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Professional Development Series

This virtual workshop series is aimed for collegiate student members and early career professionals. Learn from experts in natural resources, conservation, and related STEM fields working toward a more sustainable world. Open to all! You don't have to be a MANRRS member to join.


Join us Wednesdays, 5-6PM EST

Registration required to attend each session

Time Management

Session 5

September 20, 2023



Elizabeth Galbreath is Merck Animal Health’s Senior Specialist of Future Talent Programs based in Lenexa, KS. She manages the business’s entry-level talent programs and partnerships, including National FFA, AFA, and MANRRS.

She grew up on a dairy farm in northern Maryland and received her Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Leadership and Community Education in May 2017 from Virginia Tech with an emphasis in Applied Economic Management. Since graduating from college, she has worked in youth programs, marketing, sales, agricultural education, and leader development. She has spoken to various audiences, ranging from national & state 4-H and FFA programs to TEDxVirginiaTech. Elizabeth is committed to being a reliable, authentic spokeswoman for the agriculture community and developing young people to reach their full potential.


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Ashley Collins serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association. The Association represents about 650 peanut growers in the third largest peanut producing state in the nation, North Carolina. 

She serves on various boards, including the NC Ag Foundation Board and NC FFA Foundation Board. Before joining the North Carolina Peanut Growers, Ashley’s career focused on young professionals pursuing careers in the agricultural industry. Ashley  graduated from NC State University with a bachelor of science in Agricultural Education and a master of science in Agricultural Education from North Carolina A&T State University. Throughout her career, she has managed over 75 interns and/or collegiate young professionals through ambassador programs for and Agriculture Future of America.


Effective Public Speaking

Session 6

November 29, 2023



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Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle, a dynamic conservation leader and diversity champion, was with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 40 years prior to his retirement in 2019.  He served at the Senior Executive Service (SES) level for 13 years and in his last position before retirement he served as the Service’s Assistant Director for Science Applications.  In that leadership position he fostered collaboration among federal, state and local natural resource agencies, Native American tribes, private sector and non-governmental environmental groups in order to develop and advocate the use of sound science to promote good decision-making for fish and wildlife conservation and management.

Prior to that position, Dr. Tuggle served as the Regional Director for the Southwest Region for eleven years and provided leadership and policy direction for the conservation of natural resources to 1,000 Service employees in the four-state area of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.

He began his distinguished career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1979 as the Research and Diagnostic Parasitologist at the National Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin.  In 1985, Dr. Tuggle established the first Cooperative Wildlife Unit at a Historically Black Educational Institution, Grambling State University in Louisiana.

Later, as the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chicago Field Office Supervisor, Dr. Tuggle would play an active role in creating the Chicago Wilderness Initiative and served as its first Executive Director. The Initiative was a collaboration of over 50 federal, state and local governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations. The initiative also encouraged urban populations to care about wildlife, their habitats and the preservation of open-spaces. Programs sponsored by Chicago Wilderness focused on coordinating public lands management for conservation purposes and helped bring inner-city youth in touch with nature through first-hand outdoor experiences.

Throughout his prominent career, Dr. Tuggle has been a tireless advocate for field biologists and researchers working on notable wildlife conservation issues and continues to promote the development, distribution and use of rigorous scientific information in making wildlife management decisions.  He has continued to prioritize the development of opportunities for youth, and particularly minority youth, in natural sciences and natural resources management, while emphasizing keystone values of scientific innovation, integrity and diversity.

He is currently the President of Impulse ABT, LLC, serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and is on the National Board of Conservation Without Conflict.

Combatting Imposter Syndrome

Session 7

January 24, 2024 



Dr. Thomas R. Easley has spent most of his career as a diversity professional. As a diversity professional he has focused on the recruitment, retention and diverse talent in natural resource disciplines. Easley is the Assistant Dean of Community and Inclusion in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.


Dr. Carlos Ortiz is a National Program Leader at USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Makayla Brister is a Federal Relations Manager with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Dr. Katherine Dentzman portrait

Dr. Katherine Dentzman is an assistant professor in Rural Sociology and Rural Public Policy in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Iowa State University. Her areas of Specialization include: Sociology of Agriculture, Environmental Sociology, Pest Resistance, Community Management, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Mixed Methods, Grantsmanship


Creating Your Personal Mission

Session 8

February 21, 2024



Brandon currently serves as the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Syngenta North America and most recently finished his tenure as the inaugural Executive in Residence of Organizational Development and Culture with the National FFA.

For more than a decade, he has partnered with leaders to design, deliver and implement equity, diversity and inclusion interventions across the civic, public and private sectors. Subscribing to the philosophy that change, equity and innovation are found at the junction of policy and practice, Brandon takes a systemic and human-centered approach to his work to deliver tailored, sustainable solutions.

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