CFAES Give Today
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


2024 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Speaker Series

The CFAES Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series invites distinguised speakers to address a variety of DEI topics related to the disciplines of food, agricultural, and environmental sciences. The speaker series strives to center the voices of people from minoritized populations to advance equity and inclusion within CFAES and our communities. All events are free and open to the public.


Please save the dates so you can join us for all events! All sessions except our special events on Nov. 16 will take place on Zoom from 12:00 pm-1:15 pm ET on the third Thursdays of select months (see schedule below). Each session will involve a presentation and Q&A. See below for titles, descriptions, speaker bios, and registration links. To receive direct communications about upcoming DEI programs, please sign up for the monthly CFAES DEI Newsletter.


2024 Speaker Series Overview (click titles to view details)

Mar. 21 Glennon Sweeney Food Systems Inequity in the United States: How Land Use and Development Policy Drive Food Insecurity in Urban Areas 
May 16

Janice Person

Cultivating Understanding: Engaging with Opposing Views in Agricultural Discussions

Jun. 20 Joyce Chen Climate Migration: Human Migration as an Adaptive Response to Climate Change
Jul. 18

Chad Duplain 

Cheryl Martinez

Indigenous Right Relations: Shifting Power and Land Forward


Mary Gardiner

Alice Laciny

Sara Lalk

Neurodivergence and Entomology: A Panel Discussion

Oct. 17 LaPorchia Collins

Contemporary Differences in U.S. Farm Financial Performance by Race: Does Farm Size Matter?

Nov. 21 Natasha Myhal

Understanding the History of Ecology and Imperialism: The Importance of Indigenous Environmental Studies


Descriptions and Speaker Bios


Food Systems Inequity in the United States: How Land Use and Development Policy Drive Food Insecurity in Urban Areas 

March 21st 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET
Glennon Sweeney
Senior Community Outreach Analyst, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University


Focusing on twentieth century land use and development policies, this talk will delve into the intersections of land use/development policy and food justice in metropolitan areas. Touching on issues related to food access, justice, and sovereignty, we will explore how land use policies designed to disenfranchise people of color from property ownership are connected to current conditions in disinvested urban neighborhoods that lack healthy food and safe streets. This talk will connect Black rural land loss with urban disinvestment and apartheid.

About the speaker:

Glennon Sweeney is a Senior Community Outreach Analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity whose expertise lies at the intersection of land use and development policy and metropolitan segregation, with an emphasis on suburban spaces and food justice. Glennon works to build strategic partnerships that advance the Kirwan Institute’s community-engaged research strategy and serves in a translational capacity to underserved communities by providing workshops, webinars, and local history tours in order to bring the Institute’s research alive for non-academic communities. Glennon has been at the Kirwan Institute since 2012, serving as a graduate research assistant before becoming part of Kirwan’s research team in 2016. Glennon’s work has been published in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Planning Literature, and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, among others. Glennon received her BA in Geography and Political Science as well as her MA in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University. She is currently a PhD candidate in the university’s planning department with expected graduation in 2024.

Click here to watch the replay


Cultivating Understanding: Engaging with Opposing Views in Agricultural Discussions

May 16th 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

Janice Person 
Grounded Communications


There used to be rules of engagement that were generally accepted in written communications as well as personal interactions. But reality has shifted and now, any of us can find ourselves in the center of controversy whether it’s from anonymous trolls online or in person with someone who takes issue with things central to our very being. In this interactive talk, Janice Person, an expert in agricultural communication, will share lessons learned when she worked at Monsanto on technologies such as genetically modified organisms that some people found controversial or confusing. Using agricultural communication as an example, Janice will outline ways to approach people who hold divergent views in ways that can make conversations less stressful and even productive.

About the speaker:

For the past decade Janice Person, owner of Grounded Communications, has been building bridges inside agriculture and from ag to the general public. She focuses on public speaking, training and working on projects with clients who seek her unique approach. She was recently inducted into the Ag Relations Hall of Fame based on her contributions to communications and outreach, many of those in a pioneering role of connecting to food and family influencers while at Monsanto. 

