will be held Friday, October 9, 2020. This one-day symposium brings together experts from governmental agencies, academia, the private sector, and non-profits to present and discuss innovations in water research, technology, policy, and management to respect and reflect the value of water in the National Capital Region, as well as nationally and internationally.

The symposium is a great opportunity to meet other water resources professionals across the region!

For information regarding this virtual event, contact Dr. Tolessa Deksissa at
CAUSES Fall Research Series Continues with Dr. Pradeep Behera!
Please join CAUSES for our next Research Seminar "Civil Engineering & Urban Sustainability: A match with untold possibilities" on October 16 at noon EST! Next month's seminar will be led by the great Dr. Pradeep Behera, Chair for the Department of Civil Engineering and Professor for UDC's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

This virtual event will acknowledge and highlight civil engineering's role in society and the built and natural environment as it has evolved over time. We will also discuss urban development and human activities and its impacts on our natural environment, mainly water resources and water resources engineering.

You do not want to miss this live conversation!
Meeting ID: 108-126-359

Passcode: 636941
NEW Webinar Alert: CAUSES Matthew Richardson presents for the USDA Northeast Climate Hub's Conversation Series on 10/26!
Join Dr. Matthew L. Richardson, Assistant Director for Urban Agriculture Research, as he presents at the upcoming USDA live conversation series. This virtual event will cover "Inclusivity in Cooperative Extension Programming, With an Emphasis on Natural Resources and Climate Change." The lecture event is OPEN to all!

In detail, participants will strategically learn how to retrieve feedback from historically underrepresented groups and tailor cooperative extension programs to people of various races, ages, and academic backgrounds.

Tune in on October 26, 2020, at 1 pm EST!
Trending Virtual Learnings
NEW: Certified Professional Food Manager Virtual Course
Are you interested in advancing your expertise and skill set in food saftey management?

This virtual course is designed to teach food safety management principles and how to use those principles to create a food safety culture. Additionally, the course emphasizes and provides information to students about identifying and avoiding harmful food contaminants, proper employee health and hygiene, cleaning and sanitation principles, and safe food handling practices. Class will be in session on 10/5!

Bonus: Participants will have the opportunity to earn a Professional Food Manager certification if they pass the national certification exam with a score of 70% or better.

For additional information about this course, please contact Paul Brown, Jr. at or (202) 841-1902.
Coming Soon: Soup Time Butternut Squash Soup - Basics for Beginners
With food security being such a big topic during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to learn how to make affordable, nutritious meals that can be easily stored.

This hour and a half-long live, virutal cooking class is designed to teach participants how to freshly make butternut squash soup (winter squash) using basic stocks used in cooking. One of the biggest benefits of making your own soup is being able to control the amount of sodium it contains.

Next month, join Chef Herb and learn how to make a delicious, healthy butternut squash soup this Fall that you can share with your loved ones. Better yet, bring someone with you to class so you can learn a new thing or two together! Catch you on 10/20!

For further information, please contact Chef Herb directly at, or 202-573-4844.
ICYMI: Quick Tips to Understanding Nutrition Facts Label Virtual Event
Brush up on your nutriton education with CAUSES!

This one-hour workshop is designed to provide event attendees with information and easy tips on reading and understanding the nutrition facts label. Also, participants of this workshop will know what nutrients and ingredients are required on the label by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Our upcoming virtual session will kick-off on 10/06!

Bonus: Participants will receive a digital certificate of completion within 10 days of completing the course!

For further information, please contact Dr. Johnson-Largent at or 202-274-6708.
Welcome to the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). UDC is the only urban, land-grant university in the nation. CAUSES was formed, in 2010, as the university’s land-grant college.

We engage in applied teaching and research that helps to improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of the District of Columbia and others around the world, through traditional academic degrees, and through non-degree, non-credit bearing, skills-building programs, such as green infrastructure and urban agriculture.

