CFANS Alumni Society: Board of Directors

Officers 

Alumna Roberta Ryan with two wolves.

Roberta Ryan, 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.

CFANS Alumni Board Treasurer David Pascoe.

David Pascoe, Vice President

2008, Ph.D. 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.

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

Megan Schossow, Secretary 

2016, B.S. Plant Science

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. 

Jessica Markkula

Jessica Markkula, Treasurer

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.

Rylee Ahnen.

Rylee Ahnen, Past President 

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.

Directors

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.
 

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

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.

 

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!

Annie Makepeace

Annie Makepeace

2015, M.S. Applied Plant Science

Annie currently serves as a Technical Marketing Manager at Winfield United (Land O’Lakes), where she uses her knowledge of plant physiology and nutrition to help teach, explain and position the company's plant nutrition and crop protection 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. As a board member, she is the chair of the Classes Without Quizzes event and an active member of the Alumni to College committee, both of which strive to maintain connections between CFANS grads and the College.

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.  

Shantal Pai.

Shantal Pai

2018, B.S. Plant Sciences

Shantal graduated from CFANS in 2018 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 2021. She works as a Judicial Clerk to Judge Nancy Brasel in the District of Minnesota and as an adjunct professor for the Race Informed Study Experience at the University of Minnesota Law School. After she completes her clerkship, Shantal intends to work as an energy lawyer. 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 Marketing Director  at UnitedHealth Group working on improving experiences and outcomes for members. Prior to UnitedHealth Group, he 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.

Sierra Williamson.

Sierra Williamson

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.

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.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioproducts & Biosystems Engineering Ce Yang.

Ce Yang, Faculty Representative

Ce is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. Ce has been at UMN since 2014. Before joining the U, she obtained her PhD degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Florida. Her research focuses are drone and ground remote sensing technologies applied to crops and animals for precision agriculture and high-throughput phenotyping. She has strong interest in collaborating with stakeholders and the private sector involving or connecting with our alumni. She is excited to volunteer as a board member to offer her experiences and advisory to CFANS students and contribute to the CFANS Alumni Board.

Lillian Prybil.

Lillian Prybil, Undergraduate Student Board Representative 

Lillian is a junior from Iowa City majoring in Environmental Science Policy and Management on the Policy, Planning, Law and Society track. She is minoring in Sustainability Studies. Lillian is currently serving as the president of the CFANS Undergraduate Student Board and interns with the UMN Urban Forestry and Outreach lab. Lillian plans to work in environmental planning or policy to rebuild the social and governmental scaffolding that continually creates and maintains environmental justice issues. In her role on the Alumni Society Board she hopes to advocate for CFANS undergraduate students.