A member of the National Speakers Association, Janice has built programs to build understanding for each side of the urban and rural gap. Her podcast. Grounded by the Farm, shares stories about producing food visiting farms and sharing audio and video growing avocados or wagyu beef. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri today but every winter thinks more seriously about moving further south.

Click here to register for Janice Person's talk


Climate Migration: Human Migration as an Adaptive Response to Climate Change

June 20th 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

Joyce Chen 
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University


This talk provides an overview of how climate change is affecting human migration in Bangladesh. As climate change progresses, so does the need to understand adaptation mechanisms. Migration is only one of several possible adaptation mechanisms, but it is an extreme response. We discuss who is affected by climate change and how, what prompts migration, who can migrate, who may be forced to migrate, and the implications for equity and inclusion.

About the speaker:

Dr. Joyce Chen is a development and labor economist with research interests in migration, climate resilience, human capital, and diversity, equity and inclusion. She joined the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University in 2022. Previously, she was on faculty with Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, where she started as an Assistant Professor in 2007, received tenure in 2017, and was promoted to Professor in 2022. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.

Click here to register for Joyce Chen's talk


Indigenous Right Relations: Shifting Power and Land Forward

July 18th 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

  • Chad Duplain, Senior Associate Director of Corporate Relations (Midwest), The Nature Conservancy
  • Cheryl Martinez, Global Director of Development, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, The Nature Conservancy


This talk will provide an overview of efforts by The Nature Conservancy to support the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples throughout North America, with a few examples of how they have engaged locally in the land now called “Ohio.” There are currently 45 federally recognized tribal governments that have historical and ancestral connections to the land in Ohio. This talk will describe why stewardship by Indigenous Peoples often achieves better outcomes for our lands, waters, and climate than non-Indigenous stewards. The speakers will provide an overview of The Nature Conservancy's efforts to elevate and center Indigenous partners' voices and choices as the original stewards of the land. Opportunities for allyship will be addressed including Gifting Power and what this means as we think of land. 

About the speakers:

Chad Duplain is Senior Associate Director of Corporate Relations for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), where he has worked for 6 years to connect The Nature Conservancy's key conservation initiatives through partnership, philanthropy, and relationship building. His role is designed to help TNC reach their most ambitious 2030 goals for our climate, waters, oceans, biodiversity, and people alike. In addition, Chad graduated from The Ohio State University, where he received his degree in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife and has an immense passion for inspiring key conservation outcomes for our planet and nature. He recently married his partner, Matthew, and enjoys volleyball, bird watching, traveling, gardening, and long walks in Clintonville, Ohio with their dog, Finnigan.

From 2022 to 2023, Chad worked closely with The Nature Conservancy’s Global DEI Officer, James Page, and the Global DEI Team through a fellowship to continue to build TNC’s philanthropic muscle on the GDEI team, lay a framework for equitable engagement, and develop case studies of what values-based philanthropy looks like.

Click here to register for Chad Duplain's talk


Neurodivergence and Entomology: A Panel Discussion

September 19th 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

  • Dr. Mary Gardiner, Professor of Entomology, The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Alice Laciny, Entomologist, Konrad Lorenz Institute, Austria
  • Sara Lalk, Forest Health Research Operations Manager, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services



Join us for a special panel discussion about the intersection of neurodivergence and entomology. Speakers in various stages of their careers will describe not just the challenges they have faced as neurodivergent entomologists, but also the unique skills and interests they posses because of their neurodivergence. Speakers will discuss a variety of neurodivergent conditions including dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, and ADHD. Attendees are encouraged to read Why Neurodiversity and Entomology So Often Go Together, written by one of the speakers.

About the speakers:

Dr. Mary Gardiner received her Ph.D. in 2008 and is a Professor in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University. Gardiner's Urban Insect Ecology Lab focuses on the ecology and conservation value of urban green spaces including parks, residential sites and vacant land. Much of this research occurs in legacy cities, which are characterized by long-term economic disinvestment and shrinking populations. Current research studies are examining the potential of park reforestation to provide tree-derived ecosystem services, the ability of front yard gardens in lower income neighborhoods to improve bee health and human well being, and the value of municipal greening rebate programs for insect conservation in cities. Mary is also a State Specialist in Extension who involves volunteers in research as community scientists and is active in the Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer Program and Entomology 4H. She teaches graduate courses in presentation skills and grant writing. 

