Dr. Rasheeda Hawk is a biophysicist who works at the intersection of science, education, and well-being. Though most scientists look at the causes for the pathogenesis of diseases, Dr. Hawk’s research includes preventative and restorative measures towards health. Her research focus includes environmental factors that affect health, the well-being of people from the physical down to the molecular levels, and the interface of the two.
As a scientist, Dr. Hawk’s research applications have been used to address health issues such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and child and maternal health in developing countries. Her findings have caught international attention through the interest of the First Lady of Mali and the U.S. Ambassador from Niger. Notably, Dr. Hawk’s research has identified epigenetic changes on the breast cancer gene “braca.” Her research findings are promising as they will allow for diagnostic breast cancer screenings to detect the possibility of cancer a decade before breast cancer markers appear in the blood.
As an educator, Dr. Hawk’s focus is to lessen achievement and opportunity gaps by working with African American, Latinx, and first generation college students. With an understanding of how K-12 schools with limited resources leave students vastly under-prepared for college, Dr. Hawk assists other educators in developing relevant STEM curriculum and instruction. She also teaches biology, anatomy, physiology and scientific research courses in affordable educational institutions like community colleges. To further integrate academia with community-centered practices, Dr. Hawk recently created a “Living Lab,” a real-life innovative space in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, where community members can address current community problems by developing and testing possible solutions.
Dr. Hawk holds her doctorate in Biophysics and Physiology from the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Claire has always been fond of the outdoors, and curious about our diverse ecosystems. She gained a passion for sustainability while attending Western Washington University and later took a focus in food systems after working on organic farms and in produce sales.
Aiming to know more about creating change in our food systems, she completed a Master’s in Food and Agriculture Law and Policy at Vermont Law School, and furthered her experience in sustainable farming while serving with AmeriCorps. Her passion for sustainability and food system transparency brought her to the Non-GMO Project, where she’s excited to contribute to the Standards and Verification team.
Outside of the office you can find her hiking, biking, exploring new recipes, and curling up with her two cats.
During her teenage years Alissa began interacting with the concepts of food systems, justice, and planetary and human health via disruptor documentaries of the day such as Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Super Size Me, and of course, a host of Michael Pollan literature. She was startled to find that she was never taught about these issues in her conventional school education. This awakening led to a holistic lifestyle shift at the time—much to the dismay of her midwestern family. That shift stuck and over the years has morphed into a full-blown passion for conscious consumerism, slow-process goods, awareness, transparency, and advocacy that informs everything about how she lives her life.
After graduating college with a degree in Visual Journalism and gaining career experience via a host of community-based marketing jobs, she was ready to take a deeper dive into the food justice and transparency issues that inspired her from the start. She was thrilled to have found a fitting position at the Non-GMO Project.
When not at work, you can find Alissa perusing local farmers markets, curled up with a coffee and a book, or off exploring with her dog, Willow.
Kia Ruiz is an environmental and economic resiliency consultant in the Denver area. Kia earned her B.S. in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University. She holds certificates in Graduate Teaching from Florida International University and GIS with a focus on pedagogy. Her passion has been in conveying scientific information to non-scientific audiences. In 2014, Kia was a strategist, new media coordinator, and interim Director of the Colorado GMO Labeling effort.
Kia dedicates her time to her sankalpa of connecting people to the earth, each other, and themselves to interdependently support all of us going forward. She is a lead teacher for GirlTrek’s Gardeners, the nation’s largest health-oriented non-profit for Black women. Her love of the outdoors finds many expressions: Kia is a Sierra Club hike leader, and she is active with Latino Outdoors, with whom she earned her Wilderness First Aid certification.
Kia is Ngäble-Bugle, Black, and Seminole with more exploring to do as her family was far-flung in African and American diasporas. Kia serves on her city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee where she works with the city’s strategic plan to guide sustainability efforts and recommendations. Kia also chairs the JEDI efforts at her children’s public Waldorf charter school. Kia is also a yoga teacher, meditation teacher, herbalist, permaculturist, photographer, and conservationist who balances her brain with as much time outside as she possibly can.
