Minds behind the Modules: A Tribute to Women in Agriculture

International Women’s History Month is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women. The Food Safety Network (FSN) is grateful to work with so many intelligent and accomplished women.

This past month, the FSN recently launched two new modules to their suite of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) courses online module tools, developed primarily by a team of women.

During a period of time when remote learning has become the primary tool used by project planners and implementers, these modules have provided a practical resource for the public sector, the private sector and academia around the world. There are currently 1,491 users in 106 countries. Below are the minds behind the modules:

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Ms. Yanet Rodriguez

Ms. Yanet Rodriguez is an international program specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS).

She has over 10 years of experience managing international agricultural development projects in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

She has worked with USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security: Nutrition and Gender team, the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agricultural and the World Coffee Research center.

Ms. Rodriguez attended Texas A&M University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal science and has a Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech.

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Dr. Lisa Rochette

Dr. Lisa Rochette is the assistant director of the Swine Health team in the Aquaculture, Swine, Equine & Poultry Health Center within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Veterinary Services (APHIS VS). 

In this role, she oversees policy development and implementation for a host of swine health programs, including African swine fever preparedness and response activities.

Prior to transitioning into her current role in early 2020, Dr. Rochette served as a Senior Staff Officer with the Regionalization Evaluation Services within APHIS VS since 2016. 

In this role, she supported the opening and reopening of markets by reporting information to international trading partners, such as China, Japan and the European Union, about the United States’ surveillance, response and control activities with regard to animal diseases. 

She also led compartmentalization rulemaking efforts and performed risk assessments to determine the animal disease statuses of international trading partners.

From 2012 until 2016, Dr. Rochette supported surveillance, preparedness and response functions in Utah and Nevada as a field veterinary medical officer. She also worked closely with importers and exporters of animals and animal products.

Dr. Rochette graduated from North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 and holds a master’s degree in public health from Des Moines University, obtained in 2015. 

She joined APHIS VS immediately after graduation as a part of the Saul T. Wilson, Jr. Internship Program. She has worked in several different veterinary, research and management aspects of commercial livestock production.

Dr. Rebecca Gordon

Dr. Rebecca Gordon is a senior staff officer and import risk analyst with USDA APHIS VS, Regionalization Evaluation Services.

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She conducts qualitative import risk assessments and animal health status evaluations of foreign regions to facilitate safe trade of animal commodities into the United States.

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She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University and her Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. She was born and raised in Texas and now resides in North Carolina.

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Dr. Meera Chandra

Dr. Meera Chandra is an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow with the Food Safety Division in the Center for Nutrition at USAID.

Dr. Chandra is a veterinarian by training and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health from the University of Florida.

Prior to joining USAID, she served as an American Veterinary Medical Association congressional fellow in the U.S. Senate where she advised on agriculture and public health policy.

Her previous experience includes working with the Department of Homeland Security analyzing the risk of vector-borne disease in U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and working canines.

She has also worked with the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris where she analyzed risk factors and response efforts to outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in food animals.

Her interests include One Health, food safety, animal source foods and emerging zoonotic and vector-borne diseases.

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Dr. Molly Gonzales

Dr. Molly Gonzales is an instructional assistant professor for the Center of Educational Technologies at Texas A&M University in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Gonzales has over 10 years of experience in the education industry, specializing in teaching, curriculum development and instructional design.

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She has extensive experience in the development and deployment of online courses, including collaborating with subject matter experts to author instructional materials.

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Dr. Gonzales is passionate about leveraging technology to enhance education and pursuing research related to engagement in distance education through the creation of transformational learning experiences.

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