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B-CU Graduate Becomes USDA Director for the Office of the Chief Scientist

Dr. Dionne Toombstoombs, a 2003 graduate of Bethune-Cookman University was recently appointed to Director for the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In her new role, she provides leadership on a wide range of issues affecting science programs and science policy in agricultural research, education, and economics. Formerly, Dr. Toombs served as the Director of the Division of Nutrition for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). During her time with NIFA, she lead a collaboration of nutrition science leaders across the Department. Under her leadership, the Division provided direction in science policy and program development to ensure the safety of America’s food supply and the availability of healthy food to its citizens. 

Additionally, Dr. Toombs has served as National Program Leader for NIFA’s Agriculture Food and Research Initiative (AFRI), leading large competitive grant programs to fund research into nutrition, food science and technology, and food safety. Dr. Toombs received her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University. She earned her Master of Science degree from Alabama A & M University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bethune-Cookman University in 2003. 

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About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship, and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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