KANSAS CITY, MO. – Mindy Brashears, PhD, has spent the majority of her career in academia – first as a faculty member and extension specialist at the University of Nebraska and later at Texas Tech University as an assistant, associate and later full professor of food science. She has devoted her career to studying food science and training the next generation of food scientists along the way.
But during the last presidential administration, Brashears took off her academic hat to answer an unexpected call from Washington. She was invited to take on the role of undersecretary of food safety for the US Department of Agriculture.
“My primary job was to go in, as a scientist, and make sure that decisions being made were science-based and data-driven. That was my charge; that was my objective from day one,” she said.
During this week’s MEAT+POULTRY podcast, Brashears shares stories from her days in Washington – from finalizing swine modernization and egg modernization to helping the nation’s meat packing industry navigate the COVID pandemic as it unfolded in early 2020.
After the Biden administration took over, Brashears returned to the world of education, now as a professor at Texas Tech and vice president of research at the university. In addition to teaching and mentoring tomorrow’s scientific leaders, she is working to use what she learned in Washington to bridge the gap between government, industry and academia.