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Dr. John Diaz
President
Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist
Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
john.diaz@ufl.edu

Andrea Albertin
Regional Specialized Agent
Northwest District
albertin@ufl.edu

Jonael Bosques-Menendez
County Extension Director and Agricultural Agent
Hardee County
jonael@ufl.edu 

Vanessa Campoverde
Extension Agent
Miami-Dade County
evcampoverde@ufl.edu

Eva Pabon
Extension Agent
Osceola County
epabon5@ufl.edu

Karla Shelnutt
Associate Professor
Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences
kpagan@ufl.edu 

Cecilia Suarez
Assistant Professor
Agricultural Education and Communication
suarez@ufl.edu 

Laura Valencia
Extension Agent
Osceola County
lauraval@ufl.edu

Donations

Armando Ubeda
Extension Agent
Sarasota County
aubeda@ufl.edu

CAFE Latino Membership

CAFE Latino is comprised of agricultural and natural resources specialists with diverse backgrounds and concentrations. Along with general membership (which is open to all UF/IFAS faculty and staff), CAFE Latino also features an executive committee and program area team leads.

Executive Committee

  • John Diaz

    Diaz-John

    John Diaz
    President

    Dr. John Diaz is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (AEC) at the University of Florida. He focuses on program evaluation, behavior change, social marketing and local resilience. Diaz has responsibilities in research, extension and teaching.

    Diaz’s extension program supports the mission of the University of Florida by developing strategies for creating and measuring impacts of Extension programs through program planning and evaluation. He focuses on enhancing the program development and evaluation competencies of extension and outreach professionals across a breadth of program areas.

    Dr. Diaz also provides key leadership for IFAS in his role as president of the Coalition of Florida Extension Educators for Latino Communities (CAFE Latino). Diaz led the development of this new organization that now provides key services of IFAS Extension to its educators have the capacity and competency to serve the needs of Florida’s multicultural audiences. This include training (cultural competency, culturally responsive teaching and facilitating civil discourse), translation services, bilingual educational material development and general inquiries.

  • Andrea Albertin

    Albertin-Andrea

    Andrea Albertin
    Executive Committee Member and Program Team Lead

    Andrea Albertin is the Water Resources Regional Specialized Agent for the NW Extension District. She is based at the NFREC in Quincy, FL and has held this position since 2016. Her major extension programs include septic systems education, private well systems and drinking water quality, and agricultural best management practices. Prior to working at UF, she worked extensively in Costa Rica in natural resources management. Andrea attained her MS in Agroforestry from the University of Florida in 2001 and her PhD in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida in 2009.

  • Jonael Bosques-Mendez

    Bosques-Menendez-Jonael

    Jonael Bosques-Menendez
    Executive Committee Member and Program Team Lead

    Jonael Bosques is the Hardee County Agriculture Agent and County Extension Director for UF/IFAS Extension. He is also serves as an association director with the Hardee County Cattlemen’s Association. He holds Bachelors degree in Animal Science and a Masters degree in molecular genetics of beef cattle and enjoys educating clients in livestock production and advocating citizens in agricultural topics and what it really takes to grow our food and fiber. His program area expertise includes livestock production, soil science, plant science, hydroponic production, gardening, agribusiness development, beekeeping, small farm production and poultry production.

  • Laura Valencia

    Valencia-Laura

    Laura Valencia
    Executive Committee Member

    Laura E. Valencia has served as the 4-H Youth Development Agent in Lake/Osceola County Extension since 2012. Ms. Valencia specializes in developing and implementing new, innovative cultural programming for youth of diverse audiences to increase their participation in the 4-H Youth Development Program. She is recognized for her work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. For the past eight years, she has been involved on DEI initiatives at the national, regional, state and university level. Some of the organizations she has been involved with include: National Diversity Council, NAE4-HYDP Diversity Committee (Chair), and a member of the National 4-H Latino Advisory Council from 2014-2019. At the Regional level, as the Youth Development chair of SERA-37: Latinos in the New South. At the State level, Ms. Valencia is a member of CAFÉ Latino, FAE4-HA Diversity Committee and 4-H Diversity/Grow/Quality Action Team.  She is been part of the UF/IFAS Diversity & Inclusion Committee since its beginning on 2019. On 2017, she was the recipient of the University of Florida Diversity and Inclusion Superior Accomplishment Award recipient.

