CFANS Alumni Society: Board of Directors


CFANS Alumni Board Treasurer David Pascoe.

David Pascoe, President

2008, PhD Nutrition

David is currently employed as a nutritionist at RPMG Inc. Since graduation, he has stayed highly involved with the University and has contributed to various college programs and events. He has served as a mentor in the CFANS Mentor Program for 10 years. As a board member, David hopes to continue supporting the Mentor Program, promote CFANS student development, and grow sponsorship efforts. David has a positive perspective and passion for assisting others in achieving success. He enjoys engaging in lively conversation. Be sure to stop him for a chat.

Sierra Williamson.

Sierra Williamson, Secretary

2020 B.S., Agricultural and Food Business Management

Sierra is currently a supply chain associate at Land O'Lakes working on improving the manufacturing strategy for the WinField United brand. In her undergraduate experience she served as president for the CFANS Undergraduate Student Board. She currently leads the Campus Brew Pub project committee which focuses on creating a CFANS-produced beer in efforts of enriching the campus community. Sierra is passionate about utilizing strategic thinking to create innovative changes. As a representative on the CFANS Alumni Board she hopes to contribute to growth and expansion of the CFANS brand, while giving back to the campus community. 

Alumni Society Board Member Tracy Linbo.

Tracy Linbo, Treasurer

1994, B.S. Applied Economics

Tracy is currently the executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Growers Edge working with agricultural retailers to help improve farmers’ profits. She and her husband Todd also own a pick-your-own berry farm, Double T Acres, near their home in Nisswa, MN. Her cherished experiences at the U of M have served her well in her career and life. She was previously the senior vice president of agronomy at Agtegra Cooperative in South Dakota. Prior to Agtegra she held multiple roles for Pioneer and BASF supporting advancements in U.S. and international agriculture. As a CFANS Alumni Society Board member Tracy wants to pay it forward to students as mentors have done for her. She is very proud to be a Golden Gopher!

Alumna Roberta Ryan with two wolves.

Roberta Ryan, Past President

2014,  B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife

Roberta is the Animal Curator at the Wildlife Science Center, a wildlife education, conservation, and research facility in Stacy, MN. She graduated from CFANS in 2014, and her Fisheries and Wildlife B.S. allowed her to pursue her lifelong dream of working with wolves. Roberta has a passion for connecting alumni with each other, and for fostering relationships between alumni and current students. She has served on the Mentor Program Steering Committee during most of her time on the board, and is excited about creating new opportunities for alumni to network and grow professionally.


Tabare Abedi.

Tabare Abadie

1992, M.S. Plant Breeding and 1994, PhD Plant Breeding and Quantitative Genetics 

Tabare is currently a Research Laureate at Corteva Agrisciences, where he is responsible for external scientific relations, internships and recruitment for the Seed Product Development Department. He is originally from Uruguay in South America, where he was a wheat breeder and University professor before relocating to Iowa. He has extensive experience in International Agriculture, and has a broad network of connections with Universities around the world through the Plant Sciences Symposia series that he helped to develop. Tabare joins the Board hoping to share his passion for diversity and inclusion, and his own experience as a former international student during his tenure in Graduate School at the University.


Rylee Ahnen.

Rylee Ahnen

2014, B.S. Nutrition

Rylee Ahnen graduated from the U in 2014 with a BS in Human Nutrition and a BA in English Literature, and in 2018 with his Master's in Human Nutrition. Rylee has spent nearly a decade working as a policy and communications specialist for political campaigns and now works as the Director of Communications for the Oregon Education Association—a union representing 41,000 public school employees in the state of Oregon. He lives in Portland with his partner Lindsey and their dog, Walter Mondale, where he is slowly working on completing his doctorate in Human Nutrition.

Patrice Banks.

Patrice Banks

2014, B.S. Animal Science
2021, M.S. College of Liberal Arts

Patrice is currently a Program Director at Spark-Y: Youth Action Labs where she promotes an environment conducive to creativity, curiosity, youth leadership, and learning with students from diverse backgrounds. Before this role, she worked at the University of Minnesota as an Animal Health Supervisor. Within her professional roles she collaborates with teams to bring awareness to emerging technologies, cultivates meaningful relationships, and manages a variety of projects. As an undergraduate, Patrice was actively involved in MANRRS (minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences). As a CFANS Alumni Board member, Patrice is looking forward to expanding the college’s impact and fostering an enriched department culture.

Paul Buck and Mary Buschette.

Paul Buck

1987, B.S. Urban Forestry

Paul is currently employed by the City of Plymouth. He became an Alumni Society board member to make a difference in the lives of CFANS students, and to honor the memory of his late friend Art Widerstrom. Over the years, Paul has mentored many students through the CFANS Mentor Program. He hopes to help promote the program to fellow alumni and help foster overall alumni engagement. 

Justin Carlson.

Justin Carlson

2013, B.S. Nutrition and 2017, PhD Food Science

Justin is currently a Supply Chain Operations Manager at Kellogg's in Michigan, leading various supply chain teams and functions. Prior to Kellogg's, Justin graduated with his Ph.D. in Food Science and B.S. in Nutritional Science from CFANS, and is currently pursuing his MBA at the Carlson School of Management. Justin is passionate about keeping alumni engaged with CFANS and giving back to the great CFANS community that gave him an incredible educational experience.

Deepak Haarith.

