Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist/Under Secretary for Research, Education, & Economics
Sheryl Kunickis, Acting Director
John L. King, Senior Advisor
Alecia Naugle, Senior Advisor
Gita N. Ramaswamy, Senior Advisor
Isabel Walls, Senior Advisor
Jenna Jadin, AAAS Fellow/Advisor
Tina L. Kingsberry, Program Analyst
Colleen Rossier, Program Assistant
Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist/Under Secretary for REE Mission Area
Dr. Catherine Woteki is both the United States Department of Agriculture's Chief Scientist as well as its Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE). Her responsibilities include oversight of the four agencies that comprise REE, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Economic Research Service (ERS), and National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS.) The National Agriculture Library and National Arboretum also fall under this mission area.
Before joining USDA, Dr. Woteki served as Global Director of Scientific Affairs for Mars, Incorporated, where she managed the company's scientific policy and research on matters of health, nutrition, and food safety.
From 2002 to 2005, she was Dean of Agriculture and Professor of Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, where she was also the head of the Agriculture Experiment Station. Dr. Woteki served as the first Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA from 1997 to 2001, where she oversaw U.S. Government food safety policy development and USDA's continuity of operations planning. Dr. Woteki also served as the Deputy Under Secretary for REE at USDA in 1996.
Prior to going to USDA, Dr. Woteki served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as Deputy Associate Director for Science from 1994 to 1996. During that time she co-authored the Clinton Administration's policy statement, "Science in the National Interest." Dr. Woteki has also held positions in the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1983 to 1990), the Human Nutrition Information Service at USDA (1981 to 1983), and as Director of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences (1990 to 1993). During her tenure as Director of the Food and Nutrition Board she had direct responsibility for twenty-seven studies and co-authored a nutrition book entitled Eat for Life which became a Book of the Month Club selection.
Dr. Woteki's research interests include nutrition, food safety policy, risk assessment, and health survey design and analysis. She is the author of over sixty refereed scientific articles and twelve books and technical reports.
In 1999, Dr. Woteki was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, where she has chaired the Food and Nutrition Board (2003 to 2005). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1974). Dr. Woteki received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Mary Washington College (1969).
John L. King, Senior Advisor (on detail from ERS)
John L. King is the Senior Advisor for Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities in the Office of the Chief Scientist, on detail from the Resource Environment and Science Policy Branch of ERS. His research has focused on innovation and science policy, including the influence of intellectual property, industry structure, and knowledge flows on public and private decision making in agricultural R&D. He has served on the NSTC interagency working group on Science of Science Policy since 2006, and more recently has been active in USDA implementation of the STAR METRICS data platform. He helped develop the Agricultural Biotechnology Intellectual Property database, a tool to examine industry structure and intellectual property ownership, and has collaborated with ARS and other research agencies on analyzing technology transfer policies and developing assessments of the economic impact of research. Prior to joining ERS in 1999, Dr. King received Ph.D. and B.A. degrees in economics from Vanderbilt University.
Gita N. Ramaswamy, Senior Advisor
Gita N. Ramaswamy is the Office of the Chief Scientist's Senior Advisor for Scientific Integrity and Program Assessment. She comes to USDA with a wealth of experience ranging from research to program evaluation and assessment to mentoring. Prior to this role at USDA, she was at Oregon State University (OSU) where she spent time as both the Director for Academic Programs, Assessment, and Accreditation and the Senior Associate to the Dean of the Graduate School; and before that, she was at Purdue University as an Associate Dean for the Graduate School. At both institutions, she designed and implemented outcomes-based assessments of graduate student learning. At Purdue University, she also collaboratively developed and implemented courses for their Course-Share program and spearheaded an educational initiative on the responsible conduct of research for all graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows. In this effort, she worked with faculty and research administrators to identify programmatic needs and responded to them with workshops, on-line training courses, and resource materials.
Dr. Ramaswamy has also been actively involved with the Higher Learning Commission - North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, where she was an evaluator in accreditation team visits to several universities through two programs: PEAQ (Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality) and AQUIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program). She also led several sessions in the Assessment Academy related to Assessment of graduate degrees.
Before working at Purdue University, she was a Professor and an Interim Department Head for Apparel, Textiles and Interior Design at Kansas State University where her research focused on developing value-added products and fibers for biomedical purposes, and she mentored several successful graduate students. Dr. Ramaswamy received her Ph.D. from Mississippi State University in Toxicology, her M.A. in Textiles from Michigan State University, her M.Sc. in Agricultural Entomology from University of Agricultural Sciences, Hebbal, India, and her B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology from Bangalore University in India.
Alecia Naugle, Senior Advisor (on detail from APHIS)
Dr. Alecia Larew Naugle is the Senior Advisor for Animal Health and Production and Animal Products in the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS). Dr. Naugle joins the OCS from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), where she was a veterinarian in Veterinary Services's National Center for Animal Health Programs. She has served as the National Epidemiologist for the Scrapie Eradication Program and as Program Manager for the BSE Ongoing Surveillance Program and the Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Eradication Program. Prior to joining Veterinary Services, Dr. Naugle was an analytical epidemiologist with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Dr. Naugle is a native of West Virginia where she enjoyed her childhood on her family's beef farm. She received her undergraduate degree in Animal and Veterinary Sciences from West Virginia University, followed by a DVM from the Ohio State University in 1998. After serving as an associate veterinarian in a mixed animal practice in northeast Ohio, Alecia returned to Ohio State to complete her PhD in Veterinary Preventive Medicine with a specialization in Epidemiology. Her graduate research focused on the epidemiology of Johne's disease in Ohio dairy herds, and extension activities were a significant component of her responsibilities. She is a diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a member of its Epidemiology Specialty.
Isabel Walls, Senior Advisor (on detail from NIFA)
Dr. Walls is the Senior Advisor for Food Safety, Nutrition and Health at the Office of the Chief Scientist. Dr. Walls joins the Office of the Chief Scientist from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, where she provided scientific leadership to NIFA's food safety programs. Within USDA, Dr. Walls has previously served as a Senior Advisor at USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, providing scientific advice to address international food safety and animal health policy issues, and as a Senior Scientist at the Food Safety and Inspection Service, where she provided scientific advice on both food safety and food defense issues.
Before joining USDA, Dr. Walls served as a Senior Scientist at the International Life Sciences Institute, directing the development of expert panel scientific reports related to food safety and environmental risk assessment. Prior to this, she worked as a Research Microbiologist at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, working in the laboratory on food safety and food quality research.
Dr. Walls received her Ph.D from the University of Ulster in N. Ireland and gained Postdoctoral experience from USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Her professional interests include the impact of foodborne pathogens and contaminants on food security, nutritional status and health. She has co-authored more than 30 peer reviewed publications and given numerous invited presentations worldwide. She has served as a peer reviewer for FAO/WHO reports and was a member of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene Working Group on Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry. She is a Past President of the International Association for Food Protection.
Jenna Jadin, Advisor (AAAS Fellow)
Jenna Jadin is 2011 AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow who is working with the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist on climate change and plant science issues. Dr. Jadin is an evolutionary biologist by training who received her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park where she studied the mating behavior and evolutionary patterns of Hawaiian crickets. Prior to coming to USDA, Dr. Jadin was the Science Communications Manager at the US Global Change Research Program where she worked to help coordinate and guide federal officials on interagency climate change communication and education projects. She also previously held the position of Assistant Director of Government Affairs at The Wildlife Society, where she worked on climate change, invasive species, and international border issues.
Dr. Jadin is a native of Wisconsin, and holds a BA in Molecular Biology, with a focus on plant genetics, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.