    Qualified Trainer of: Navigating Difference; Coming Together for Racial Understanding; Everyday Democracy; Intercultural Development Inventory, LLC

  • Cecilia Suarez

    Suarez-Cecilia

    Cecilia Suarez
    Executive Committee Member

    Dr. Cecilia “CC” Suarez is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (AEC) focusing on intercultural communication and global leadership. She also serves as a faculty affiliate of the Center for Latin American Studies, the Education Policy Research Center, and is the Faculty in Residence for Hispanic Latino Affairs within Multicultural and Diversity Affairs at UF. Suarez serves as the inaugural faculty president of the Latinx Staff and Faculty Association (LSFA) at UF and is on the executive board for Café Latino, a coalition within IFAS focused on serving the needs of the Latinx population in Florida.  

    Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Suarez completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami in Florida, studying biology. She then earned her master’s degree in education from the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Suarez obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she studied education policy and social and cultural foundations of education. 

  • Karla Shellnut

    Shelnutt-Karla

    Karla Shelnutt
    Executive Committee Member

    Dr. Shelnutt is an Associate Professor, Extension Nutrition Specialist, and Registered Dietitian in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. She also serves as the State Program Leader for Nutrition for UF/IFAS Extension. She received her BS and PhD in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida. She obtained her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    Since starting her current position, Dr. Shelnutt has provided statewide leadership for her Extension program that addresses obesity prevention and healthy lifestyles through the lifecycle with a focus on low-income families. She serves as the Principal Investigator of the Family Nutrition Program (Florida’s SNAP-Education Program) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which teach low-resource families to make better food and physical activity choices. Dr. Shelnutt has developed curricula and Extension publications based on the most updated dietary guidance that are widely used throughout the state as part of her program.

    Dr. Shelnutt’s research focuses on addressing food insecurity, developing evaluation tools to assess the healthfulness of low-income neighborhoods, and assessing the impact of nutrition curriculum on health behaviors. She is currently the PI of a Walmart Foundation grant to evaluate the impact of meal kits on the health behaviors of families with low income and co-PI of a USDA NIFA AFRI grant that teaches, enables, and motivates parents to shape their home environments and weight-related lifestyle behavioral practices (diet, physical activity, sleep) to create and support optimal child growth and family health and reduce the risk of childhood obesity.

  • Armando Ubeda

    Ubeda-Armondo

    Armando Ubeda
    Executive Committee Member

    Armando J. Ubeda is the Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent of UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. His Extension program focuses on the FL Master Naturalist Program, Living Shorelines, Artificial Reefs, Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Resource Conservation, Marine Debris prevention, and Water Quality/Quantity. He brings his experience and training to these courses from his time as a coral reef researcher in Nicaragua, from his time as staff biologists at the Department of Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in the USA, and from his former position as a Mesoamerican Program Manager for a conservation organization called LightHawk. Armando received his bachelor’s degree in marine sciences with a minor in chemistry from the University of Mobile’s Latin American campus and his master’s degree in marine resource management from Oregon State University. Ubeda has also completed postgraduate courses in marine ecology, crocodile ecology, and environmental impact assessment. Armando received a Fulbright scholarship as well as several other competitive scholarships such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Mamie Markham Research Award from Oregon State University, and the Duke University Marine Laboratory Scholarship.

  • Eva Pabon

    Pabon-Eva

    Eva Pabon
    Executive Committee Member

    Eva Maria is the UF/IFAS Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardeners Coordinator in Osceola County. She has been working with UF/IFAS Extension for over 13 years. During her time in Extension she has worked in school gardens, community gardens and the Plant Clinic; helping identifying plant problems in the landscaping. Working and teaching about Horticulture to kids is one of her favorite things to do. She has been drawn to foliage since she was a young girl.

    Eva Maria worked at Disney Horticulture for three years as a gardener. During her time there she was involved with the International Garden & Flower Festival and was part of the Kids Gardening Dream Team.

