Dr. Sheryl H. Kunickis is Director of the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). She has served in this position since May 2010. She represents USDA’s interests in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) related matters and is the USDA representative on the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC), an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Advisory Committee. In 2013, she briefly served as Acting Director in the Office of the Chief Scientist, and from 2008 to 2010, she was Director of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Remote Sensing Laboratories (RSLs). In August 2010, she received a USDA Honor Award for Management Excellence. Prior to assuming leadership for the RSLs, she served a one-year detail at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) as the Deputy Assistant Director for Agriculture, Lands, and Wildlife. In 2003-2004, she was selected as a Department of Commerce Science and Technology Fellow. Dr. Kunickis received her Ph.D. in Soil Science from North Carolina State University. Her M.S. and B.S. degrees in Agronomy were earned at Brigham Young University.
Ms. Elyssa Arnold is a Regulatory Risk Assessor in the Office of Pest Management and Policy (OPMP), focusing primarily on ecological risk assessments including Biological Evaluations and Biological Opinions for endangered species. Ms. Arnold previously worked as a biologist and team lead in the Environmental Fate and Effects Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs from 2011 to 2020. From 2020 to 2021, Ms. Arnold worked as the Biosolids Program risk assessment lead in the U.S. EPA Office of Water. Ms. Arnold earned her MPH from the Yale School of Public Health and her MEM from the Yale School of the Environment, both with concentrations in environmental health. She earned her BA in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.
Dr. Anastasia Bodnar is an Agricultural Biotechnology Advisor in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), serving as the USDA Biotechnology Coordinator. Dr. Bodnar has served in multiple roles across USDA. She was a Regulatory Risk Assessor focusing on ecological risk assessments in OPMP and a Senior Science Advisor at the Foreign Agricultural Service. At the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine, she was a Senior Environmental Compliance Specialist working on risk analysis and risk mitigation for invasive pest management. At APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services, she served as a Policy Analyst and Biotechnologist, working on regulatory policy. Dr. Bodnar began her career in the U.S. Army, focusing on public health, pest management, and environmental safety. She entered civilian service as a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Her Ph.D. in genetics, with a minor in sustainable agriculture, is from Iowa State University, and her B.S. in biology is from the University of Maryland, College Park. She also has a Certificate in Public Leadership from Brookings Executive Education.
Ms. Julie Chao is a Regulatory Risk Assessor in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), focusing primarily on human health risk assessments. She also serves as OPMP’s Technical Committee Representative to the Interagency Risk Assessment Consortium. Ms. Chao previously worked as a senior advisor on international pesticide regulatory policy and trade in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service from 2016-2020, and served in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs as a risk manager from 2004-2016. Ms. Chao earned her M.A. in International Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and her MSPH in International Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed her undergraduate studies in Environmental Science and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dr. Cameron Douglass is an Agronomist (Weed Scientist) in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), and primarily handles policy issues involving registration reviews of herbicides and herbicide resistance management. Dr. Douglass’s portfolio also includes invasive species-related matters and serving on USDA’s Invasive Species Working Group, as well as pollinator issues and serving on USDA’s Pollinator Working Group. Dr. Douglass previously worked as a biologist in the Environmental Fate and Effects Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs from 2016-2020. Prior to working at USEPA, he was the Thomas McKenna Meredith Postdoctoral Scholar in Environmental Sciences at Trinity College (Hartford, CT). Dr. Douglass received his Ph.D. in Bio-agricultural Sciences and Pest Management from Colorado State University, his M.S. in Vegetable Crops (Weed Science) from Cornell University, and his B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic.
Dr. Julius Fajardo is a Senior Plant Pathologist in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). Dr. Fajardo joined OPMP in 2012 as a Plant Pathologist. In this capacity, Dr. Fajardo’s portfolio includes policy issues involving registration reviews of fungicides, biofungicides and plant growth regulators as well as fungicide resistance in collaboration with EPA. He has worked on emerging diseases and pathogens through USDA-ARS’ National Plant Disease Recovery System, USDA-APHIS’ Multi-Agency Coordination Group for citrus greening or huanglongbing including the Federal Interagency Committee on Invasive Terrestrial Animals and Pathogens (ITAP). Dr. Fajardo provides scientific support with the Office of the Chief Scientist on the role of antibacterial and antifungal compounds in crops on foodborne antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Fajardo received his Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Pathology from Texas A&M University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science degrees in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.
Dr. Clayton Myers is a Senior Entomologist in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). His responsibilities include regulatory issues related to insecticides and insecticide resistance management. Dr. Myers also serves on USDA’s hemp working group, providing input on numerous regulatory issues for this newly legalized crop, with an emphasis on registration of needed crop protection tools. Prior to joining OPMP, Dr. Myers worked at EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs for nearly a decade, and he has extensive experience in pesticide benefits/usage analysis, label review, and insecticide efficacy review. Dr. Myers has both a research and practical background in IPM for specialty crops. He earned his Ph.D. from Penn State University and grew up on a small family fruit farm in Central Pennsylvania. Dr. Myers also served as a post-doctoral researcher with USDA-ARS at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, WV.
Ms. Lori Quade is the Administrative Officer for the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). Lori has been in the Federal government for the past 13 years. All of that time had been spent with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH. Lori has experience with a wide range of administrative tasks, as she has been a support staff assistant, administrative assistant, and for the last 6 years, an administrative officer. During her various roles, Lori has led meetings, mentored new staff, has been a purchase card holder, managed the division’s FedEx account, has been a liaison for assisting travel planners, and she beta tested a new SharePoint budget tracking tool. With 35 years in customer service, Lori has learned how to tailor her skills to meet the needs of a diverse clientele. Before entering the government, Lori was with Home Depot for 11 years, with the last 4 of those years as the lead of the inventory management team.
Dr. Seth Wechsler is an Agricultural Economist in the Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). His responsibilities include the development of surveys that solicit information about farmers’ pesticide use and pest management practices, and the analysis of survey data. Prior to joining OPMP, Dr. Wechsler worked at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), where he analyzed the impact of phytosanitary restrictions on trade, and at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), where he analyzed the use of genetically engineered field crops with pest management traits. Dr. Wechsler received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Maryland. He earned a M.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Duke University.