Entomology 2020 Plenary Speakers

We are delighted to have two high-level federal scientists join us for Entomology 2020.  They will showcase how team science is solving national problems in areas related to entomology and will inspire you to be more creative in your work.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Ph.D.
Administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Acting Chief Scientist USDA

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young is the Administrator of the ARS, USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, and currently the Acting Chief Scientist of USDA. Prior to joining ARS, Dr. Jacobs-Young served in several scientific leadership roles including Director of the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, Acting Director for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In these roles she transformed USDA’s scientific coordination and made a lasting impact on the conduct, quality, integrity, and access to science for customers. In these roles she also elevated the visibility of agricultural research globally. 

Dr. Jacobs-Young is a native of Augusta, 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 is also a graduate of American University's Key Executive Program. Dr. Jacobs-Young is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, an If/Then Ambassador for the AAAS, and a 2016 recipient of the Presidential Rank Award.

Ray Wheeler, Ph.D.
NASA, Senior Scientist and Plant Physiologist

Ray Wheeler is a plant physiologist and senior scientist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where he leads the advanced life support research group. This includes controlled environment studies and vertical farming with crops for food and oxygen production, CO2 removal, and wastewater processing. Over the years, Ray has studied plant responses to gravity, CO2, light, atmospheric pressure, and hydroponic cultivation. Ray has been co-investigator for several spaceflight experiments, including the first test to demonstrate potato tuber development in space, and studies using the “Veggie” plant growth chamber on the International Space Station to growth fresh vegetables for the astronauts. Ray is the author or co-author of more than 260 scientific research papers and has presented 30 international invited talks. He has received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific the Achievement Medal, the USDA/ARS B.Y. Morrison Distinguished Lecturer Award, the American Society for Gravitation and Space Research Founder’s Award, the AIAA Jeffries Award for Aerospace Medicine and Life Science Research, and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Life Sciences Commission of COSPAR, the International Committee on Space Research.  

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