In 2015, she released a book focused on natural enemies and their role in biological control in home gardens titled: Good Garden Bugs: Everything You Need to Know about Beneficial Predatory Insects.

Dr. Alice Laciny is an Austrian entomologist with a PhD from the University of Vienna. Her passions include ants (exploding or otherwise), parasites, neurodiversity in academia, and science education. She enjoys communicating her scientific research through creative writing, such as poetry or short stories for adults and children. She is the author of the Psyche opinion piece Why Neurodiversity and Entomology So Often Go Together

Sara Lalk has been active with forest health surveys and research since 2013. She focused on rapid white oak mortality and Armillaria spp. bioluminescence during her undergraduate career, and transitioned to USDA APHIS PPQ's Pennsylvania Spotted Lanternfly Program following graduation. She is currently a full-time graduate student pursuing a PhD at Clemson University in the Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department with research focusing on invasive species program success predictors. Sara also serves as a full-time Forest Health Research Operations Manager for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services where she monitors invasive species' management programs.

Click here to register for the neurodivergence and entomology panel discussion


Contemporary Differences in U.S. Farm Financial Performance by Race: Does Farm Size Matter?

October 17th 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

LaPorchia Collins, Research Agricultural Economist, USDA Economic Research Service

Description: What are the similarities and differences across farms operated by producers of different races? This talk examines whether farm financial performance differs among farms operated by White, Black, and Native American producers. Black and Native American farmers, in particular, have struggled to hold on to farmland over the last century. The talk will explore the historical context in which these farms operate and highlight observed racial differences in performance for farms that engage in beef cattle production, an industry in which a large share of Black and Native American producers specialize. The findings will be placed in the broader context of other work examining socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

About the speaker:

Dr. LaPorchia Collins is a Research Agricultural Economist in the Market and Trade Economics Division for the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS). At ERS, she examines issues affecting the U.S. livestock, dairy, and poultry industries. Her research covers topics related to food security, inequality, and the environment. Prior to joining ERS, Dr. Collins served as a Professor of Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Economics at Tulane University. Her research has been published in high-impact, applied economic and interdisciplinary journals such as The American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Applied Economics Perspectives and Policy, Empirical Economics, and Applied Geography, among others. She earned her doctoral degree in agricultural, environmental, and development economics from The Ohio State University and bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Southern University and A&M College.

Click here to register for LaPorchia Collins' talk


Understanding the History of Ecology and Imperialism: The Importance of Indigenous Environmental Studies

November 21st 2024 – 12:00pm-1:15pm ET

Natasha Myhal, Provost's Fellow - Assistant Professor of Indigenous Environmental Studies in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University


The environment drives many conversations about what it means to be human and how to live in our world today. Indigenous peoples have protected their environments since time immemorial and continue to in the face of climate change. Yet their work is seldomly acknowledged. This talk will outline the rapidly growing academic field of Indigenous Environmental Studies. It will shed light on the origins of European ecological sciences and their connections to imperialism and encourage the audience to grapple with those legacies today. Dr. Natasha Myhal from the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) will discuss the Indigenous Environmental Studies courses created for SENR, highlighting the benefits of diverse perspectives and diverse ways of experiencing the world in conversations about the environment. To move forward in a new and equitable way, Indigenous solutions and voices need to be front and center.

About the speaker:

Dr. Natasha Myhal is a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She is a Provost's Fellow - Assistant Professor of Indigenous Environmental Studies at The Ohio State University. At Ohio State, she is also an American Indian Studies collaborative faculty member in the Center for Ethnic Studies. Before joining the School of Environment and Natural Resources, she was the 2022-2023 Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Fellow at Yale University, hosted by American Studies and the Yale Group for the Study of Native America. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching centers on three areas: Anishinaabe epistemologies and value systems such as mino-bimaadiziwin (living well), contemporary forms of Indigenous governance, Indigenous environmental restoration, and cultural practices.

Click here to register for Natasha Myhal's talk