Steering Council Nominees

Elections will take place________. Only current SAEA members can cast ballots. It is our intent to announce the new council members at the end of _______ with their terms beginning in ________.


2 year position
1 seat available

Treasure position safely keeps Association funds and accounts and is responsible for reporting receipts, expenditures, balances, and investments. They are required to accept and dispense funds as appropriate and in accordance with policies and directives of the Steering Council. Treasures are expected to present a Treasurer’s report and proposed budget for review and consideration by the members at the annual meeting each year. Lastly they are charged with collecting dues and maintaining membership records.

Selena Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University where she co-leads the Food and Health Lab. Her research, teaching, and outreach interests are at the intersection of the ecological, cultural, and health aspects of food systems. For the past 14 years, she has carried out transdisciplinary food systems research in diverse ecological and cultural contexts in China, India, Morocco, Venezuela, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and the United States with a focus on tribal and indigenous communities. She examines the socio-ecological, phytonutrient, and sensory basis of food systems from production through consumption and waste in the context of global change. Her ultimate translational goal is to develop evidence-based plans to promote biodiversity in agriculture and mitigate risk of food insecurity and diet-related chronic disease towards promoting sustainability in food systems.

Selena hopes to bring her transdisciplinary and inclusive approach to education, research, and outreach to the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association. Her teaching philosophy is founded on inquiry-based experiential education where the student is at the center of the learning process. Selena believes in the importance of a diverse education community where multiple perspectives can be holistically integrated with principles of sustainable agriculture and socio-ecological systems. She has been active in collaborating in identifying key characteristics to design and evaluate core curriculum in sustainable food systems (Valley et al. 2017; Jordan et al. 2014) as well as to design experiential education models including Farm-based Authentic Research Modules in Sustainability Sciences (Ahmed et al. 2017).


2-year position
1 seat available

The secretary is responsible for keeping full and accurate records of all business and proceedings of the Steering Council in regular and special meetings as well as general information related to Association activities. They Maintain all records and, upon leaving office, make necessary arrangements for passing on these records to the successor Secretary. The secretary also undertakes correspondence of the Association upon the direction of the Steering Council; and, prepares and distribute ballots to the voting membership, tabulate and record the votes, and notify the candidates for office and the Steering Council of the election results.

Colin Dring is currently a PhD student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Columbia and the co-chair of the British Columbia Food Systems Network – a provincial non-profit advancing food and agricultural policy and capacity development. His research interests cover: agricultural land use planning, movements for food systems change, and food justice/sovereignty. His dissertation focuses on immigrant settlers of colour who influence and shape agricultural policy in Canada. 

Teaching and learning are key opportunities to transform inequitable and unsustainable food systems. My teaching philosophy centres around the development of learners’ capacity to critically reflect and gain the skills and dispositions needed to work in contexts of uncertainty, complexity, and dissent within agri-food systems. In addition, I aim to foster the recognition that social and power relations, when hidden from analyses and education, may reproduce inequities in the distribution of benefits from sustainable agriculture and entrench existing power inequities. Sustainable agriculture education represents a unique conceptual space where learners are challenged to work across disciplines, different knowledges and ways of knowing to address ‘wicked problems’ arising from externalities in our contemporary food system. Key strengths, that would serve the association well, are my skills in juggling multiple tasks, a keen eye to detail and organizing knowledge, and building the capacity of individuals to self-advocate and articulate their needs and expectations. 

Student Representative

2-year position
2 seats available

Student Representatives maintain awareness of the diverse views, goals and objectives of the membership of the SAEA and represent these as appropriate at meetings of the Steering Council. They are required to serve as chairs or members of subcommittees. Nominated Student Representatives must be current students in any institution of higher learning when elected but may continue their appointed term past graduation.

Jennifer Nicklay is a first-year Ph.D. student in Land and Atmospheric Science at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, where she also received her B.S. in Biology (with minors in Social Justice and Global Studies). Before returning to graduate school, she worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist at Epic (a software company) and then as Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, a non-profit arts education organization. But Jennifer missed working in food and agriculture, so after a much needed 5-year break, Jennifer returned to graduate school. She is passionate about conducting research that creates knowledge to support the development of equitable and sustainable food systems. Her research is rooted in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where she is working with a team of academics, community organizations, and farmers to collaboratively explore the ecosystem services provided by urban agriculture.

As indicated by her broad professional experiences, Jennifer would bring experiences with diverse educational contexts to her role on the SAEA Steering Council. In addition to her position coordinating the full education program at the Weavers Guild, she has also coordinated community gardens, designed gardening education programs, and worked as a writing consultant at university writing centers for many years. Jennifer firmly believes that the most successful education programs are rooted in community co-creation, capacity building, and celebration of different backgrounds/experiences. SAEA members already exemplify this kind of education program delivery, and, as a member of the SAEA Steering Council, Jennifer looks forward to learning from and supporting their continued work.

Arogeanae Brown is a young woman that is driven by passion to create sustainable communities. Born in the nation’s number one agricultural spot, Arogeanae noticed the lack of resources available to her community. Where Fresno, CA consisted of multiple food deserts, poor infrastructure and more.  Arogeanae didn’t let environmental demographics control her future so she engaged in change for her community’s future, for the future generations.

Throughout high school, Arogeanae participated in organizations geared to youth involvement in policy change. On the behalf of her community, she presented at the 11th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth. She was also granted a 30,000 sustainability grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to place an urban garden within the community while serving on a council. Her consistency, along with her community, is what eventually contributed to a closing of a massive polluting rendering plant. This encouraged herself and other youth to co-found the youth based nonprofit, Building Youth Tomorrow Today.

 Arogeanae received a full ride scholarship for undergrad and has continued at Virginia Tech to earn a Master’s in Agricultural Leadership and Community Education. Through programs such as volunteer positions at local schools, being involved in on campus organizations, and spending her time attending and speaking at conferences, Arogeanae has felt fulfilled by her opportunities to give back no matter where she is placed.

If selected, I will bring a positive perspective and new approaches to build relationships with community organizations and other potential partners for greater community systems.