  • Vanessa Campoverde

    Campoverde-Vanessa

    Vanessa Campoverde
    Executive Committee Member

    Vanessa Campoverde is an UF/IFAS Commercial AG/Ornamentals Extension Educator. She has expertise in Agriculture, Horticulture, IPM, BMPs, work safety, Hispanic training, nursery production, ornamental crops.

    Campoverde has 18 years’ experience in research and training green industry professionals. Working in south Florida since 2011. She began her career working at The International Potato Center in Peru.  After graduating from her Master’s in Plant Pathology from the UF, she worked as a plant research scientist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL.

    Campoverde has gained invaluable experience in leadership and agricultural projects involving research, teaching and Extension appointments in collaboration with research institutions, society organizations, academia and private industry. Interacting with local, national and international audiences. Vanessa is recipient of the UF/IFAS Award for Excellence in Internationalizing Extension, Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents Young Professional Award, National Association of County AG Agents Achievement Award among other recognitions.

Program Area Team Leads

  • Agriculture

    Bosques-Menendez-Jonael

    Jonael Bosques-Menendez
    Executive Committee Member and Program Team Lead

    Jonael Bosques is the Hardee County Agriculture Agent and County Extension Director for UF/IFAS Extension. He is also serves as an association director with the Hardee County Cattlemen’s Association. He holds Bachelors degree in Animal Science and a Masters degree in molecular genetics of beef cattle and enjoys educating clients in livestock production and advocating citizens in agricultural topics and what it really takes to grow our food and fiber. His program area expertise includes livestock production, soil science, plant science, hydroponic production, gardening, agribusiness development, beekeeping, small farm production and poultry production.


    Francisco Rivera
    Program Team Lead

    Francisco P. Rivera has a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences and two Master's degrees, in the areas of Agricultural Sciences with a specialty in Animal Nutrition and Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. 

    Francisco is a faculty member at the University of Florida and manages the Small Farms and Alternate Enterprises Program in UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County. In which it provides science-based education to assist farmers and communities in developing sustainable agriculture practices for animal and vegetable production. 

    Francisco is a trainer in the areas of Food Safety Management, and Worker Protection Standards of protection for agricultural employees, and has collaborated with multiple government and non-profit entities as a consultant and members of boards of directors. 

  • Family and Consumer Sciences

    Rodriuguez-Jenny

    Jenny Rodriguez
    Program Team Lead

    Jenny Rodriguez serves as a Family Consumer Sciences Agent in Orange County, Florida.  Prior to Extension she was a Senior Level Paralegal and Closing Agent where she dealt with Mortgage Fraud and complicated Mortgage Lending policies and procedures.  She delivers programs in English and Spanish with a focus on Housing, Financial Literacy and Energy Efficiency.


    Zabala-Virgilia

    Virgilia Zabala
    Program Team Lead

    Virgilia Zabala is a Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Orange County. She is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Business Administration. Her experience in community nutrition includes counseling low-income, high-risk participants from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and delivering nutrition education to SNAP-eligible audiences in schools. Her current role focuses on health promotion and chronic disease prevention, food safety, and health-focused youth-enrichment lessons. Virgilia is a bilingual (English/Spanish) member of our team who has worked to transcreate materials that help broaden the reach of Extension programming throughout the state of Florida. 

  • Horticulture

    Yasalonis-Anne

    Anne Yasalonis
    Program Team Lead

    Ms. Yasalonis is the Residential Horticulture Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for UF/IFAS Polk County. She has her B.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech University and her M.S. in Agronomy from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her county program focuses on providing research-based education to Polk County residents on topics of Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) and best management practices for the home lawn and landscape.  Programming is offered through monthly newsletters, workshops, webinars, and social media sites.  In addition, 100 Master Gardener volunteers and an FFL Program Coordinator assist with the program goals.


    Campoverde-Vanessa

    Vanessa Campoverde
    Executive Committee Member

    Vanessa Campoverde is an UF/IFAS Commercial AG/Ornamentals Extension Educator. She has expertise in Agriculture, Horticulture, IPM, BMPs, work safety, Hispanic training, nursery production, ornamental crops.

