Announcing the Keynote and Student Speakers for CFANS Commencements 2022

April 13, 2022

We are pleased to announce the keynote and student speakers for CFANS' 2022 commencement ceremonies.

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony | Friday, May 6, 2022 at 2 p.m. | 3M Arena at Mariucci

heidi roop

Undergraduate Keynote Address | Heidi Roop, PhD, is an assistant professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Soil, Water and Climate. Heidi's professional mission is to improve the reach and impact of climate science in order to engage, motivate and catalyze action around climate change. Heidi combines climate science and science communication to connect climate change information to decision-makers and communities across the Midwest, U.S., and abroad. By producing actionable, relevant climate science, Heidi helps diverse stakeholders prepare for a changing climate. Heidi aspires to be a scientist who changes how the world engages in science, with scientists.



Amelia Hayden

Undergraduate Student Speaker | Amelia Hayden, '22 Agricultural Education, was selected as the student speaker for CFANS Undergraduate Commencement 2022. After graduation, Amelia is pursuing a career related to agriculture education. She is currently a finalist for the 75th Alice in Dairyland, which is a full-time public relations ambassador representing Wisconsin agriculture. Her long-term career goal is to teach high school agriculture and develop the next generation of agricultural leaders. 



Graduate Commencement Ceremony | Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 1 p.m. | Ted Mann Concert Hall


onnie byers

Graduate Keynote Address | Onnie Byers (MS ’87 and PhD ’90, Animal Physiology) earned her Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Minnesota and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. working on assisted reproductive techniques in endangered cat species. Onnie joined the IUCN SSC’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) in 1991 as a Program Officer and was promoted to the position of Executive Director in 2005. In 2011, she was appointed CPSG Chair becoming the first female to lead the organization, including its 350 volunteer members, headquarters staff and 10 regional networks, in its 40-year history. In collaboration with government wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, SSC Specialist Groups, and zoos and aquariums, Onnie facilitates the development of management strategies to minimize the risk of species extinction. Onnie is dedicated to the transfer of CPSG’s tools and processes to conservationists around the world and to learning about and developing new tools to assist in stakeholder-inclusive, science-based species planning efforts. She has authored more than 50 scientific publications and book chapters and serves on the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee, the Conservation and Sustainability Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Executive Committee of Amphibian Ark, Global Council of the Amphibian Survival Alliance, and the Boards of Species360 and the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders.


Sonali Raghunath

Graduate Student Speaker | Sonali Raghunath (MS '19, PhD ’22 Food Science), was selected as student speaker for CFANS Graduate Commencement. She was born in Chennai, India and obtained her bachelor’s in technology degree in Food Technology in 2017 from Anna University, India. In addition to her PhD, she is completing coursework through the Harvard Business School online program for MBA fundamentals. Sonali is interested in pursuing work related to process design, new product development and business management in her future after graduation.



We look forward to celebrating the class of 2022! For more information on Commencement, visit this page.