Symposium 2017-18 LogoFood Symposium 2017-18

Friday, March 23, 2018
The Shaw Center - Carol Hall




Speaker Profiles


Amy NelmsAmy Nelms

Amy Nelms is a Food Access Coordinator at LiveWell Colorado, a food justice advocate and environmentally focused social worker. She graduated from Graceland University in 2014 with a Bachelors in Human Services and obtained a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2015, with concentrations in Community Organizing and Social Policy and Evaluation. 
Amy now resides in and manages Colorado's statewide Double Up Food Bucks program. You can also find her in the garden, at the capitol building, and in her own kitchen cooking yummy food. 



Hartzel Circle HeadshotRobert Hartzler, PhD

Bob Hartzler is a Professor of Weed Science in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University. A native of Indiana, he earned a BS in IPM at Purdue University, an MS in Plant Physiology at Virginia Tech and a PhD in Crop Physiology at Iowa State University. After a brief stent on the faculty at Penn State University, Dr. Hartzler returned to Iowa State University in 1989 with responsibilities in Extension, teaching and research. He was awarded the ‘Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions’ in 2017 for efforts at minimizing the impact of Palmer amaranth introductions via contaminated seed of native species used in conservation plantings across Iowa. His interests lie in identifying traits that allow weeds to thrive in spite of farmers’ efforts and promoting the diversification of weed management systems. Dr. Hartzler is active in the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium - his research documented the dramatic decline in milkweed present in crop fields following the introduction of glyphosate resistant crops.  Visit his website at


TabithaJerome Circle HeadshotTabitha Watson and Jerome Reimers

Tabitha Watson is a freshman at Graceland University studying nursing and Spanish. She joined the sustainability program to exercise her passionate drive to make positive sustainable changes in her community. Tabitha plans to use sustainability in her two fields of learning by focusing on food security and a healthier, more sustainable way of growing food for those in need. Tabitha is a student worker in the Sodexo bakery and looks forward to launching the Campus Kitchens Project at Graceland to help eliminate food waste in the commons.

Jerome Reimers started this year as a sophomore majoring in biology with minors in both chemistry and environmental science. His true passion lies with environmental science and plans to pursue this field upon graduating. Jerome is part of the Graceland University baseball team, which is what lead him to Graceland all the way from the country town of Mildura, Australia. With experience working on a citrus orchard in Australia, Jerome realizes what is involved in producing and maintaining food security from a contrasting perspective. He joined Graceland’s sustainability program after he saw the impact of human interaction with the environment, eager to make an effort to challenge the approach humans have to caring for our planet.


Wist Circle HeadshotAllie Wist

Allison Wist is an artist, art director and researcher whose work is anchored in food culture, food systems and our environment. She creates narratives through visual and experiential expressions which re-examine our food identities and histories. Wist is currently an art director at Saveur magazine, an American food and travel publication, and is an adjunct professor in NYU's food studies program. She holds an MA in food studies from NYU and a BA in communications and design from Boston University. Her work was most recently featured in Promopress' Food Futures: Sensory Explorations in Food Design and at SITRA's "Future of Circular Food" conference in Helsinki. You can learn more about her work at


Bill Menner

Bill Menner

Bill Menner is founder of The Bill Menner Group, a consulting firm focused on community development, rural partnerships and economic vitality. Previous to the creation of his firm in 2017, Menner served the Obama Administration as Iowa's state director of USDA Rural Development where he oversaw an organization providing support for housing, community facility, energy and businesses across rural Iowa.  Between 2009 and 2017, Rural Development invested more than $5 billion in loans and grants in rural communities in Iowa.

Prior to his White House appointment to the USDA, Menner served as executive director of Poweshiek Iowa Development, a county-wide economic development organization based in Grinnell. In addition to acting as the county economic development director, he led downtown development, historic preservation and tourism efforts in the City of Grinnell. 

Menner also spent 14 years as a public radio reporter, seven covering government and politics - including the 1992 and 1996 Iowa caucuses. He is the author of two books about Grinnell, one of which tells the story of the Merchants National Bank, a national historic landmark designed by the legendary architect Louis Sullivan.  

Menner is an active volunteer, serving on numerous boards and commissions. He has been a member of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center board of trustees since 2009, serving as chair from 2013-2015 and is the current chair-elect. Menner is also chair-elect of the Iowa Rural Health Association, a board member for the Partnership for Rural America, the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grin City Arts Collective. He was recently elected to a two-year term on the American Hospital Association's Committee on Governance.

Kristin Seemuth Whaley, PhDSeemuth Whaley Circle Headshot

Dr. Kristin Seemuth Whaley is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Graceland University. She earned a BA in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in the nature of human persons and teaches philosophy classes in the Essential Education curriculum, including Environmental Ethics. Dr. Seemuth Whaley was a "Teacher Ranked as Excellent" for every class she taught and was ranked four times in the top 10% of instructors at the University of Illinois prior to her appointment at Graceland. She has recently presented her research at the Illinois Philosophical Association and the Minnesota Philosophical Society and chaired a symposium at the American Philosophical Association's February meeting. At Graceland, Dr. Seemuth Whaley participated in the Reformation 500 Interdisciplinary Roundtable and co-hosted an interfaith event, "What is Spirituality?'' with Matt Frizzell. You can learn more about her work at