    Campoverde has 18 years’ experience in research and training green industry professionals. Working in south Florida since 2011. She began her career working at The International Potato Center in Peru.  After graduating from her Master’s in Plant Pathology from the UF, she worked as a plant research scientist at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, FL.

    Campoverde has gained invaluable experience in leadership and agricultural projects involving research, teaching and Extension appointments in collaboration with research institutions, society organizations, academia and private industry. Interacting with local, national and international audiences. Vanessa is recipient of the UF/IFAS Award for Excellence in Internationalizing Extension, Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents Young Professional Award, National Association of County AG Agents Achievement Award among other recognitions.


    Mayer-Henry

    Henry Mayer
    Program Team Lead

    Henry Mayer is the Commercial Urban Horticulture Extension Agent IV in Miami-Dade County since 2003. He received his BS in Agricultural Engineering in 1982 from the Venezuelan Central University (UCV). In 2010 he received his MS degree at the University of Florida Soil and Water Science Department. He is a certified arborist and a former member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Hispanic Committee. He is a board member of the Landscape Inspectors Association of Florida (LIAF), and a former board member of the Florida Urban Forestry Council (FUFC). He has conducted numerous workshops for the commercial landscape industry on tree maintenance, green industry best management practices, tree pruning, plant installation and selection, Florida grades and standards and related subjects. 

  • Sea Grant/Natural Resources

    Albertin-Andrea

    Andrea Albertin
    Executive Committee Member and Program Team Lead

    Andrea Albertin is the Water Resources Regional Specialized Agent for the NW Extension District. She is based at the NFREC in Quincy, FL and has held this position since 2016. Her major extension programs include septic systems education, private well systems and drinking water quality, and agricultural best management practices. Prior to working at UF, she worked extensively in Costa Rica in natural resources management. Andrea attained her MS in Agroforestry from the University of Florida in 2001 and her PhD in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida in 2009.


    Blanco-Victor

    Victor Blanco
    Program Team Lead

    Victor is the UF-IFAS/Sea Grant Taylor County Marine Extension Agent. Country of Origin: Venezuela. Bachelor Degree in Marine Biology (Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela. 1999). Master on Economic Impacts of Globalization (Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, Spain. 2002). Specialization on Environmental Conflicts Analysis and Resolution (George Mason University. USA. 2003). Diploma on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol (Universidad Nacional del Centro. Peru. 2010). Graduate student Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (University of Florida, USA. Current). Previous experience includes: Private Environmental Consulting (+15 years) in Venezuela, Latin-America and the Caribbean. Local, State and National Government level positions as assessor and manager in Fisheries and Environmental issues.  United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UNESCO staff and consultant. Some awards include: Scout the Bolivar (Eagle Scout equivalent) from Venezuela’ Boys Scouts Association. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab Award Winner 2014 (waste management). National and Florida Association of Extension Professionals (ANREP-FANREP) Award winner 2017 to 2020. Fluent in Speak Spanish (mother tongue), English and Portuguese.

    Since 2016  Victor has been the Taylor County Marine Extension Agent. His programmatic areas include coastal and marine ecosystems literacy (seagrasses and artificial reefs), fisheries resources conservation (scallops, recreational and commercial fisheries), Citizen science (horseshoe crab and water quality), and 4-H and youth development.


    Ubeda-Armondo

    Armando Ubeda
    Executive Committee Member

    Armando J. Ubeda is the Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent of UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. His Extension program focuses on the FL Master Naturalist Program, Living Shorelines, Artificial Reefs, Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Resource Conservation, Marine Debris prevention, and Water Quality/Quantity. He brings his experience and training to these courses from his time as a coral reef researcher in Nicaragua, from his time as staff biologists at the Department of Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in the USA, and from his former position as a Mesoamerican Program Manager for a conservation organization called LightHawk. Armando received his bachelor’s degree in marine sciences with a minor in chemistry from the University of Mobile’s Latin American campus and his master’s degree in marine resource management from Oregon State University. Ubeda has also completed postgraduate courses in marine ecology, crocodile ecology, and environmental impact assessment. Armando received a Fulbright scholarship as well as several other competitive scholarships such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Mamie Markham Research Award from Oregon State University, and the Duke University Marine Laboratory Scholarship.

