The Organic Center’s Dr. Jessica Shade Heads to Key Position at USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Dr. Amber Sciligo to step up as the Center’s new Director of Science Programs 

After nine years of successfully leading The Organic Center (TOC) as Director of Science Programs, Jessica Shade, Ph.D., has accepted a position with the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) as National Program Leader. At NIFA, Dr. Shade's experience will be put to great use in supporting innovative programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. 

“We could not be more proud of the work that Jessica has done at The Organic Center over her many years of service,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director at the Organic Trade Association (OTA). “This is an exciting step for Jessica and for the organic industry, as we know Jessica will bring a wealth of experience leading evidenced-based science and advancing sustainable food and farm systems. We congratulate Jessica on this move and look forward continuing to work alongside Amber as she steps into her new leadership role.” 

TOC is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) research and education organization operating under the administrative auspices of OTA. 

Succeeding Dr. Shade as Director of Science Programs at TOC is Amber Sciligo, Ph.D. Dr. Sciligo first joined TOC in 2018 and most recently served as Associate Director of Science Programs. 

During her tenure at TOC, Dr. Shade collaborated on a number of diverse research programs, including the development of applied solutions to on-farm challenges to improving environmental impacts. She has extensive experience communicating scientific research to diverse stakeholder groups and has co-authored numerous scientific publications during her time at TOC, including recent pieces on the benefits of organic cotton and reducing the loss of reactive nitrogen in organic systems.

Dr. Sciligo has been instrumental in supporting the Center’s project implementation and has successfully lead TOC’s grant-writing program. She has 15 years of large-scale project coordination and management experience, and over a decade of experience in major funding acquisition and management and in coordinating diverse stakeholders to accomplish highly collaborative research. She has also co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications while at TOC, including a piece on how shifts in species interactions and farming contexts affect birds and a study of the affects of arthropod communities on organic strawberry crops.