Dr. Jacobs-Young is a native of Georgia. She holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wood and Paper Science and a B.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.
As ARS Associate Administrator for National Programs, Dr. Jacobs-Young leads the Office of National Programs which manages the research objectives of the Agency. She also leads the Office of International Research Programs which is responsible for ARS’ liaison with its international partners.
From April 2010 to May 2012, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young was the Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 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.
From May 2011 to May 2012, Dr. Jacobs-Young served as Acting Director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA is one of the four agencies within the Research, Education, and Economics mission area. NIFA awards grants to university researchers across the Nation for a wide range of research that addresses the needs of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers.
Prior to these roles, Dr. Jacobs-Young served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There, she supported the President’s science adviser and others within the Executive Office of the President on a variety of agricultural scientific activities. She worked across the federal government to improve interagency cooperation and collaboration on high-priority scientific issues.
From 1995 to 2009, Dr. Jacobs-Young led competitive research programs as a National Program Leader in the USDA National Research Initiative, USDA’s largest competitive program. She administered extramural funding programs in the areas of biobased products including non-food processing, biotechnology, metabolic engineering, bioenergy production, and forest products research. Dr. Jacobs-Young was a member of the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1995 to 2002, where she was Assistant Professor of Paper Science and Engineering. She was an active researcher and published in the area of biotechnology for the production of biobased products. Dr. Jacobs-Young’s corporate experience involves working with various corporations including E.I. Dupont De Nemours, Kimberly-Clark Company, Federal Paper Board, Kraft General Foods, and the Weyerhaeuser Company.