Virtual Midwest Career Trip

Join us for a networking opportunity that connects Friedman School students to alumni working in the Midwestern U.S.!


When Friday, November 19, 12:30 – 4:30 pm ET
Where The comfort of your home! All panels are virtual. Registration is required.
What Alumni will share information about their organizations and available opportunities, as well as their day-to-day work and career journeys.
Why According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking to be vital to their career success. Don’t miss this opportunity!
How Feel free to join us for 1, 2, or all 3 panel discussions. Lists of attending organizations and speaker bios, as well as panel registration links are available in the menus below.

  • Panel #1,  12:30 – 1:30pm:  Bayer Crop Science, FoodMinds, Lonza, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, University of Chicago

    Register for Panel 1 in Handshake

    Panelist Bios:
    Jonathan Mein, PhD, Regional Agronomy Lead with Bayer Crop Science
    At Bayer, we’re working to shape agriculture through breakthrough innovation for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and our planet.  We innovate in the fields of health and nutrition to meet some of the most fundamental needs of people around the world. Our industry-leading innovation engine builds on a unique combination of seeds and traits, crop protection and digital tools. Bringing together our expertise across these disciplines uniquely positions us to deliver more innovation, faster.  Jonathan is a Regional Agronomy Lead at Bayer Crop Science, where he leads a team of field product development specialists, who focus on the final stages of product commercialization.  Throughout his 10 years at Bayer (previously Monsanto), Jonathan has had a number roles with increasing responsibility across R&D, Product Development, Product Management and Sales. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from the Friedman School.

    Jean Owen Curran, MS, RDN, Account Supervisor with FoodMinds, a strategic food and nutrition communication agency
    FoodMinds, a division of Padilla, is the only communications agency with more than 15 registered dietitian nutritionists on staff and a Global ExpertBench™ of nutrition science, policy and communication professionals around the world. Their services span the ecosystem of food, beverage and nutrition – with expertise in consumer research and industry insights, branding, creative content, digital and social media, marketing communications, global food and nutrition policy, food system sustainability and personalized wellness. FoodMinds works with more than 30 leading commodity boards, food companies, brands and associations in the U.S. and around the world, including several Fortune 500 companies.  As an account supervisor at FoodMinds, Jean helps clients meet business and public health objectives through strategic communication strategies. She harnesses the latest in nutrition science, public affairs and consumer insights to help clients connect meaningfully with their key stakeholders. Her areas of expertise include educational content development, nutrition program planning and influencer partnerships. She earned her MS degree in Nutrition Communication at the Friedman School.

    Lindsey Toth, MS, RD, Director of Global Marketing, Nutrition Products & Services with Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients
    Lindsey is a registered dietitian turned strategic marketing leader, growing up in science and catching fire in marketing. She has a track record of driving results across a broad spectrum of digital and traditional marketing disciplines, with expertise stemming from globally leading retail companies like PepsiCo and Red Bull, to private equity-backed e-commerce companies like Swanson Health Products. She is experienced in growing established brands, launching new-to-the-world products, and revitalizing heritage businesses through digital, retail and e-commerce. She’s hyper-passionate about customer experience, story-telling, and problem-solving, and is always asking, “how can we do this better?”  Today, Lindsey works at Swiss-based B2B healthcare leader, Lonza. There she leads Global Marketing/Product Management for their Nutrition Products and Services as part of the Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients division. She is responsible for overseeing global marketing for the nutrition portfolio, including value messaging, go-to-market strategies, and product innovation and lifecycle management.

    Sarah Woodside, MS, RDN, Director of Communications with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan
    Sarah is the Director of Communications at the United Dairy Institute of Michigan. UDIM represents Michigan’s dairy farmers and is committed to raising awareness of the health benefits of consuming dairy products. Sarah’s background is in nutrition communications and marketing, as well as nutrition policy and regulation. Her experience includes over 15 years working in the consumer product goods industry with roles at the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition and the Kellogg Company. Sarah’s focus at these companies included providing nutrition expertise to the business teams, partnering with thought leaders and healthcare professionals to help inform the business, and communicating directly to consumers via product packaging and websites. Prior to this work, Sarah was an editor for a national publication that covered federal nutrition policy and regulation issues. She holds an MS degree in Nutrition Communications from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

    Jyotsna S. Jagai, Senior Research Data Analyst with the University of Chicago, Lindau Lab
    Jyotsna strongly believes that our health is impacted by our environment. She has a broad definition of environment considering not only air, water and land pollutants but also the built and sociodemographic environments. Additionally, she recognizes that these environmental exposures are a result of long-standing injustices. She is an environmental epidemiologist whose work focuses on the development of comprehensive indicators to characterize the cumulative environmental impact on human health. In her role at the Lindau Lab she is able to incorporate the broader idea of environment, thinking about social determinants of health as well. Her work has also focused on the adaptation of various methods for use in environmental epidemiology. Her methodological work includes time series analysis, meta-analysis methods, and development of environmental exposure measures. She obtained her MPH from the Tufts School of Medicine and her PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology from the Friedman School in 2009.

