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Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Ph.D.


Acting Under Secretary
US Department of Agriculture Research, Education, and Economics Mission

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young currently serves as the acting under secretary for the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area and acting chief scientist. REE is comprised of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Office of the Chief Scientist. Together they create a safe, sustainable competitive US food and fiber system, and build strong communities, families and youth through integrated research, analysis and education.

Since February 2014, Jacobs-Young has served as administrator of ARS, the chief scientific in-house research agency. Previously, Jacobs-Young served as the ARS associate administrator for national programs. In this role, she led the Office of National Programs, which manages the research objectives of the Agency, and the Office of International Research Programs, which is responsible for ARS’ liaison with its international partners.

Prior to moving into her roles at ARS, Jacobs-Young served as the director of the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA, where she was responsible for facilitating the coordination of scientific leadership across the Department to ensure that research supported by, and scientific advice provided to, the Department and external stakeholders were held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity. She also served as the acting director for NIFA.

Jacobs-Young has also served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she supported science adviser and others within the Executive Office of President Bush and President Obama on a variety of agricultural scientific activities. In this post, she worked across the Federal Government to improve interagency cooperation and collaboration on high-priority scientific issues.

Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia. She holds a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in wood and paper science, and a bachelor’s degree in pulp and paper science and technology from North Carolina State University. She also is a graduate of American University’s Executive Leadership in Public Policy Implementation Program. She is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences where she is also a current If/Then Ambassador.

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