“In celebration of Women’s History Month, USDA is proudly sharing stories of women leaders in agriculture who are helping girls and other women succeed along the way.”
“In this blog, we feature Dr. Dionne Toombs, the Director of USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist. As director, Dr. Toombs provides leadership on a wide range of issues affecting science programs and science policy in agricultural research, education, and economics.”
“Dr. Toombs talked about nurturing childhood curiosity, navigating hurdles, and how mentorship and education can best train the next generation of women in agriculture.”
“Tell us your journey and how your interest in agriculture developed
My love for exploration as a child quickly developed into a love for science. But in my small town, there were very few girls interested in science and even fewer African American girls. I didn’t let that stop me. I knew I wanted to explore and learn more about science, so I made sacrifices. During middle school while many of my friends spent their Friday nights watching television, I had to sleep so I could catch the 7:15 bus on Saturday mornings to attend classes at my local university. That’s where my interest in biology was born.”
“What is your role in the Office of the Chief Scientist? What is a typical workday for you?
Leading the Office of Chief Scientist is ever-changing because of the breadth of our work. We coordinate science across the entire Department and build partnerships within the scientific community. My role requires a lot of planning and collaboration. Every day, I think about the emerging issues that have been presented to my office and how we will enhance outreach and awareness of agricultural science.”
“Who are your role models? Who/what inspires you…”
Source: Interview: In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Dr. Dionne Toombs, March 6, 2020. USDA.