Craig grew up on a small farm in Oregon where he developed an appreciation for sustainable and healthy foods and a love for the outdoors. After college, he joined the Peace Corps and worked with small farmers in Latvia, helping them adapt to a new economic system and go organic. He is excited to bring a passion for sustainable agriculture to his work with the Non-GMO Project.
After earning his MBA, Craig managed the local office of an NGO in Azerbaijan before deciding to return to the US and settle back in the Northwest. For the past twenty years, he has served in corporate finance and strategy roles with a number of companies including Starbucks, Brooks and T-Mobile. Craig believes we all have a right to know what is in our food so we can make informed choices about what we consume, and he is eager to apply his skills and experience toward the Project’s mission.
Outside of work, Craig enjoys travel, hiking, skiing, standup paddle-boarding and hanging out with his daughters. He currently serves on the board of a Seattle non-profit providing adult education to immigrants and refugees.
Originally from the North coast of California, Oryx has been in Bellingham since 2010, drawn to the area by family connections. In previous roles Oryx has had the opportunity to balance the practical and the philosophical, and the fascinating and often unexpected overlap between them. This love of duality and intersection is what drew Oryx to Human Resources.
Coming from a family of activists, artists, authors, and regenerative farmers, the Non-GMO Project has been a household name for Oryx since its beginning during her teen years. The opportunity to become part of the Project was one that she couldn’t pass up! Outside of work, Oryx is an oil painter, knitter, and general homebody who loves nothing more than to be with her husband and baby, and their ridiculous dog.
As the daughter of an agricultural economist/author and a graphic designer, Jade thrives in the space where food, analytics, and a well-delivered design collide. Since 2004, Jade has covered the food system working locally in regenerative agriculture, farm wholesale, the natural foods industry, micro-distribution, food policy, sales, marketing, and most of the spaces in between.
Jade holds a BA in Food Systems, with a dual minor in Environmental Policy and Entrepreneurship, and a Master’s in Public Administration. She most recently had the great pleasure of providing communications for the Nooksack Indian Tribe, whose ancestral lands we work and live on today. One big thing: Make the world a better place. Every. Single. Day.
Born in Jordan but raised in Seattle, Salah has always been a huge proponent of championing diversity through education. He holds both a BA in Marketing from Seattle University and a MS in Digital Media Marketing from Gonzaga. During his time there, Salah focused his research on relationship marketing and its influence on consumer purchase decisions.
Prior the Non-GMO Project, Salah had worked in the automotive remarketing industry for five years, where he had specialized in B2B marketing. During his time there, he was able to develop himself as a strategic digital marketer and learned the importance of client relationship building. Alongside that, Salah had also worked for NAGAT, a nonprofit based in Jordan, which focuses on gender inequality and reproductive rights. While serving as a research assistant, Salah was able to find his passion for helping the marginalized and being an advocate for change. These experiences and passions have led him to the Non-GMO Project, where he now serves as the B2B Marketing Manager.
In his free time, Salah enjoys traveling, playing soccer with friends, and walking his dogs Shadow and Rain.
I moved to the United States in 2010, landed in the Pacific Northwest, and fell in love with the beautiful outdoor/indoor activities it has to offer. I am a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a BA in Human Resource Management and a minor in Economics. I am very passionate about advocating for Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion initiatives, and discussions and strive to apply that in both my professional and personal life.
Prior to joining the Non-GMO Project, I worked as a Recruiter & Human Resource Generalist at a health care agency in Lynwood. I am excited to apply my experience in working in HR and also as an Equity Educator towards the project’s mission. Outside of work, you will find me spending time with siblings, friends or trying out different cuisines
Mckenna grew up in eastern Washington, in a small town known for its apples. In search of evergreens and the ocean, she moved to Bellingham to study at Western Washington University.
Her interest in non-gmo, local, and organic food stems from her passion for wellness. While studying bio-cultural diversity in Nepal, she became interested in understanding cultural differences in wellness practices, and local food sources, and how to preserve those differences to allow people to thrive in their unique environments.
She obtained her degree in Management Information Systems from Western Washington University and enjoys working with, and gaining insight from data. She is excited to contribute these skills to support the project’s mission to empower people to take better care of themselves, their environments, and their communities.
