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Chavonda Jacobs-Young
Chavonda Jacobs-Young - USDA Agricultural Research Service Administrator.jpg
Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service
Assumed office
February 2014
Personal details
Born Augusta, Georgia
Nationality American
Alma mater North Carolina State University
American University

Chavonda Jacobs-Young is an American government executive who serves as the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. The Agricultural Research Service is the USDA's chief, in-house scientific research agency with 1,800 scientists and 90 laboratories throughout the world. Jacobs-Young has been the administrator since February 2014. In 2001 Jacobs-Young became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D in paper science.

Early life and education

Jacobs-Young is a native of Augusta, Georgia. She graduated from Hephzibah High School in 1985. During high school and her time at North Carolina State University, she participated in the high jump event and was a three time Atlantic Coast Conference champion. Jacobs-Young earned a B.S. in paper science and engineering (1989, NC State) and an M.S. in wood and paper science (1992, NC State). Then in 1998, she earned her Ph.D in paper science from North Carolina State University. In 2008 Jacobs-Young received an Executive Leadership Certificate in Public Policy Implementation from American University in Washington, D.C.

Professional life

After completion of her Ph.D, she worked as an Assistant Professor of Paper Science and Engineering at the University of Washington from 1995 until 2002.

In 2002, Jacobs-Young was approached about joining the government. She saw an opportunity to learn about federal service and took a job as a National Program Leader in the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. Eventually she served as the senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this capacity she supported the President's science advisor and others within the Executive Office of the President on a variety of agricultural science activities. She worked across the Federal Government to improve interagency cooperation and collaboration on high-priority scientific issues.

When she returned full-time to USDA, Jacobs-Young served as the Director of the newly formed USDA Office of the Chief Scientist. There, she facilitated the coordination of scientific leadership across the Department and ensured the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity for the research being disseminated from the department. Jacobs-Young then served as the acting director for the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture before joining the Agricultural Research Service in 2012 as Associate Administrator for Research Programs. She is also a member of the United States Senior Executive Service.

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