Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young is the undersecretary for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Research, Education,& Economics (REE). As an undersecretary, she is also the chief scientist of research. Jacobs-Young recently served as the administrator for USDA’s Agriculture Research Services (ARS) and acting deputy undersecretary of the REE mission area. Previously, she served as ARS associate administrator for national programs. In this capacity, Jacobs-Young led the Office of National Programs, which manages the Agency’s research objectives. Jacobs-Young also headed the Office of International Research Programs that oversees ARS’ liaison with its international partners.
Prior to moving into her role at ARS, Jacobs-Young served as the director of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the USDA, where she coordinated 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 USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Jacobs-Young was a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she supported the President’s science adviser and others within the Executive Office of the President on a variety of agricultural scientific activities and worked across the federal government to improve interagency collaboration on high-priority scientific issues.
Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia. She holds a master’s and 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 is also a graduate of American University’s Executive Leadership in Public Policy Implementation Program.