Board of Directors: CFANS Alumni Society

The mission of the CFANS Alumni Society Board is to foster relationships that benefit our college, alumni, students and friends.

Board Officers

Larry Thomas, President

1982, B.S. Agricultural Education

Larry is the Director of Student Programs at the Science Museum of Minnesota and has been involved in science education for over 20 years. His interests are in the areas of mentoring, advocacy and academic excellence. He is passionate about science education and diversity, and serves on the Classes Without Quizzes planning committee 

Bruce Hatteberg, Vice President/President-Elect

1979, B.S. Agricultural Economics

Bruce is the Director of Lending for CHS Capital and has been involved in the agricultural industry for more than 30 years. His work currently focuses on consulting with agricultural co-ops to keep them strategically and financially viable. He is a life member of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and interested in the areas of mentoring, advocacy, board leadership, academic excellence and scholarship fundraising. Bruce previously served on the CFANS Board Executive Committee as Treasurer, and has served as a mentor to CFANS students through the CFANS Mentor Program for 6 years.

Becky Wahlund, Secretary

1982, B.S. Consumer Food Science 

Becky is the Director of Test Kitchens & Consumer Affairs for Land O’Lakes.  She has spent her entire career in the food industry in Test Kitchen and Marketing roles.  She has been mentoring students through the CFANS Mentor Program for many years and assists in hosting an annual site visit to Land O'Lakes for mentors and mentees in the program. Mentoring students is an area of passion and her focus on the CFANS Alumni Society Board.

Mark Sample, Treasurer

2001 B.S. Animal Science 

Mark has more than 40 years of experience in the swine industry in production, management, genetics and sales. He is currently a product specialist for Herdstar, LLC Mark comes from a family with four generations of CFANS students. His grandparents, uncle, and father attended CFANS, and his daughter Leah has followed in her father's footsteps, having graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science in 2013.

Myah Walker Past-President

2010, B.S. Animal Science

Myah serves as a Compliance Specialist with Sparboe Farms, an egg production company based out of Litchfield. After graduating with her degree in Animal Science, Myah pursued her Masters in Public Health at the U. As a student Myah was involved as a St. Paul Ambassador, a member of CFANS Student Board, and a volunteer for classes without Quizzes. Her interest areas include Advocacy, Classes Without Quizzes, Homecoming, and the Mentor Program. She is passionate about sharing her story of a “city girl gone ag” in hopes of inspiring youth to pursue a career in agriculture.


Tracy Fallon

1996, B.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

Tracy coordinates the Water Resources Science graduate program at the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.  She is responsible for overall program management, recruitment of new students, development and progression of current students, and alumni relations. Tracy has been a volunteer with the college's alumni society since it was called the College of Natural Resources, and served as the CNR Alumni Society President in the late 90s!

Nathan Kosbau

2008, B.S. Applied Plant Sciences

Nathan serves as the Regional YieldPoint Specialist at CHS.  In this role, he educates retailers on how they might increase productivity and efficiency with precision agriculture services. While at CFANS, he was an active member of FarmHouse and Gopher Crops and Soils Club, and continues to cultivate connections with students by coming back to campus as a speaker and sharing his perspective and experience in precision agriculture. As a member of the board, he enjoys attending events and promoting engagement.

Annie Makepeace

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.

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, personally and professionally. She currently serves as the chair of the Sponsorship Committee to raise sponsorship funds for Alumni Society programs.

Michelle Medina

2011, B.S. Agricultural Education

Michelle studied both Ag Education and Spanish while at the U, 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, EARTH University as well as the Director of Costa Rican Relations with Metamorphosis Corporate Sustainability Retreats. Back in the US, Michelle now serves as the Director of Renewable Energy at the Minnesota Farmers Union. As an active volunteer, both as a student and an alum, Michelle is eager to contribute as a CFANS Ambassador and mentor.

