Summary of confirmed presenters are alphabetized by last name. Please check back regularly as we are adding new presenters daily.

Maria Abbott, Product Development Specialist, CHS
Maria Abbott is the product development specialist for CHS Crop Nutrients. As the product development specialist, she is responsible for bringing in new products and providing technical expertise to the sales team and customers. Previously, Abbott held a technical manager position for five years at Phyton Corporation, a small company that focuses in crop protection products. She is a member of the American Society… Read more

Aaron Alejandro, Executive Director, Texas FFA Foundation
Aaron is Executive Director of the Texas FFA Foundation located in Austin, Texas. In his non-professional hours, Aaron consults with businesses, organizations, education and youth clubs about ways to improve organizational and individual performance. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in management, personal and professional training. His unique style of delivery transcends all age groups and corporate… Read more

Anne Alonzo, Agricultural Marketing Services Administrator, U.S. Department of Agriculture
As Administrator of AMS, Anne Alonzo is responsible for the oversight of AMS policies and programs that facilitate the efficient, fair marketing of U.S. agricultural products, including food, fiber, and specialty crops. From grading to gathering market information, local food to organic exports, AMS creates opportunities for American farms and businesses by offering services that support growth and economic… Read more

Elizabeth Canales, Ph.D. candidate and Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University
Elizabeth Canales is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. Elizabeth is from Honduras where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Agri-Industry from the Pan-American Agricultural School – El Zamorano in 2006. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, Elizabeth took an extension position with Fintrac Inc on a project directed towards educating small scale Honduran… Read more

Pate M. Chavez, Cattle Department Manager, JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding
Pate was raised on a first generation Ranch in Hatch, New Mexico. He spent many hours working on the Ranch and was active in 4-H and FFA. Upon graduation he attended New Mexico State University where he earned his B.S. Degree in Agricultural Education. While at NMSU he worked in the Ag Shop for Dr. Carlos Rosencrans. He served as President of the Collegiate FFA for two years and was also a College of Agriculture… Read more

Cynda Clary, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Academic Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University
Dr. Clary is the Associate Dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at Oklahoma State University, where she provides administrative oversight, leadership and financial accountability for academic programs, student retention and achievement initiatives, scholarship development, faculty support and alumni relations. Prior to July 2012, Dr. Clary was a full professor at… Read more

Andra Collins-Johnson, AgriScience Educator, Benjamin O. Davis Jr. High School –Aldine ISD, Houston, TX
Andra has been teaching High School Agriculture for 9 years. She was introduced to agriculture and the FFA in the eleventh grade at Bellaire High School and chose to make agriculture her career choice. She earned her BS in Animal Science from Prairie View A&M University and her MS in Agriculture Education from Sam Houston State University. While in graduate school she investigated why minorities don’t choose… Read more

Elvis Cordova, Deputy Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Mr. Cordova is the Deputy Under Secretary for the Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mission Area at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he helps to oversee the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. He previously served as the Chief of Staff for the Research, Education & Economics Mission Area at… Read more

Ruben Flores, Director of Recruiting, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University
Ruben Flores has served as the Director of Recruiting for the Colorado State University (CSU) College of Agricultural Sciences in Fort Collins, Colorado since May 2010.  Prior to joining CSU, Flores was a college recruiter for more than six years in the beef/pork industry.  A Texas native, Flores earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Texas A&M – Kingsville. Flores also holds a masters degree in Public Health… Read more

Lyda Garcia, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor and Diversity Coordinator, Texas Tech University
Dr. Garcia is a Visiting Assistant Professor who teaches and conducts research in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences along with being the Diversity Coordinator in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University. She earned her Associates degree from Clarendon College – Clarendon , TX in Science; a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX in… Read more

Jennifer Hernandez Gifford, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University
Dr. Gifford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Oklahoma State University. After completing a M.S. at New Mexico State University, and a Ph.D. at Washington State University in Animal Science, she conducted post-doctoral research at Washington State University in the School of Molecular Biosciences. At OSU she is involved in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in physiology… Read more

Rolando Gonzalez, Undergraduate Student, Texas A&M University
Rolando Gonzalez, senior at Texas A&M University is currently majoring in agriculture business and getting a certificate for international trade in agriculture. He grew up in the border town of Matamoros, Tamaulipas in Mexico but, did his elementary and high school studies in Brownsville, Texas. He is currently a member of the Agriculture Economics Society and the National Agriculture Marketing Association chapters at… Read more

Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, Latino Community Outreach Coordinator – PA IPM Program and Ag Safety & Health Program, Pennsylvania State University
Maria has been working for Penn State Extension since March 2011 as the Latino Community Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management (PA IPM) and the Agricultural Safety & Health Programs. Maria has been expanding both programs’ efforts to reach out the Latino Community by developing and adapting new, culturally-appropriate education and outreach materials, assessing the needs… Read more

Maria Gutierrez, Ph.D., Research Associate, Center for Ecological Management of Military Lands, Colorado State University
Dr. Gutiérrez works for the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University as a Research Associate.  María serves as a technical resource on air quality compliance assurance programs at Laughlin Air Force Base and is responsible for preparing and reviewing Clean Air plans/permits.  María  also coordinates, validates and reviews environmental data, conducts emissions inventories and… Read more

