CFANS Alumni Society: Board of Directors
Tracy Linbo, President
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!
Sierra Williamson, Vice President
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.
David Pascoe, Past 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.
Patrice Banks, Secretary
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.
Nate Schwab, Treasurer
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.
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.
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.
BS ‘96, Urban & Community Forestry
MS ‘06 Forestry
Dennis is a Utility Arborist and Executive Director of the Utility Arborist Association. Prior to his current role he was responsible for leading vegetation management programs across several upper Midwest states on behalf of a large investor-owned utility. He’s also been an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he facilitated the Utility Vegetation Management Certificate Program – a combined effort of the Utility Arborist Association and the Utility Vegetation Management Association. Dennis has been a guest speaker in the arboriculture class and enjoys supporting current CFANS students through the Mentor Program.
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.
2013, B.S. Animal Science and 2018, M.S. Agricultural Education
Emily grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Le Sueur, Minnesota. She earned a bachelor's degree in animal science and a master's in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and 2018, respectively. Emily works for University of Minnesota Extension as the Extension Educator for Farm Safety & Health. Her work focuses on grain bin safety, livestock safety, tractor safety, farmer mental health, and suicide prevention. A passion of Emily’s is advocating for wellness in agriculture.
2000, B.S. Science in Agriculture
Emily Jerve is a Marketing Supervisor in the Agricultural Marketing and Development Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). She coordinates and promotes MDA’s local, regional, domestic and international marketing services for agriculture, food and beverages. Emily has been with MDA for 14 years in a variety of areas including agricultural statistics and international marketing. Prior to joining MDA, Emily worked at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, on international programs. Emily has an M.P.S. in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and a B.S. in Science in Agriculture from the University of Minnesota. Emily served as an agriculture volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. Emily loves to cook, especially with Minnesota Grown produce.
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.
2021, B.S. Environmental Science
Colin grew up in Rosemount, MN and completed a B.S in Environmental Science, Policy and Management and a B.A in Political Science and Government in 2021. As a student he participated in the CFANS Policy and Engagement Program and the CFANS Mentor Program, and worked as an undergraduate herbarium assistant at the Bell Museum. During his tenure he found in the collection a mislabeled leaf specimen that originated from the Connecticut Charter Oak, the same tree featured in the Connecticut state quarter. He currently works in the research department at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s herbarium in St. Louis, MO.
2016, B.S. Plant Science and 2019, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Megan is the Director of Outreach and Center Coordinator at the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. In addition to being a CFANS alumna, she received her Master of Science from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is passionate about student development and wants to support the next generation of alumni.
1989, B.S. Ag Business Administration and 1992, M.Ed. Ag Education
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, 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, 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.
Amy Smith, Faculty Representative
Amy Smith, PhD, serves CFANS as an associate professor and academic program leader for agricultural education, contributing to both undergraduate and graduate education efforts. With a particular passion for preparing high-quality school-based agricultural educators, Amy is often at the center of activity connecting Ag Ed students, current educators (both formal and non-formal) and program stakeholders. As a CFANS Alumni Board member, she hopes to broaden her work in this area, helping to connect current and prospective CFANS students with dedicated and committed Alum who can support and encourage them along their educational and professional journeys.
Mathew Stone, Undergraduate Student Board Representative
Becca Weir, Grad Student Board Representative
Becca is currently a PhD student in Applied Economics and completed her Master’s in Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota in 2022. Her research is focused on production agriculture, specifically producer economics, agricultural finance, and farm management. She is passionate about agriculture as a whole but has a special interest in the dairy industry as Becca grew up on a dairy farm in central Minnesota. Becca serves as the Graduate Student Board representative on the CFANS Alumni Society Board and plans to be an advocate for her peers and a liaison between current students and alumni.
Sean O'Mara, Postdoc Board Representative