Sook Jin Ong
Sook Jin Ong brings her passion and practice in blending human-centered design and systems thinking to be in service of building stronger, more just, and equitable food systems. She is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank based in Minnesota. In her role, she supports the organization’s efforts internally and externally to live into its commitment to center DEI in its work to end hunger together. Her career spans years of consulting with state agencies, local governments, and nonprofit organizations through rethinking and redesigning their human services programs, processes, and policies to be more equitable and centers the perspectives of families, frontline staff, and communities. Sook Jin comes from the multicultural city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Now having called Minnesota home for more than a decade, she has learned to cook with the best of what's abundant seasonally and culturally in this beautiful and vibrant agricultural state.
Dina Horwedel is a communications professional with more than 30 years of
experience in marketing communications, public relations, journalism, media
policy, and law. She combines her communications and legal expertise in her
work for magazines, trade associations, Fortune 500 corporations, technology
start-ups, education institutions, and international non-governmental
She began her career in journalism after graduating from Bowling Green State
University in 1986 with Bachelor of Science Degree cum laude, where she
funded her education with scholarships, loans, and several jobs in
communications including various editorial roles with the student newspaper, the
student entertainment magazine, the university public relations office, and an
internship with the Associated Press covering political conventions.
After working as an associate editor for a national education trade magazine
(Instructor), she joined the team at the National Association of College Stores
(NACS) in 1990 as a curriculum specialist and communications professional
while attending law school at Cleveland Marshall College of Law, with a focus on
first amendment law. She graduated and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1994.
At NACS, Horwedel served on its diversity team, with a focus on federal and
state employment laws and the newly passed Americans with Disabilities Act and
trained staff, the board of trustees, and member organizations on compliance
through in-person and remote, online instruction.
Horwedel also served on a team with strategic organization partners, including
the American Booksellers Association, to write amicus briefs concerning readers’
rights to privacy under the first amendment. The case was decided in favor of the
Horwedel continued her work for NACS in an expanded capacity that
encompassed legal issues. She also worked as a volunteer for the American
Civil Liberties Union, focusing on first amendment freedom of assembly cases
and its Ohio Prison Project, which investigated claims of eighth amendment
violations (cruel and unusual punishment) with regard to solitary confinement,
prison conditions, and the unlawful withholding of medication from prisoners.
Horwedel relocated to Colorado in 1998, where she continued her work with
NACS as a consultant while serving in various marketing and communications
roles in technology companies. She worked for a Fortune 500 company (EDS),
where she headed internal and community communications and oversaw a
communications team responsible for outreach to 100,000 employees worldwide,
and for itechnology start-ups. She grew her client base over the years to include
the United States Association for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, the College Board, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Secret Service, Gainshare Media, and
various editorial clients.
In 2003 Horwedel expanded her intercultural and advocacy work overseas. In
Yerevan, Armenia she worked as a media and marketing consultant for the
United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) International
Research and Exchange Board (IREX), conducting media training with resident
journalists. She also served as an editor and marketing consultant for the online
newspaper Armenianow.com, an instructor at the Caucuses Media Institute, as a
volunteer advisor working with Article XIX Global Campaign for Free Expression and
the Armenian parliament for media reform laws, and as an Organization for
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) election observer.
In 2004 Horwedel was admitted to the Colorado bar and later joined the London-
based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) which works to establish
free and independent media in post-conflict countries. Based in Kabul,
Afghanistan, she traveled across the nation to work with journalists and
development officials to create a sustainable national news agency, Pajhwok
Afghan News, run by and for Afghans. Her role included creating the marketing
and communications plan and training programs for the launch of the agency,
assertiveness training programs for women journalists, grantwriting and
fundraising, and public relations with the embassies and military communications
arms of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations (Norway,
Sweden, Canada, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand) which carried out the
multinational military mission in Afghanistan pursuant to the United Nations
Security Council Resolution from October 2001 to 2014. Pajhwok Afghan News
still operates to this day.
