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National Women’s History Month: Celebrating FNS’ Unsung Heroines

Posted by Justice Wright, Senior Technical Advisor, FNS in Equity Food and Nutrition Health and Safety Nutrition Security
Mar 29, 2024
Food and Nutrition Service employees graphic

Food and Nutrition Service employees dedicate their professional lives to ensuring everyone in America has access to delicious, nutritious food and science-based nutrition education. As we conclude Women’s History Month, we celebrate women working to keep our 16 nutrition assistance programs running smoothly for those who need them most.

Janell Conway, Branch Chief, Access Branch

Janell Conway manages a team that provides nutrition-related technical assistance for USDA Foods programs, including The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and more. The foods offered through these programs are grown, produced, and processed right here in America.

Janell says: “It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are from, or what you do for a living, food is what brings everyone together. I am honored to have an opportunity to play a role in bringing healthy food choices to families across the nation.”

Erin Kesler, Senior Administrative Support Specialist, Administrator's Office

Erin Kesler describes herself as “backstage” to the main event, but the FNS Administrator and Assistant Administrator recognize her important role. Each day Erin manages their schedule, travel plans and the materials they need for every event. Her daily motivation is the FNS mission and the people we serve.

Erin says: “I am inspired by my colleagues and senior leaders who have made food accessibility and nutrition education their life’s work.”

Chatavia Young, Administrative Officer, Administrator's Office

Chatavia Young is an Administrative Officer supporting the Office of the Under Secretary. She values her role as a conduit between FNS and our partners and is proud of the progress these relationships have made.

Chatavia says: “I admire anyone who does work in this space from their heart.”

Melissa Filimon, Visual Information Specialist, Communications Division

Melissa Filimon shares information about FNS programs to participants and stakeholders in colorful and creative ways. She seeks inspiration from home gardeners, urban farmers, and community leaders who advance nutrition and food security in communities through innovation.

Melissa says: “I’m motivated to know our work helps people all over the country.”

Yibo Wood, Global Coordinator, External and Governmental Affairs Division

Yibo Wood serves as a liaison between FNS food and nutrition programs, and the U.S. government’s efforts to assist with global nutrition and food security issues. Bringing FNS nutrition and program expertise to global partners, she is grateful to her mentor, Clare Miller, who served as Yibo’s supervisor until her retirement.

Yibo says: “Nutrition and food security are the foundation of good health and well-being.”

For more information on how FNS nutrition superstars are making a difference in communities nationwide, visit