  • Panel #2,  2:00 – 3:00pm:  Cargill, Compass Group/E15, Kellogg Company, Wallace Center at Winrock International

    Register for Panel 2 in Handshake

    Panelist Bios:
    Kate Olender, Senior Manager, Global Impact Partnerships – Corporate Responsibility with Cargill
    Cargill is a global agribusiness company whose purpose is to nourish the would in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. It connects farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. Cargill combines 155 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial, and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Kate is Cargill’s Senior Manager for Global Impact Partnerships. She builds relationships and leads partnerships with global NGOs in support of Cargill’s corporate responsibility and sustainability priorities and goals, on topics such as nutrition, farmer prosperity, and women’s economic empowerment. She also advises the company on food security and nutrition and supports its agricultural development initiatives, such as its TRANSFORM partnership with USAID. She began her career in nonprofit organizations, advocating for healthy food access, and later shifted to food business, working first at a global PR firm with food and agriculture clients and then at the fresh fruit and vegetable trade association before joining Cargill. She holds an MPH from Tufts University and an MS degree in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from the Friedman School.

    Erin Moore Ruddy, Director of Consumer Insights with E15, Compass Group
    E15 Group is the advanced analytics consulting firm backed by Compass Group, the world’s leading foodservice provider. E15 delivers next-generation insights based on data, not hunches. Through E15’s work, we help all sectors of the food industry, including healthcare, higher education, corporate, K-12, and professional sports clients, make forward-looking decisions to benefit their business and their guests. E15’s core offerings include business analytics (operational and transactional data analysis), consumer insights, data engineering, and data science. Erin is the Director of Consumer Insights at E15. In this role, Erin works with a team of eight to design and execute primary research studies with consumers, operators, and distributors to help clients understand the current operating landscape, address challenges and identify growth opportunities. The E15 consumer insights team executes a range of methodologies depending on the business and research objectives of the client. These methodologies include focus groups, in-depth interviews, quantitative surveys and robust voice of the customer programs. Erin earned her master’s degree in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition with a specialization in communication from the Friedman School in 2014.

    Kate Schaffner, Global Responsible Sourcing Manager and Sustainable Agriculture Lead with Kellogg
    Kate advocates for sustainable agriculture and climate resilience in ingredient supply chains. She joined Kellogg in 2018 and develops global strategies to meet Kellogg’s responsible sourcing commitments for its priority ingredients. She also supports Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people, including 1 million farmers and workers, by the end of 2030. Prior to joining Kellogg, Kate worked with the World Wildlife Fund, where she focused on conservation agriculture, often in partnership with consumer packaged good companies and farmer associations. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her Master of Science degree in Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts University’s Friedman School.

    Elisabeth Spratt, Project Manager with Wallace Center at Winrock International
    The Wallace Center brings together diverse people and ideas to co-create solutions that build healthy farms, equitable economies, and resilient food systems. We seek to affect systems change to bring benefits to the environment, to communities, and to the farmers and food businesses that are the building blocks of a healthy and equitable food system. Pasture Project is one effort of the Wallace Center. Pasture Project works to advance regenerative grazing in the Upper Midwest as a scalable, market-driven solution for building healthy soils, viable farms, and resilient communities. We work with farmers, land managers, public agencies, and farm member-based organizations to expand use of regenerative practices that yield win-win outcomes for farmers and rural communities. Elisabeth (she/her) is a Project Manager who helps support the Pasture Project as part of the Wallace Center at Winrock International. She first became interested in regenerative agriculture while taking animal science classes at the University of Tennessee and later working as dairy manager for an 80-cow grass-fed dairy and processing plant in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Elisabeth specializes in understanding and documenting the environmental and economic impacts of regenerative practices. She holds an MS in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from the Friedman School. Elisabeth is based in St. Louis, MO.

