Biology dean lands dream job


    By Steve Nye

    Every college graduate dreams of landing his or her first job and having a successful career in a chosen field. Rodney Brown, new dean of BYU?s College of Biology and Agriculture, had these same dreams, and he landed his first job in Israel.

    Raised on a farm in Coalville, Utah, Brown said he always had an interest in science and agriculture.

    With his love for science, Brown went on to receive degrees in Food Science with emphases in Chemistry and Biochemistry from BYU, Utah State University and North Carolina State University.

    While working on his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University, Brown was introduced to Meir Wilchek from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. A few months following their introduction, Wilchek invited Brown to work in the Department of Biophysics at the Weizmann Institute.

    ?We accepted the offer and were excited to go,? said Rodney?s wife, Sandra Brown. ?We had three children at the time, two of which attended kindergarten and became fluent in Hebrew.?

    At Weizmann, Brown said he worked with some of the greatest scientists in the world.

    ?Meir Wilchek received every notable prize but the Noble Prize,? Brown said. ?It was a tremendous experience to work with these people.?

    During their two years in Israel, the Browns attended a small branch of just over a dozen members in Tel Aviv. They also visited Galilee and many other Holy Land sites.

    After working in Israel, the Browns returned to the United States, and Brown took a job at Utah State University. There he served as a faculty member, department head, dean and interim vice president for research.

    In 2001, Brown was appointed as deputy undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Working under USDA secretary Ann Veneman, Brown served as a liaison between NASA and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of the USDA.

    In July 2005, Brown was released as deputy undersecretary and appointed to be dean of the College of Biology and Agriculture at BYU.

    As dean, Brown said he hopes to assist science departments to be as good as they can be.

    ?The college needs to be worthy of the students,? he said. ?We have such outstanding students coming every year and we have to do everything we can to provide them with what they are ready to receive.?

    After traveling the world, the Browns said they are excited to settle in Provo.

    ?We love it here!? Brown?s wife said.

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