By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
Xavier alumna Debra Eschmeyer recently joined the White House staff as the new Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy and Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. She replaced Sam Kass, who formerly held the positions, on Jan. 8.
Eschmeyer’s new position requires her to advise the White House on a variety of food and nutrition issues. She will also create and organize strategies to combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy food options and physical activity for kids across the country.
Eschmeyer grew up on a dairy farm and graduated from Xavier in 2002 with majors in marketing and international affairs. She earned summa cum laude recognition with a 4.0 GPA.
In her post-grad life, Eschmeyer served as the program director of the National Family Farm Coalition and the Outreach and Communications Director of the National Farm to School Network.
In January. 2010 she co-founded FoodCorps, an AmeriCorps service program that teaches food and nutrition to children in limited-resource communities. During her time as the vice president of External Affairs, she established 182 FoodCorps member corps in 16 states.
“For more than a decade, Deb has been leading the way in teaching kids about the importance of healthy eating,” First Lady Michelle Obama said in a press release. “From classrooms and gardens to kitchens and farms, Deb has made learning about nutrition fun and accessible for kids across the country. I am thrilled that she will be continuing this important work here at the White House, and I know she will be an invaluable addition to our team.”
Eschmeyer won the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2011 for her work on sustainability, food access and public health.
In 2014, “Fortune Magazine” and “Food and Wine” named Eschmeyer the #12 Most Innovative Woman in Food and Drink in the country.
In April 2014, Eschmeyer was also the recipient of Xavier’s Magis Award, which is given to a Xavier alumnus/alumna “who, within 15 years of graduation, has achieved a high degree of excellence and embodies Jesuit morals and ethical values in his/her life.”
For more information about Eschmeyer or the “Let’s Move” campaign, visit letsmove.gov.