Deepak Haarith

2020, PhD Plant Pathology

Deepak (Thee-puck) is an aspiring Professor and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He studies plant-microbe interactions and specializes in the study of microscopic worms called soybean cyst nematodes that cause great losses to our beloved soybeans. Deepak has always been keen on increasing student participation in the UMN shared governance structure, and has held several responsibilities including being the CFANS Graduate Student Senator and Communications Director for the university level Council of Graduate Students (COGS). Through the CFANS alumni board, Deepak is eager to build and enhance existing partnerships amongst students, departments, the college and its alumni in bringing about beneficial policies, mentoring and networking. As a director who is also a recent graduate, Deepak is looking forward to being a bridge between more students and alumni. He is also eager to increase departmental participation in alumni events and enhance the mentorship program.

Marlys Miller

Marlys Miller

1981, B.S. Agricultural Journalism with an emphasis in Animal Science

After many years in agricultural publishing, Marlys now operates M3 Wordshop as a self-employed freelance agriculture writer. She  is passionate about alumni outreach and engagement, particularly as it relates to alumni living outside of Minnesota. She chairs the Alumni-to-College committee, which oversees numerous Alumni Society Board events such as Borealis Night of Excellence, Homecoming and Classes Without Quizzes. As a proud CFANS alum, Marlys is particularly committed to working on recruiting more Minnesota students interested in agriculture to enroll in CFANS and attend the University of Minnesota.  

Kentalé Morris.

Kentalé Morris

2004, B.S Agricultural and Food Business Management
2012, MBA Carlson School of Management

Kentalé Sr. is a two-time Golden Gopher graduate, earning degrees in Agricultural and Food Business Management & Master of Business Administration. Experiences at the U have supported his growth both personally and professionally. At Land O’Lakes, Inc. he has held a variety of roles with cross-functional breadth and increasing responsibility. Kentalé currently leads the strategic accounts team where he focuses on building long-term strategies, developing high performing sales talent, and motivating them to achieve annual goals. Outside of work Kentalé has a passion for enabling others and spending time with his family. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and the President of 100 Black Men of the Twin Cities, Inc. where members activate mentorship-based programs to promote intellectual development of youth and community empowerment. Kentalé looks forward to understanding CFANS’s core, long-term goals and working together as a Board and alumni community to develop a path toward achieving each one. He also looks forward to engaging our student body and conveying the many benefits that await them as official U of MN Alumni.

David Resch

Alumni Society Board Member David Resch.

1973, B.S. Agricultural Education and 1998, M.Ed. Agricultural Education

David is currently an ag lender at Security Bank & Trust Co in Brownton, MN. Previously he worked in agricultural sales and with the University of Minnesota Extension as a county and regional educator. In these positions, he gained extensive experience in sales and marketing. David has actively volunteered with 4-H at the local and state level for many years, serving on fundraising committees and promoting educational events. He and his wife are avid Gopher fans and have had many family members graduate from the U! 

Nate Schwab.

Nate Schwab

2016, B.S. Agricultural Communication and Marketing

As a student, Nate stayed active within the University, participating in Greek Life, and serving as a Student Manager for the Men’s Basketball Program. Since graduation, he has continued to stay involved within the University and began his career in sales. Nate currently is a Senior Analyst – Business Planning for Kellogg’s, where he is responsible for the Frozen Breakfast & Veggie portfolios. As a Board Member Representative, Nate is driven to help engage individuals, bring a youthful approach, and contribute to the growth of the CFANS Alumni Society. Being passionate about the University and CFANS College, he is excited to support his alma mater! Nate looks forward to building and fostering relationships between alumni and current students. With this he hopes to help continue to build and grow the CFANS Alumni Society, Alumni engagement & its Committees.


Brian Buhr

Brian Buhr, Dean of CFANS

Brian Buhr is Dean and Director of CFANS and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. As dean, Brian oversees the college’s administration and academics and works to advance the college as one of the world’s premier research and educational centers dedicated to agricultural and food productivity, biodiversity, forestry, and the preservation of natural resources. He also collaborates with key stakeholders to help address critical challenges in agriculture, food systems, and environmental and natural resources sciences. Brian is a professor of applied economics and became head of the applied economics department in 2008. 

Mary Buschette

Mary Buschette, Director of Alumni & Constituent Relations

Mary has served as the Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations at CFANS since 1996. Under her leadership, programming has expanded to reach more alumni and includes several signature programs and successful fundraising initiatives benefiting alumni programming and student scholarships. Prior to working in alumni relations, Mary was a program coordinator for MAST international, an agricultural exchange program based at the U of M. She is a proud CFANS alumna, having earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural economics.

Parameswaran Kumar Mallikarjunan.

Parameswaran Kumar Mallikarjunan, Faculty Representative 

Parameswaran Kumar Mallikarjunan, PhD, is a food, science and nutrition professor who teaches food process engineering courses and conducts research in food process development. For example, Kumar developed a novel frying technology to produce low-fat deep fried, breaded foods. His work with novel detection technologies, specifically the electronic nose, evaluated apple and grape maturity, cheese and oyster spoilage, wine quality and more. He has also investigated the application of the electronic nose for medical diagnostics, especially for cancer detection. Kumar has received numerous accolades including a leadership citation and the Kishida International award from ASABE, Bor S. Luh International award from IFT. He was inducted as an IFT Fellow in 2020 and ASABE Fellow in 2021.