Whitney Place

2010, B.S. Applied Plant Science

After graduating from CFANS, Whitney received her M.S. in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Whitney was named the Director of Legislative Affairs at the MN Department of Agriculture in February of 2016. As a member of the CFANS Alumni Board, she serves as one of the alumni co-chairs of  the Policy Engagement Program and the CFANS Mentor Program.

Mark Rokala

1990 B.S. Agricultural Economics

Mark Rokala came to CFANS as a non-traditional student and completed his bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics in 1990. As a student he took advantage of many internships and opportunities that led to his career as an agricultural lobbyist in Washington D.C. Mark has lobbied on land-grant funding issues, for commodity and conservation groups, and for many ag-related companies located in Minnesota. He is passionate about student development and mentorship.

Roberta Ryan

2014, B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife

Roberta Ryan pursued her lifelong dream of working with wolves by studying Fisheries and Wildlife at CFANS and then becoming the Animal Care and Education Assistant at the Wildlife Science Center. "During my time at the college, I realized that I could pull so much more out of my undergraduate experience than just a degree. Being a student at the U of M challenged me, humbled me, excited me, and opened my mind up to a new way of thinking. 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." Roberta was a student in the CFANS Mentor Program, and now serves as a mentor herself.

Lauren Serbus

2012, B.S. Nutrition

Lauren's powerful love of people and food brought her to CFANS. As a student, she participated in numerous student organizations - including Alpha Chi Omega, the CFANS Student Board, Habitat for humanity, and nutrition clubs.

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, online and live training content and events to corporations and universities worldwide that desire to discover new opportunities or foster entrepreneurial thinking skills in their teams. 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 member of the board, Jeff is passionate about mentoring students and cultivating entrepreneurial thinking in students through the Agtastic Challenge on campus. 

Cliff Vrieze

1967, B.S. Agricultural Education; 1972, M.S. Agricultural Education

Cliff is a retired agricultural educator. He describes himself as "good at stirring the pot" and he is skilled at encouraging and applying new ideas and initiatives. His interest areas are advocacy, mentorship, and recognition. He is passionate about student development and about engaging alumn in the annual awards program, Borealis Night of Excellence. 


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. An Iowa native, he earned his bachelor’s degrees in animal science and agricultural business and Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.

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 realtions, 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.

Brian Steffenson, Faculty Representative, Department of Plant Pathology

Brian received two degrees from CFANS: a B.S. in Plant Health Technology in 1980, and a M.S. in 1983, completing research on the resistance of barley to stem rust. He also has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Califiornia-Davis. In 2000, Brian joined the CFANS faculty as the Lieberman-Okinow Endowed Chair of Cereal Disease Research. His main research interests are in disease resistance of wild cereal species, virulence and molecular diversity of fungal pathogens, and host-parasitic genetics. He is the director of the Stakman-Borlaug Cereal Rust Center and plays a key role in the university's work on Ug99, the devastating wheat stem rust strain currently affecting cereal crops in Africa and the Middle East. 

Rachel Kircher, CFANS Student Board Representative (President)

Rachel is originally from St. James, MN and is a senior this year studying Animal Science and Agricultural Communications & Marketing with a minor in Agricultural and Food Business Management.  As a student, she is involved on campus as the President of the CFANS Undergraduate Student Board. She is also a member of Lambda Delta Phi Sorority, participates in the Policy Engagement Program and the Mentor Program,  and is a member of the Gopher Poultry Science Club.

Larry Thomas Board

Bruce Hatteberg Board

Becky Wahlund Board

Mark Sample Board

Myah Walker Board

Tracy Fallon Board

Nathan Kosbau Board

Annie Makepeace Board

Jess Markkula Board

Michelle Medina Board

Whitney Place Board

Mark Rokala Board

Roberta Ryan Board


Jeff Stamp Board

Cliff Vrieze Board

Brian Buhr Board

Mary Buschette Board

Brian Steffenson Board

Rachel Kircher Board