Chavonda Jacobs-Young, a scientist who has been at USDA for nearly two decades, is the Biden administration’s pick to oversee the department’s research agencies.

Currently the administrator of the Agricultural Research Service, Jacobs-Young will be nominated to become undersecretary for research, education, and economics and USDA's chief scientist, roles in which she has been serving in an acting capacity. The REE mission area includes the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and Office of the Chief Scientist.

Jacobs-Young “has excelled in top-level positions in USDA,” the White House said, noting she led the Office of National Programs and the Office of International Research as the Agricultural Research Service associate administrator for research programs.

In addition, as founding director of the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA, “she facilitated the coordination of scientific leadership across federal agencies within USDA, ensuring that the research and scientific information and data produced were held to the highest standards of scientific integrity.”

Jacobs-Young also served as acting director of NIFA and has been acting deputy undersecretary for the REE mission area.

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Jacobs-Young also has served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama administration, “where she supported the President's Science Advisor and others within the Executive Office of the President … on high priority agricultural scientific issues,” the White House said.
The native of Augusta, Ga, received her bachelor's degree in pulp and paper science and technology from North Carolina State University, “where she was a three-time ACC track champion,” the White House said. She went on to get her master's degree and doctorate in wood and paper science from the same school, "becoming the first African American woman in the country to receive a Ph.D. in this field," the White House said.

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