General Membership

  • List of Current CAFE Latino Members

    First Name

    Last Name

    Region

    UF/IFAS Focus Area

    Armando

    Ubeda

    Sarasota

    SEA Grant

    John

    Diaz

    GCREC

    Evaluation Specialist

    Cesar

    Asuaje

    Palm Beach County

    Agriculture

    Alex

    Bolques

    FAMU

    Horticulture

    Henry

    Mayer

    Miami Dade

    Commerical Urban Horticulture

    Vanessa

    Campoverde

    Miami Dade

    Commercial Hort

    Victor

    Blanco

    Taylor

    SEA Grant

    Ana

    Zangroniz

    Miami Dade

    SEA Grant

    Andrea

    Albertin

    NW District

    Water RSA

    Laura

    Valencia

    Osceola

    4-H

    Eva

    Pabón

    Osceola

    Horticulture

    Johanna

    Ramirez

    Osceola

    FCS-Finance

    Ada

    Medina

    Palm Beach

    FCS

    Jonael

    Bosques

    Hardee

    Agriculture/Livestock

    Francisco

    Rivera

    Hillsborough

    Small Farms

    Karla

    Shellnut

    Family Nutrition

    FNP

    Diana

    Giraldo

    Family Nutrition

    FNP

    Lorna

    Bravo

    Broward

    Urban Horticulture

    Francisco

    Peñagaricano

    Animal Science

    Genomics

    Nicolas

    DiLorenzo

    Animal Science

    Nutrition

    Nelly

    Nelson

    Manatee

    Finance (FCS)

    Tatiana

    Sanchez

    Alachua

    Commercial Hort

    Vanessa

    Spero

    South District

    4-H

    Danielle

    DeVries Navarro

    Palm Beach

    EFNEP

    Jenny

    Rodriguez

    Orange

    FCS

    Carol

    Alberts

    St. Lucie

    FCS

    Virgilia

    Zabala

    Orange

    FCS

    Kristina

    McIntyre

    Seminole

    FFL

    Cecilia

    Suarez

    AEC

    Intercultural communication

    Kate

    Fogerty

    FYCS

    4H

    Jose

    Zayas

    Hardee

    4-H

    Marina

    Ascunce

    Emerging Pathogen Institute

    Plant Pathology

    Marcello

    Wallau

    Agronomy Department

    Forage Specialist

    Diana

    Hagan

    IFAS Communications

    EDIS

    Chris

    Kerr

    Duval

    Horticulture

    German

    Sandoya Miranda

    Everglades REC

    Plant breeding and genetics

    Fernando

    Alferez

    SWFREC

    Citrus Horticulture

    Cesar

    Peralta

    Lee County

    FFL/GI-BMPS

    Madeline

    Rosa

    Orange County

    FNP

    Tim

    Wilson

    St Johns County

    Agriculture/Livestock

    Ronald

    Rice

    Palm Beach County

    CED/Ag

    Kevin

    Athearn

    North Florida Reearch and Education Center

    RSA: RURAL AND AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

    Liza

    Garcia-Jimenez

    North Florida Reearch and Education Center

    Ag Research Coordinator

    Lourdes

    Rodriguez

    SE District

    PR Specialist

    Daniel

    Gonzalez

    Palm Beach County

    4-H

    Maria

    Morrerra

    AEC

    Farmworker Health and Safety

    Angelita

    Ortiz

    Manatee County

    4-H

    Tatiana

    Borisova

    Food and Resource Economics

    Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Water Economics and Policy

    LuAnn

    Duncan

    Sumter County

    FCS Food Systems

    Nicole

    Walker

    Polk County

    CED, 4-H and Community Development

    Anne

    Yasalonis

    Polk County

    Residential horticulture

    Jessica

    Sprain

    Osceola County

    4-H

    Morgan

    Pinkerton

    Seminole County

    Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

    Katherine

    Marin

    Miami-Dade County

    Community Resource Development

    Norma

    Samuel

    Sumter County

    Horticulture