Vanessa Lester is a program specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). At NIFA, she manages programs that grant funding for agricultural research, particularly in Organic Agriculture. Previously she served as a research associate for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She has worked for over five years in project management on federally funded contracts. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from George Washington University in 2013.