New CANR Alumni Association board officers and executive committee members elected

The CANR Alumni Association held officer and executive committee elections at is fall board meeting.

Photo left to right top row: Valerie Wright, Jennifer Whitford, Lisa Woodke, and bottom row: Leslie Siefka and Jason Smith.
CANR Alumni Association officers elected Sept. 20 were: (left to right, top row) president Valerie Wright, past president Jennifer Whitford, president-elect Lisa Woodke, and (bottom row) secretary Leslie Siefka and treasurer Jason Smith.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Alumni Association held officer and executive committee elections at its fall board meeting Sept. 20.

Board members serve as advisors to the college’s alumni officer regarding alumni programming, as well as liaisons between the college, the academic departments, the alumni and agriculture and natural resources industries.

Valerie Wright, president


Valerie Wright, Kalamazoo, now serves as the CANR Alumni Association (CANRAA) president. She is a 1989 interior design graduate and represents the CANR School of Planning, Design and Construction. She has served as a principal for the last nine years and is the senior interior designer at Diekema Hamann Architecture. Wright is also the current president of the MSU Interior Design Advisory Board.

Jennifer Whitford, past president


Jennifer Whitford, of Alma, is the past president and represents the CANRAA as an at-large representative on the board. Jennifer serves as a vice president of traditional lending at GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Alma. Prior to joining GreenStone, she was a regional representative for Michigan Farm Bureau. Whitford is a 2001 CANR graduate with an MSU degree in agribusiness management with a specialization in environmental economics.

Lisa Woodke, president-elect


President-elect is Lisa Woodke, Frankenmuth, a 2002 CANR graduate representing the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. She is the sustainability director for Star of the West Milling Company in Frankenmuth. Previously, she was a sales representative for Mycogen Seeds, Dow AgroSciences and Syngenta Seeds. Woodke received her bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management from MSU.

Leslie Siefka, secretary


Secretary is Leslie Siefka, University Center, a 1997 Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) agribusiness management graduate and a 2001 agriculture and natural resources communications graduate, represents the CANR IAT program on the board. She also received an MBA from Baker College. Siefka currently serves as a regional program coordinator for the MSU IAT program at Delta College. Her previous experience includes at several universities and colleges in student recruitment, alumni and donor relations and teaching communication and leadership courses.

Jason Smith, treasurer


Jason Smith, Sault Sainte Marie, serves as an at-large member of the executive committee and represents the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife on the board. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fisheries and wildlife from MSU in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Currently, Smith serves as a fisheries assessment biologist for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The CANR Alumni Association promotes and supports the college by fostering a fraternal spirit among CANR alumni; promoting and supporting the college among current and prospective students, fellow alumni and other stakeholders of the college; offering opportunities to network with and learn from our outstanding faculty and other alumni; and supporting CANR students through the Distinguished Undergraduate Scholarships program. Learn more at:

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