ASTC On Air with USDA Under Secretary Dr. Catherine Woteki

The May 3 edition of ASTC On Air featured a conversation with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, as well as the Department’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Catherine Woteki.

Interested in hearing more about the memorandum of understanding between ASTC and USDA, possible ways in which science centers and museums can work with the agency, and new breakthroughs in agriculture and food science that you might not realize actually have a USDA connection? Watch the episode below.

Dr. Catherine Woteki is Under Secretary for United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, as well as the Department’s Chief Scientist. 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 Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The National Agriculture Library and National Arboretum also fall under this mission area.

Since returning to USDA, Dr. Woteki has followed the direction established by Congress, developing the Office of the Chief Scientist, the USDA Science Council, and other coordinating programs. She has been called upon to lead scientific delegations to China and the first Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists held under the auspices of the G-20 leader, Mexico. Dr. Woteki is an advocate for building the platforms necessary to enhance domestic and international research for building the platforms necessary to enhance domestic and international agricultural research that include open access to scholarly publications, open access to germplasm collections and genetic and genomic data; accelerated innovation and technology transfer in the agricultural arena; and improved agricultural statistics.

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).

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