CFANS Alumni Society: Board of Directors

Officers 

Rylee Ahnen wearing glasses and a suit with a bowtie.

Rylee Ahnen, President 

2014, B.S. Nutrition

Rylee is employed by New Partners Consulting. He believes it is critical that the University, and especially CFANS, make strong connections with students while they are attending school and then capitalize on those connections to activate young alumni engagement. He believes that CFANS is stronger when its alumni are engaged and that the student experience is enriched when there is a large group of individuals who are advocating for them. 

Roberta Ryan

Roberta Ryan, Vice President

2014,  B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife

Roberta Ryan pursued her lifelong dream of working with wolves by studying Fisheries and Wildlife and becoming the Animal Care and Education Assistant at the Wildlife Science Center. "During college, I realized that I could pull so much more out of my undergraduate experience than just a degree...I gained the critical ecology foundation I needed to be competitive with my peers, and I discovered how to learn in an effective and efficient way." 

Megan Schossow, an alumna with long brown hair, stands on a bridge.

Megan Schossow, Secretary 

2016, B.S. Plant Science

Megan is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University's School of Public Health. This spring, she is graduating from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs with a Master’s in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy. She is passionate about student development and wants to help prepare the next generation of alumni for success. Megan has an extensive volunteer history and hopes to apply her passion for volunteering as an board member. 

David Pascoe, Treasurer

2008, Ph.D. Nutrition

David is currently employed by Cargill. 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 over 7 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 success. He enjoys engaging in lively conversation- be sure to stop him for a chat!

Annie Makepeace

Annie Makepeace, Past President

2015, M.S. Applied Plant Science

Annie currently serves as a Technical Marketing Specialist at Winfield, where she uses her knowledge of plant physiology and nutrition to help teach, explain and position the company's plant nutrition products. As a student, she was an active member of the student body, a member of the Interdisciplinary Food Studies Graduate Group and secretary and VP of the Applied Plant Sciences Student Board.

Directors

Paul Buck

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. 

 

Tracy Linbo

Alumni Society Board Member Tracy Linbo.

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. Tracy received a degree in applied economics with an emphasis in agronomy from CFANS. This degree and 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 & 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!

Jessica Markkula

Jessica Markkula

1998, B.S. Agricultural Business Management

After graduating from CFANS and spending several years serving in a variety of roles at the college, Jess received her M.Ed. in Human Resource Development at the U. Jess currently serves as the Relationship Manager in Commercial Banking at BMO Harris Bank. Jess is passionate about the student experience, and believes students' time on campus will shape their future lives. She currently serves as the chair of the Sponsorship Committee.

Michelle Medina

Michelle Medina

2011, B.S. Agricultural Education

Michelle studied both Ag Education and Spanish, and quickly put her skills to work in several roles overseas in Costa Rica. She served as a New Business Developer for Variedades del Trópico Húmedo as well as the Director of Costa Rican Relations with Metamorphosis Corporate Sustainability Retreats. Back in the US, Michelle serves as the Director of Renewable Energy at the Minnesota Farmers Union. As an active volunteer, she is eager to contribute.

Marlys Miller

Marlys Miller

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

Marlys is currently employed by M3 Wordshop and works as a self-employed freelance agriculture writer. She  is passionate about alumni engagement, particularly as it relates to alumni not living in Minnesota. She is interested in the mentor program as she was recently involved with a one-on-one effort within her sorority and found it to be rewarding. Mentorship adds value to both the student and the mentor and deepens the ties to the university.  

Natasha Mortenson

Natasha Mortenson

2001, B.S. Agricultural Education, 2006, M.S. Agricultural Education

Natasha Mortenson grew up on a small crop farm in West Central Minnesota.  Currently, Natasha lives in rural Swift County, along with her husband Matt and two children, Grace and Cowan. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with her B.S. and M.A. in Agricultural Education. She taught agriculture and advised FFA Programming for 14 years in Morris, MN.  In May, 2014, Natasha began her work with Riverview L.L.P., in Morris, MN. She works with community relations in the communities that Riverview touches geographically, promotes agriculture everywhere she is able and works with youth to build enthusiasm for agriculture.  

Shantal Pai

Alumni Society Board Member Shantal Pai.

2018, B.S. Plant Sciences

Shantal is currently a third-year law student at the University of Minnesota. She graduated from CFANS in 2018 and has been working on developing a career at the intersection of law, food security, and environmental science since then. Shantal cares deeply about creating an inclusive CFANS, especially for minority students. As a CFANS Alumni Board member, she hopes to work directly with students and university leadership to develop new diversity & inclusion initiatives.

Daniel Peterson 

Daniel Peterson 

2007, B.S. Agricultural Marketing and Food Industries

Daniel is currently a senior marketing manager at UnitedHealth Group working on improving experiences and outcomes for members. Prior to UnitedHealth Group, he has held a variety of marketing roles at Best Buy and General Mills where he started after graduating from CFANS. Professionally, Daniel is passionate about creating emotional connections between brands and people while advocating for innovation. As a CFANS Alumni Board he hopes to work directly with the students and give back to the community of his beloved University.

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! 

Jeffrey Stamp

Jeffrey Stamp

1983, B.S. Food Science & Technology, 1990 Ph.D. Food Science

Dr. Jeffrey Stamp is the Chief Story Teller at Bold Thinking, leading a team that provides ideation, concept development, venture strategy, and training content to corporations and universities worldwide that desire to discover new opportunities or foster entrepreneurial thinking skills. Before this, he was the creator of Baked! Lays ® Potato Crisps, for PepsiCo’s snack division, Frito-Lay, and has led seven successful entrepreneurial start-ups. As a board member, Jeff is passionate about mentoring students and cultivating their entrepreneurial thinking.

Brittany Voss

Brittany Voss

2010, Agricultural Education 

Brittany Voss is a marketing and communications manager at CHS, Inc., where she helps translate complex industry issues into compelling, audience-centered communications. Prior to CHS, Brittany worked at a public relations agency, providing counsel and communications support to many agricultural organizations and nonprofits. While in CFANS, Brittany was an active member in many groups on campus. As a board member, she looks forward to helping connect alumni and students to the CFANS Alumni Society and increasing engagement in activities and events.

Ex-Officio

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.

Matt Russell

Matt Russell, Faculty Representative 

Matt is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota-Department of Forest Resources. Matt has been at UMN since 2014 and his work focuses on keeping forests healthy and productive. Matt attended similar land grant universities in his graduate work including the University of Maine and Virginia Tech. Matt is passionate about sharing the benefits of trees and forests with private forest landowners and natural resource professionals. As a faculty representative he hopes to be a bridge between the CFANS Alumni Board and its faculty and students.

MANRRS Alumni Society Board Representative Dorian McMurphy.

Dorian McMurphy, MANRRS Representative 

Dori is a second-year student pursuing a major in Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) with a specific track of Policy, Planning, Law and Society. Along with plans of double minoring in Social Justice and Art. Her first year she joined MANRRS and PEP and found a community that she wishes to help better represent, by becoming the current president of MANRRS. She has plans to either become an Environmental lawyer or to work in policy making specifically to eradicate the effects of environmental racism. She comes from a household of three older siblings raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has aspirations to advocate for the community of CFANS. She is an Asian American that has noticed the injustice in communities and wishes to spread awareness and ultimately create a better place for students of color where they can be proud of their identities.