The Wolfpacker

January-February 2024

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 43 of 51

44 ■ THE WOLFPACKER Jacobs-Young said her experience as a student-athlete at NC State helped prepare her for the professional world. PHOTO COURTESY CHAVONDA JACOBS-YOUNG BY ETHAN MCDOWELL few calculated risks, sev- eral ACC high-jumping championships and "a se- ries of fortunate events" led Dr. Chavonda Jacobs- Young to where she stands today. Long before taking on her current roles as the chief scientist and under secretary for research, education and economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she left Georgia for the second time in her life to study and compete at NC State. Jacobs-Young grew up in Augusta, Ga., and was determined to attend Geor- gia Tech out of high school. That plan changed when she learned about NC State's pulp and paper science and tech- nology program. She joined the Wolfpack because of ac- ademic opportunities along with a chance to continue her track and field career — the first step in a journey that took her to Raleigh, the University of Washing- ton, the White House and a variety of jobs within the federal government. Joining The Wolfpack Jacobs-Young's high school counselor sent her to a meeting at her local paper mill after she had already enrolled at Georgia Tech. Members of the pulp and paper foundation at NC State were at the event and discussed the opportunity to spend five years with the Wolfpack and leave campus with degrees in both paper science and chemical engineering. She jumped at the opportunity to take partial athletic and academic scholarships and join the program, continuing her high jumping career and taking the first of a series of risks that paid off throughout her life. "I think I had been out of the state of Georgia really just once growing up," Ja- cobs-Young said. Embracing the adventure, Jacobs- A LEADING BY EXAMPLE Former NC State High Jump Champion Chavonda Jacobs-Young Aims To Inspire Future Scientists CHAVONDA JACOBS-YOUNG WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD (1985-89) Living: Montgomery County, Md. Occupation: Under secretary for research, education and economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Did you know? In her role as chief scientist at the USDA, Jacobs-Young leads an organization with more than 8,500 employees and a $4 billion budget. W H E R E A R E T H E Y N O W ? CHAVONDA JACOBS- YOUNG

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