Alumni Profile: Paul Lewis, PhD, ESP ’04

Alum Paul Lewis shares fond memories of Mason and ESP in our latest Alumni Profile.

Photo courtesy of Paul Lewis.

Photo courtesy of Paul Lewis.

Name: Paul Lewis

Mason Degree: PhD, Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) 2004

Occupation: Standards Division Director for the National Organic Program at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

I chose Mason because of its…excellent, supportive faculty; interesting classes and students; and the ability to pursue a PhD part-time as a working professional.

My favorite Mason memory is…studying so late in the library one day, that I was locked in and needed to call security to exit!

Professionally, I’m most proud of…playing a role in having safe and abundant food, while protecting the environment for current and future generations.

I advise current students to…enjoy the total college experience. This includes doing well in school, getting involved in clubs, making friends, and reaching out to faculty, as they are great academic and professional resources.

Connect with me on LinkedIn!

More from the COS interview with Paul Lewis

What are some of your daily duties as Standards Division director?
I manage a high performing multidisciplinary staff drafting standards and policy in organic production and handling. A good part of my day is meeting with staff reviewing and organizing work, meeting with my office leadership and others to develop strategy and approaches that fulfill the mission of our program.

What kinds of technical experience do you have? How did you obtain it?
I gained my technical experience in policy analysis and project management through a variety of positions at various Federal agencies. My technical experience in scientific analysis was developed through academic training and being a science reviewer.

How did you manage work while studying for your PhD at the same time?
I had a very supportive family throughout the journey. This, coupled with understanding management from my employer, allowed me to “balance” work, family and school.

What’s an interesting fact about you?
As I am writing about my academic experience, my oldest child is in his first year of college.

As a member of the COS Alumni chapter, how do you stay involved with current students?
I attend COS alumni chapter board meetings and provide guest lectures to undergraduate COS students.