Thomas S. Heady, Leader – Campus Recruiting and On-boarding, Elanco Animal Health
Tom currently works as Leader – Campus Recruiting and On-boarding for Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, Indiana, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.  He has worked for Lilly since 1985. Tom’s career has been mainly in the human resources field, having worked earlier for Lilly in Career Development, Corporate Recruiting and line HR.  He has also held roles as an Alliance Manager for the Pharmaceutical Delivery System… Read more

Carrie Hernandez, Instructor, Health Leadership High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Carrie Hernandez is an instructor: “curriculum learnologist”, FEMA Community Emergency Response Team Trainer, Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) Advisor, and Junior Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) leader at Health Leadership High School, public charter school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Carrie is an alumna of New Mexico State University with BA/MA in Agriculture Extension Education… Read more

Roger P. Mireles, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Office of Capacity Building, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA
Roger is the Assistant Deputy Administrator for USDA’s Office of Capacity Building and Development.  In this capacity, he is charged with overseeing USDA’s international development assistance and food aid programs.  Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Mireles served as the Director of the Policy Coordination and Planning Staff that led the planning and implementation of international agricultural development… Read more

Derek Mulhern, Collegiate and Student Relations Manager, Agriculture Future of America
Derek Mulhern is the Collegiate and Student Relations Manager of Agriculture Future of America and in this role, he oversees the recruitment and engagement of current and future AFA students. Derek also manages relationships with AFA’s University partners and Community scholarship programs in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri. He works closely with AFA’s Student Advisory Team and Campus Ambassadors… Read more

William J. NelsonVice President, Corporate Citizenship and President, CHS Foundation
William Nelson is vice president of Corporate Citizenship for CHS Inc. and president of the CHS Foundation. Nelson provides leadership to all CHS corporate citizenship activities including corporate philanthropy, volunteerism, employee engagement and CHS corporate memberships in associated organizations. Nelson also leads the CHS Foundation, which offers support through university partnerships, rural… Read more

Nancy O’MallonCEO, About Harvest, LLC
Award-winning filmmaker, writer and speaker, Nancy O’Mallon has discovered, documented and catalogued hundreds of hours of film footage, archival materials and first hand accounts related to food and agriculture.O’Mallon wrote, produced and directed two documentaries; “The Mighty Humble Blueberry,” and “New Jersey’s Red October” about the history and significance of the American blueberry and cranberry,… Read more

Lindsay L. Penrose, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Dr. Lindsay Penrose is a Research Assistant Professor and Resident Research Coordinator in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology within the School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University – Lubbock, TX in Animal Science, followed by both her Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Animal Science focused in Reproductive Physiology from… Read More

Javier I. Ramirez, Strategic Recruiting Liaison, Elanco Animal Health
Javier is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. After graduating from High School, he obtained a bachelor degree in Environmental Health Sciences from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana and an MBA from Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. Early in his career, he worked as a Health & Safety (H&S) compliance officer for Indiana department of Labor, (H&S) consultant for a non for profit organization in… Read more

Edward W. Romero, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Organizer, Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Conference
Dr. Romero has over 18 years of experience in academia, dealing primarily in agriculture with emphasis in administration, agricultural literacy, minority student recruitment, retention, diversity, student development and academic advising. As a successful former businessman, Edward has won company awards in sales and was recognized by senior managers for his business management accomplishments while working… Read more

Joseph Saahene, Undergraduate Student, Minorities in STEAM, Texas Tech University
I was born in Ghana, West Africa. I am a senior at Texas Tech University majoring in Animal Science Business, Agricultural Communication, and Agricultural Management.  My graduation date is May 2015. Experiences I have had are, internships with: Texas Hunger Initiative, Ogallala Commons, and Elanco Animal Health. My short-term goals are to finish school and find a great job for an animal health company. Read more

Raul Santillan, Director of Experience, Casa Noble Tequila
Santillan, a Hispanic born and raised in Old East Dallas attended Skyline High School and then proceeded to University of Texas at Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities to pursue his Bachelors in Arts & Technologies. With a passion for Tequila and the art of producing it, in his free time Raul serves as Director of Experience for Casa Noble Tequila, where he invites guests to take a journey with him into the art of producing fine… Read more

Sharron Spencer, Councilwoman, Place 2, City of Grapevine
Sharron, a Native Texan, has been a Grapevine resident since 1975. She took early retirement from American Airlines in 1995, and was Vice President of Spencer Engineering, Inc. She was a member of the Planning & Zoning Commission for 6 years, serving as Chair for 4 years, during which time the City was rezoned and the Grapevine Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance was rewritten resulting in Grapevine… Read more

Jose Uscanga, Doctoral Graduate Student, Oklahoma State University
Jose Manuel Uscanga Aguirre is currently a PhD student of Agriculture Education at Oklahoma State University. Jose grew up on a farm in Veracruz, Mexico and attended the University of Chapingo for his bachelors in Agronomy with a major in Tropical Zones. He then went on to a dual degree program between the UPAEP University in Puebla, Mexico and Oklahoma State University where he received his masters in… Read more

Bertha Venegas, Texas State Outreach Coordinator, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Bertha serves as State Outreach Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas.  In her position, she serves as NRCS Liaison coordinating outreach efforts with organizations that work closely with socially disadvantaged and limited resources farmers and ranchers with program information and planning and application of conservation work. Read more