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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Faces of Food Safety: Kristin Goodwin - From Mentee to Mentor

Kristin GoodwinKristin Goodwin has made the most of her education and career, which began with an internship. Her progression from college to intern has allowed her to now work in a career position as a Food Technologist with the Office of Policy and Program Development’s (OPPD) Labeling and Program Delivery Division (LPPD). LPPD evaluates FSIS regulated product labels to ensure they are truthful and not misleading; develops and provides labeling guidance, policies and inspection methods; and responds to stakeholders’ inquiries regarding labels.

Goodwin began her career in public service as a contractor in administrative support for the Department of Energy’s personnel office while she was still in high school. In 2005, she came to USDA as a budget analyst student trainee with the Office of Budget and Program Analysis (OBPA) and in 2006 became an intern in LPPD.

Mentorship

Once accepted to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), Goodwin saw an incredible opportunity in USDA 1890 National Scholars Program, a scholarship offered by the USDA in partnership with the1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Universities. The scholarship encourages black students to consider fields of study in agriculture. It provides full tuition, employment, employee benefits, fees, books, and room and board each year for up to 4 years to selected students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any field of study in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or other related disciplines.

"I serve as a mentor for the interns on my staff and I love it."

Kristin Goodwin

As part of the scholars program, Goodwin was placed with USDA as a budget analyst trainee in 2005. After changing her major in 2006 from agricultural economics to food and nutritional sciences, she was placed in LPPD. As many interns do, Goodwin felt a nervous excitement in preparation for her internship, not knowing what to expect.

Upon arrival, she was assigned a mentor, Jeff Canavan, LPPD’s Deputy Director. He helped Goodwin acclimate to FSIS by creating an inclusive environment; giving her opportunities to shadow and attend meetings; and having an open line of communication. Although Goodwin is now a full-time employee, she still goes to her mentor with questions. Goodwin is thankful for having someone there to guide her through her internship and career. “Without him, it would have been difficult. The job is fast paced and although the staff is open to help, they are very busy,” she said.

Although much of her schoolwork was directly applicable to her current position, Goodwin believes that the internship provided indispensable on-the-job training. “There is a big difference [between] learning from a book and working with the regulations and food industry,” she said. Goodwin accepted a Food Technologist position in FSIS after graduating from NC A&T in May 2010.

Guiding Others

Goodwin knows the benefit of having a mentor, and now takes what she has learned through her internship experience and shares it with others. “I serve as a mentor for the interns on my staff and I love it,” she said. Goodwin has been mentoring two to three interns a year since 2012. She is responsible for making sure they get acclimated to the office and have meaningful work assignments. As a former intern, Goodwin is able to easily connect with them because she has been in their shoes. She feels that having had the experience herself, she has a better idea of how to help them succeed. Some advice that Goodwin shares with interns is to stay busy and ask for more work, look for opportunities to shadow and network, and find an employee you can relate to and learn as much as you can from them.

Family First

Outside of work, Goodwin enjoys spending quality time with her 6-year-old daughter. They enjoy shopping, reading and watching movies together. Goodwin takes a piece of work home with her by teaching her daughter about food safety. They enjoy cooking together, so Goodwin makes sure they follow the four steps to safe food preparation: clean, separate, cook and chill. Goodwin’s career has had such an impact on her daughter that she even wants to be a Food Technologist like her mom when she grows up.

Kristin Goodwin

 

Last Modified Oct 18, 2016