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Indian-American Scientist Is Appointed by Biden to the Cabinet

According to the White House, Indian-American scientist Arati Prabhakar has been appointed by US President Joe Biden to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The White House announced on Wednesday that the Senate had been sent her nomination for approval. If confirmed, she would join Vice President Kamala Harris as the second Indian-American in the current cabinet.

She will also take on the roles of co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and principal advisor to the President on science and technology.

Prabhakar was praised by the White House for helping to make mRNA-based Covid vaccinations possible long before the epidemic.

It was claimed that Prabhakar’s leadership during her tenure as the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2012 to 2017 enabled “the development of a rapid-response mRNA vaccine platform,” which “made possible the fastest safe and effective vaccine development in world history in response to Covid-19.”

Her leadership of the OSTP, according to Biden, will “use science, technology, and innovation to extend our possibilities, solve our hardest issues, and make the unthinkable possible.” He dubbed her “a smart and highly-respected engineer and applied physicist.”

Prabhakar will become the third Indian-American to ever hold a position in a US cabinet if the Senate confirms her to the position, as is necessary for all high-level nominations.

As the Permanent Representative to the UN with cabinet rank, Nikki Haley was the first to be chosen by the late President Donald Trump in 2017.

The Asian and Indian communities applauded Prabhakar’s selection.


She was nominated, according to Neil Makhija, executive director of the Indian American Impact, a nonprofit that supports community members running for public office.

“We welcome the president for his historic decision, which elevates not only the highly qualified Dr Prabhakar but also all South Asians and Asian Americans who aspire to higher heights and become leaders within the public service and scientific community.”

“I look forward to witnessing all the good Arati Prabhakar will do as the White House scientific adviser, and as the first woman of colour and first immigrant to hold the job,” tweeted member of the House of Representatives Pramila Jayapal.

In a tweet, an Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) offered her congratulations.

With her family, Prabhakar immigrated to the US when she was three years old. She later earned a PhD in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology and a degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University.

She began her career in the Office of Technology Assessment as a Congressional Fellow.

At the age of 34, former President Bill Clinton chose her to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1993, making her the first woman to hold the position.

She served as the director of DARPA under former President Barack Obama, where she oversaw innovations in the fight against terrorism and human trafficking.

The White House claimed that teams under her direction “created tools to locate human trafficking networks in the deep and dark web” and “prototyped a method for detecting nuclear and radiological materials before a terrorist can build a bomb.”

To promote novel biotechnologies, she opened a new office at DARPA. In another project, she “enabled complex military systems to work together even when they were not originally designed to do so,” the article added.

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She spent 15 years working as an executive and venture investor in Silicon Valley between stints with the federal government.

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