CAUSES is unique in its organizational structure and its mission: an interdisciplinary college, where academic programs, such as architecture, urban sustainability, health education, nutrition and dietetics, and nursing, train a forward-thinking generation of professionals who will ensure that the world has “Healthy Cities–Healthy People.” The college houses the only doctoral-level program in the nation that focuses on urban leadership and entrepreneurship.

Contact us at
Connect with Us!

About the University of the District of Columbia
An HBCU, urban land-grant, and the only public university in the nation's capital, The University of the District of Columbia is committed to a broad mission of education, research and community service. Established by abolitionist Myrtilla Miner in 1851, the University of DC offers Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's Degrees and a host of workplace development services designed to create opportunities for student success. The University is comprised of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Public Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a Community College and the David A. Clarke School of Law. To learn more, visit The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For a full version of the University's EO Policy Statement, please visit: The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education - 3624 Market Street - Philadelphia, PA 19104 - 267.284.5000.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, familial/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, this information is available in languages other than English. To file a complaint alleging discrimination, please complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to US Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. Submit your completed letter or form to USDA via fax: (202) 690-7442; or email: To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
The University of the District of Columbia is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action institution. The University prohibits discrimination or harassment against any person on the basis of the actual or perceived actual race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, marital status, personal appearance, genetic information, familial status, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, place of residence or business, or status as a covered veteran, as provided for and to the extent required by District and Federal statutes and regulations. This policy covers all programs, services policies, and procedures of the University, including admission to educational programs and employment. The University emphasizes the recruitment of minorities, women, disabled individuals, disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, and other eligible veterans.
El Departamento de Agricultura de EE. UU. (USDA) prohíbe la discriminación en todos sus programas y actividades por motivos de raza, color, nacionalidad, religión, sexo, identidad de género (incluida la expresión de género), orientación sexual, discapacidad, edad, estado civil, estado familiar / parental, ingresos derivados de un programa de asistencia pública, creencias políticas, represalias o represalias por actividades previas de derechos civiles. (No todas las bases prohibidas se aplican a todos los programas.) Las personas con discapacidades que requieren medios de comunicación alternativos para obtener información sobre el programa. (por ejemplo, Braille, letra grande, cinta de audio, lenguaje de señas estadounidense, etc.) debe comunicarse con la Agencia responsable o con el TARGET Center de USDA al (202) 720-2600 (voz y TTY) o comunicarse con el USDA a través del Federal Relay Service al (800) 877-8339. Además, esta información está disponible en otros idiomas además del inglés. Para presentar una queja alegando discriminación, por favor complete el Formulario de Queja por Discriminación del Programa del USDA, AD-3027, que se encuentra en línea en, o en cualquier oficina del USDA o escriba una carta dirigida a Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos, Oficina del Subsecretario de Derechos Civiles, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 y proporcionar en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Envíe su carta o formulario completado al USDA por fax: (202) 690-7442; o correo electrónico: Para solicitar una copia del formulario de queja, llame al (866) 632-9992. USDA es un proveedor, empleador y prestamista con igualdad de oportunidades para todos.
La Universidad del Distrito de Columbia es una institución de Acción Afirmativa en Igualdad de Oportunidades. La Universidad prohíbe la discriminación o el acoso contra cualquier persona sobre la base de la raza, color, religión, nacionalidad, sexo, edad, discapacidad, orientación sexual, identidad o expresión de género reales o percibidos, responsabilidades familiares, matrícula, afiliación política, estado marital, apariencia personal, información genética, estado familiar, fuente de ingresos, estado como víctima de una ofensa intrafamiliar, lugar de residencia o negocio, o estado como veterano, según lo dispuesto y en la medida requerida por los estatutos del Distrito y Federal y regulaciones. Esta política cubre todos los programas, políticas de servicios y procedimientos de la Universidad, incluida la admisión a programas educativos y empleo. La Universidad enfatiza el reclutamiento de minorías, mujeres, personas discapacitadas, veteranos discapacitados, veteranos de la era de Vietnam y otros veteranos elegibles.