WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following three individuals to serve in key roles:

  • Jainey Bavishi, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce
  • Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Nominee for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, Department of Agriculture
  • Thea Kendler, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, Department of Commerce

Jainey Bavishi, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce

Jainey K. Bavishi serves as the Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency.  In this role, she leads a cross-disciplinary team that prepares the city for the impacts of climate change through science-based analysis, policy, program, and project development, and capacity building. During the Obama Administration, Bavishi served as the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Director of External Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Bavishi also served as the Executive Director of R3ADY Asia-Pacific, focused on enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Previously, she was the Founding Director of the Equity and Inclusion Campaign, a coalition of community-based leaders in the Gulf Coast region that focused on recovery from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation.  Bavishi has a Master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s degree in public policy and cultural anthropology from Duke University.

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Nominee for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, Department of Agriculture

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young is the Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and currently serves as the Acting Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and as Acting USDA Chief Scientist. Dr. Jacobs-Young is the first woman and person of color to lead this agency, which manages an annual budget of $1.82 billion.

During Dr. Jacobs-Young’s distinguished federal career, she has excelled in top-level positions in USDA. She led the Office of National Programs and the Office of International Research as the Agricultural Research Service Associate Administrator for Research Programs. As the founding Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist at USDA, she facilitated the coordination of scientific leadership across federal agencies within USDA, ensuring that the research and scientific information and data produced were held to the highest standards of scientific integrity. As Acting Director for USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, she provided leadership and funding for programs that advanced agriculture-related sciences. And as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area, she oversaw Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and Office of the Chief Scientist.

Dr. Jacobs-Young has also served as a senior policy analyst for agriculture in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she supported the President’s Science Advisor and others within the Executive Office of the President during the Obama Administration on high priority agricultural scientific issues.

Dr. Jacobs-Young is a native of Augusta, Georgia. She received a B.S. degree in Pulp and Paper Science and Technology from North Carolina State University, where she was a three-time ACC track champion. She earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wood and Paper Science, also from North Carolina State University, becoming the first African American woman in the country to receive a Ph.D. in this field. She is also a graduate of American University’s Key Executive Program on Public Policy Implementation. In addition to her career, and community service, Dr. Jacobs-Young is committed to family. This year she will celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary to Arland Young and she is mom to Autumn and Arland, Jr.

Thea Kendler, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Export Administration, Department of Commerce

Thea Kendler is an experienced federal government attorney whose career focuses on national security and international trade law. As a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, Ms. Kendler partners with U.S. Attorney’s Offices and federal agents around the country to investigate and prosecute cases primarily involving export controls, economic espionage, and counterintelligence. Ms. Kendler frequently speaks to international audiences on strategic trade controls and conducts training for foreign government officials on best border security law enforcement practices.

Before joining the Justice Department in 2014, Ms. Kendler served as Senior Counsel in the Commerce Department’s Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security, providing legal advice on export controls regulations and enforcement to the Bureau of Industry and Security. Earlier in her career, she practiced in the International Trade section of the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she conducted internal investigations and represented corporate clients in export controls, antidumping and countervailing duty, and Customs proceedings. 

Ms. Kendler graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where in her third year she received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to further her Chinese study.  Her undergraduate degree is from Princeton University with a concentration in the School of Public and International Affairs and certificates in East Asian Studies and Chinese Culture.  While in college, she studied Chinese in Beijing, China, and Japanese in Kanazawa, Japan.  Ms. Kendler is admitted to the New York and District of Columbia Bars.  She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and two children.


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