Dr. Catherine Woteki followed up her BS in Biology and Chemistry with a MS and a PhD in human nutrition from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During her career, her research interests have included nutrition, risk assessment, food safety policy, and health survey design and analysis. These interests have carried her through work in both the public and private sector and the authoring of over sixty scientific articles and twelve books.
Starting in 1981, Woteki held various positions at U.S. governmental agencies including the Human Nutrition Information Service, the National Center for Health Statistics, and as the Director of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1994 she was appointed as the Deputy Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-authored the Clinton Administration’s policy statement, “Science in the National Interest.” After two years in this position, she was named the Deputy Under Secretary for the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area of the USDA then transitioned in 1997 to serve as the first Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA, where she was responsible for the oversight of food safety policy development and the department’s continuity of operations planning.
In 2002 Dr. Woteki stepped away from public service to be the Dean of Agriculture, a Professor of Human Nutrition, and head the Agriculture Experiment Station at Iowa State University for three years. Moving to the private sector she served as Global Director of Scientific Affairs for Mars, Incorporated, for five years.
Nominated to the post of Under Secretary for the USDA REE mission area in 2010, she was approved by Congress in this role and as the Department’s Chief Scientist and has oversight of the four agencies that comprise REE, as well as the National Agriculture Library and National Arboretum. In her role she follows the direction established by many stakeholder agencies and programs, has led scientific delegations to China and Mexico, and is an advocate for building the platforms necessary to enhance agricultural research worldwide.
Written by Angela Goad