Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service: Who Is Chavonda Jacobs-Young?
Jacobs-Young is from Augusta, Georgia, and graduated from Glenn Hills High School there in 1984. She was on the track and field team in high school, competing in the high jump. She continued with the event while attending North Carolina State University and was the Atlantic Coast Conference champion in 1987 and 1988. Jacobs-Young earned a B.S. degree in pulp and paper science and technology in 1989, going on to earn an M.S. in wood and paper science in 1992..In 1998, she became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D in paper science.
In 1995, Jacobs-Young began teaching paper science and engineering at the University of Washington, where she remained until 2002. She also began working for the USDA as a national program leader for the department’s National Research Initiative, administering funding for research into bio-based products, including non-food processing, biotechnology, metabolic engineering, bioenergy production, and forest products research.
Beginning in 2009, Jacobs-Young was a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She returned to the USDA in 2010 as director of the Office of Chief Scientist. During this period, she also served for a time as acting director of the department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Jacobs-Young joined the Agricultural Research Service in 2012 to serve as associate administrator for national programs, where she managed the research objectives of the agency.
Jacobs-Young and her husband, Arland K. Young, have a daughter, Autumn Krystina and a son, Arland Jr. (A.J.). Young is currently a senior program manager with Halfaker and Associates, a U.S. government contractor specializing in technology, including IT infrastructure and Cyber Security.
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