The United States Senate voted on 21 September to confirm Dr Arati Prabhakar, an Indian American, as the next director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), making Prabhakar the first woman, immigrant, and person of colour to ever serve in that role.
Previously in June 2022, Biden had announced Prabhakar's nomination and praised her saying in a statement that she was,"a brilliant and highly-respected engineer and applied physicist."
"I share Dr Prabhakar's belief that America has the most powerful innovation machine the world has ever seen."Joe Biden, US President.
Under Biden, OSTP in conjunction with the National Security Council worked to develop the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan and it also heads the White House's Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
Prabhakar's family came to the United States when she was three and created a home for themselves in Lubbock, Texas. With an electrical engineering degree from Texas Tech University, she went on to become the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology.
Her professional career started as a Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment after which she spent 15 years in Silicon Valley. In 2019, she founded a non-profit organisation called Actuate that focuses on bringing new actors to the table in order to develop solutions to the daunting challenges of climate, health, trustworthy data, information technology, and opening "access to opportunity" for every person.
Prabhakar has also served as the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and became the first woman to do so.
(With inputs from India West Journal)