WASHINGTON, Mar. 6Technical information specialist Yvette Alonso has received the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) "2006 Excellence in Information Award." ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Alonso heads the Food Safety Information Center at the Beltsville, Md.-based USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL). The annual "Excellence in Information" award is presented to an ARS employee to recognize outstanding contributions to the creation and distribution of information products, services and technologies that support agricultural research and education.
In a ceremony today at USDA headquarters, ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling presented Alonso with a plaque, citing her "outstanding leadership in improving customer service provided by NAL and in advancing access to information through technology." Earlier, she received a cash award.
The USDA-ARS Abraham Lincoln National Agricultural Library building is the principal source of information in the United States about agriculture and its related sciences.
The NAL Food Safety Information Center includes the Food Safety Research Information Office, or FSRIO, which Alonso developed and launched in July 2001 as a single comprehensive governmental database of food safety research information from a variety of organizations. Alonso develops partnerships, manages overall operations, markets and promotes the center, develops information products and works with other agencies.
In addition to fulfilling her role in the area of food safety information, Alonso became project manager for the revitalization of the Nutrition.gov website. This led to another key rolethat of project manager for an NAL-wide web redesign. In that capacity, Alonso managed and coordinated the work of seven teams and developed a migration plan for NAL's estimated 68,000 Web pages.
The new design provides rapid access to information, wide exposure for NAL products and services, and a user-friendly environment. The redesign's launch has been followed by a sharp increase in the number of requests for information. Also concurrently, in support of the Science.gov website, Alonso participated in usability testing, site redesign and content formulation.
Alonso's other recognitions include Federal Computer Week's 2006 Federal 100 Award for her leadership in the NAL web redesign, and the USDA's Hispanic Who's Who in 2002 and 2003.
Alonso was born in Miami, Fla., and raised in Homestead, Fla. She attended the University of Florida (UF) College of Journalism and Communications, where she received a B.S. in public relations in 1999. At UF, she worked with a team on a USDA-funded project to develop and produce a national food safety website. Upon graduation, Alonso managed the website full-time at UF for more than a year, after which she began working at NAL as a technical information specialist in 2000. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science in Technology Management degree from the University of Maryland University College, Adelphi, Md. Alonso lives in Laurel, Md.