  • Panel #3,  3:30 – 4:30pm:  Fair Food Network, General Mills, Indiana State Department of Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems

    Register for Panel 3 in Handshake

    Panelist Bios:
    Rachel Hoh, Manager, Nutrition Incentive Hub with the Fair Food Network
    The Nutrition Incentive Hub is a national coalition of partners that supports nutrition incentive (or SNAP incentive) and produce prescription projects at farm direct and brick and mortar retail locations. This coalition was created by and supports grantees of the The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), a four-year effort funded by the USDA through the 2018 Farm Bill. The Nutrition Incentive Hub provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation support to help strengthen nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects as they work to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables in their communities. Rachel’s food systems journey began in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she dreamed of living the life of one of her neighbor’s goats. While that dream never came true, Rachel got her start in Philadelphia, where she led agricultural gleaning programs for regional food banks at Philabundance and mobile market programs for the city’s seniors at Greensgrow. Most recently, Rachel dug into food systems planning at the Mayor’s Office of Food Access at the City of Boston, leading the city’s implementation of the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). Rachel holds an MS in Nutrition and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.

    Charlotte Vallaeys, Natural and Organic Associate Expert with General Mills
    Charlotte started in her role as Natural and Organic Associate Expert in the Natural and Organic Business Unit at General Mills in June 2021. In this role, she collaborates within General Mills and with external partners to advance organic strategies and initiatives. General Mills is the largest provider of natural and organic packaged food in the United States. With brands like Annie’s, Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen, 1 in 7 products in the company’s North American portfolio is certified organic or made with organic ingredients. The company’s organic ingredient sourcing supports over 70,000 acres of organic agriculture. Previously, Charlotte was Senior Policy Analyst in Food and Nutrition at Consumer Reports/Consumers Union (2013-2020) and Farm Policy Director at The Cornucopia Institute (2007-2013). She has consulted for various non-profits advocating for a more sustainable food system, including the National Organic Coalition, Funders for Regenerative Agriculture, and the ASPCA’s farm animal welfare division. She holds an MTS degree from Harvard University and an MS degree in Agriculture, Food and Environment from the Friedman School, where she is currently a PhD candidate.

    Megan Paskey, Community Food Systems and Farm to School Coordinator with the Indiana Department of Health, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity (IDOH-DNPA)
    The Indiana Department of Health, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity works to provide statewide leadership for nutritious eating and active living to help prevent and reduce incidences of overweight, obesity, and related chronic diseases for Hoosiers of all ages. IDOH-DNPA does this work through a variety of partnerships with local and regional organizations, professional development opportunities, grant making, and technical assistance in areas of nutrition, physical activity in schools, worksite wellness, and the built environment. Additionally, IDOH-DNPA is the SNAP-Education oversight agency for the state, overseeing the sole SNAP-Ed implementing agency, Purdue University Extension, Nutrition Education Program. The Indiana Grown for Schools Network, Indiana’s farm to school network, works across the value chain to support the implementation and expansion of farm to school programming in the four nationally recognized pillars of farm to school – Local Procurement, Agriculture and Nutrition Education, School Gardens, and Farm to Early Care and Education- for all Hoosiers 0 to 18 years of age. Megan is the Community Food Systems and Farm to School Coordinator with IDOH-DNPA. She works in two overlapping areas of food systems and farm to school programming, implementing a Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) approach to all work. Within the area of food systems, Megan works with statewide partners to increase the infrastructure to support community food systems, focusing on food access and vulnerable populations. This work happens across the value chain within farmers markets and emergency food systems spaces, support to the SNAP-Ed implementing agencies, and with medical partners in clinical settings. In farm to school, Megan leads the Indiana Grown for Schools Network. This role includes network management, resource creation, communications, grant making, and technical assistance. Megan holds an MS degree from Friedman in Agriculture, Food and Environment, and an MPH from Tufts School of Medicine where she was a generalist.

    Vanessa Herald, Senior Farm to Institution Outreach Specialist with the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS)
    Vanessa Herald, M.S., is Senior Farm to Institution Outreach Specialist at the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural System (CIAS). Vanessa leads efforts to connect growers, supply chain partners and institutional buyers at Wisconsin and Great Lakes Region institutions — like K-12 schools, early care centers, hospitals and universities — to purchase and serve more Wisconsin and regionally grown food items in the cafeteria setting. This farm to institution work includes training and technical assistance, supply chain development, facilitating communities of practice, and assessing barriers to institutional purchasing. Key projects include the creation and implementation of the annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch and the Wisconsin Chili Lunch. She co-leads the Wisconsin Farm to School Network and supports burgeoning Wisconsin Farm to Early Care Work Group efforts. In addition, Vanessa provides facilitation and project evaluation services to university and community food system partners. She earned an M.S. in the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Linguistics from Yale University. She lives in rural Rock County, Wisconsin restoring native prairie and hanging out with a flock of laying hens.