From 2005-2006 Horwedel assisted with IWPR’s launch of Uganda Radio
Network (URN) network in Kampala, Uganda, during the nation’s presidential
election. The URN news agency is still operational and covers human rights and
In 2006 after returning to the United States, Horwedel joined the University of
Wyoming public relations office to lead its alumni magazine and public relations
communications for the allied health and pharmacy programs and the multi-state
medical education program WWAMI (states wwho are participate with the
University of Washington School of Medicine: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska,
Montana and Idaho).
In 2007 Horwedel joined the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund)
as the director of public education, where she works to create awareness of the
need for equitable access to higher education for American Indian and Alaska
Native (AIAN) students and the tribal colleges and universities that serve Native
communities. She oversees public relations, media relations, and organizational
messaging with the general public, Native communities, and government
Dr. Olga U. Bolden-Tiller
Dr. Olga U. Bolden-Tiller serves as the Dean for the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) at Tuskegee University (TU) as well as the 1890 Research Director. She holds a BS degree in Agricultural Sciences (Animal Sciences) from Fort Valley State University and a PhD degree in Animal Sciences (Reproductive Biology) from the University of Missouri- Columbia where she matriculated as an USDA-National Needs Fellow. Dr. Bolden-Tiller continued her training at the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center as an NIH Fellow in Reproductive Biology. In 2005, she joined Tuskegee University as an Assistant Professor. Prior to obtaining her current position, Dr. Bolden-Tiller served as the Coordinator for the Animal, Poultry and Veterinary Sciences Program, Assistant Dean of Development for CAENS as well as the Assistant Head for DAES. In these roles, Dr. Bolden-Tiller established numerous partnerships with a variety of domestic and international organizations supporting Tuskegee University’s efforts to build collaborations that promote Sustainable Agriculture Research, Teaching and Extension. Dr. Bolden-Tiller served as the Director for the NSF funded Integrative Biosciences Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Tuskegee University for almost eight years and directed several summer pre-college programs, including AgriTREK, AgDiscovery, SciTREK, FNR-TREK and DiscoveryTREK for over a decade. She also currently serves as the co-director for an USDA funded Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates, the State Coordinator for the Alabama Youth Institute held in collaboration with the World Food Prize Foundation oversees TU’s Tomorrow’s Agricultural Professionals Symposium and the current Past President for the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She is also the Tuskegee University Lead for the 1890 Center of Excellence to Motivate and Educate for Achievement/Student Success and Workforce Development. In addition to her administrative duties described above and teaching duties, which include Introductory Animal Sciences, Reproductive Physiology, Advanced Reproductive Physiology, and Domestic Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Dr. Bolden-Tiller maintains a small, but robust research program that focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of gonadal function in rodents and ruminants, with a particularly emphasis on the testis. Her research and training programs are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, HHMI, and the state of Alabama (Alabama Agricultural Land Grant Alliance). Collectively, Dr. Bolden-Tiller has served as a research mentor for over 60 high school, undergraduate and graduate (MS and PhD) students. She is the author/co-author of numerous of refereed journal articles and conference proceedings and is an active member of numerous professional societies, serving in leadership roles in many, including the National Society of MANRRS (President [current-past], President-Elect and Historian); American Society of Animal Sciences; National Goat Consortium (Founding Member and Program Committee) and the Society for the Study of Reproduction (Board Member; Public Affairs Committee Liaison and Past Trainee Representative). For her contributions, Dr. Bolden-Tiller has received several awards, including the TU College of Agriculture, Environmental and Natural Sciences’ Faculty Performance Award for Service (2008, 2017) and Teaching (2010) as well as the Russell Brown Distinguished Scientist Award (2013). She is also recognized as an Opportunities for UnderRepresented Scholars (OURS) Fellow and is an alumnus of the LEAD21 Program, the Fielding/Conclave Leadership Academy as well as the Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellows Program.