Growing up as a global nomad, Shruti's had an interest in mission-driven organizations. While in grad school, the clean label movement sparked Shruti's curiosity to study the shift in purchase behavior as consumers demand cleaner and transparent ingredients without compromising on quality and nutritional benefits. Through this, Shruti soon found her way to the Non-GMO Project.
In her role, Shruti is looking forward to leveraging digital best practices to help drive key marketing objectives. As a digital marketer, Shruti thrives working in a cross-functional environment and wearing different hats.
Aside from work, Shruti enjoys taking strolls, being outdoors, and exploring local coffee shops.
Growing up in the hills and forests of upstate NY I had a love for the outdoors from a young age. Curiosity, and a need to see more of the world brought me to the Pacific Northwest and lovely Bellingham. A lifelong snow lover, I was blown away by the mountains and spent the next decade at Mt. Baker Ski area working on my goggle tan. I studied Environmental Policy at Western Washington University eager to join the effort to preserve the fragile ecosystems that have brought me so much joy. I look forward to this opportunity to work with like minded people and serve our global community.
Born in the Puget Sound to a family of Scandinavian fishermen and foodies, James has an inherent, deep-seated passion for all things food and the land that provides it. At the surface, his educational path has led him to explore other avenues, from a BSc. in Finance from BI University in Oslo to an MSc. in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Nevertheless, his professional and personal experiences have remained rooted in the food space, and he
has naturally sought ways to intersect these experiences with his educational pursuits.
Before joining the Non-GMO Project, James worked with an Oslo-based restaurant chain developed in collaboration with a global charity organization to create a “buy one, give one” model addressing food insecurity among school-aged children in Africa. In this role, James crafted marketing programs to scale the company’s social and environmental impact and educate local populations about the role consumer choice plays in the ecological and social facets of the food system.
After many years abroad, James made his way back to the Pacific Northwest to join the Non-GMO Project. His work at the Project encompasses program refinement and expansion while simultaneously integrating pathways to broaden and deepen the Project’s impact on people and the planet.
In his spare time, you can find James cooking, pickling, baking bread, sewing, plucking his Appalachian Lap dulcimer, or exploring the wet and wonderful woods of the Northwest.
Treaneva spent her childhood exploring the wildlands of the South Coast of Oregon, helping her family to build a homestead in pursuit of off-grid living, and wandering the woods and oceans in search of fresh oysters and chanterelles. Living in an environment where most food was sourced locally, if not in her family's own garden, it was evident that the interconnectedness of soil and table represented a delicate balance.
While studying Social Justice and Cultures at Seattle Pacific University and spending the early years of her career working in communications and administration for start-ups in the Midwest, she found herself gravitating towards curiosity around human rights and realizing the relationship between social and food systems was challenged in the rust belt much in the same way as in the Pacific Northwest, witnessing in rural and urban communities a throughline of struggle towards food equity and sustainable access, as well as the vital importance of nutrition to the pursuit of systemic change.
Ultimately a desire to again be close to the ocean and mountains called her back to Washington state, where she found the opportunity to work for a small brand dedicated to transparency in giving practices, then directed her focus during the onset of the pandemic to nonprofit work and community needs at home in Whatcom county, providing case management for families facing housing instability. Seeing the needs of individuals rippled out farther than her own community, layered in intersectionality, and finding like-minded folks at the Non-GMO Project she enthusiastically joined in the mission!
At the Project you can find her among the CX team, excited to meet you along the way as a passionate amplifier of what impact we can achieve as co-facilitators and a community of changemakers.
Sam is very excited to join the Non-GMO Project as part of the business development team.
Sam grew up on a small farm in the Pacific Northwest where he had a direct connection to the food that he ate. This sparked his interest in food systems, which only continued to grow as he spent more time working in agriculture. Sam recently graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Business and Marketing. He wants to utilize his skills in sales and marketing coupled with his passion for food systems to improve transparency for consumers.
When not at work, Sam enjoys being active outdoors. This includes things like snowboarding, mountaineering, and surfing. When not spending time outdoors, he keeps himself busy by sewing and making art.