Indian American Arati Prabhakar Creates History as Biden’s Chief Science Advisor

“DR. Prabhakar is a brilliant engineer and applied physicist. She will lead the US Office of Science and Technology policy to use science, technology and innovation to expand our possibilities, solve our toughest challenges and make the impossible possible I share Dr. Prabhakar’s belief that America has the most powerful innovation machinery the world has ever known,” President Joe Biden said when he named her his chief adviser on science and technology in June this year.

Indian Americans White House, Dr.  Arati Prabhakar White House

dr Arati Prabhakar added the more than 130 Indian Americans in the corridor of power and decision-making, making history on more than one level. She is the first woman, first immigrant, first Native American and first black person to be appointed director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (WHOSTP). It breaks former President Donald Trump’s record of having over 80 Indian-origin leaders in his administration and former President Barack Obama’s record of having more than 60 Indian-Americans appointed to key positions.

“What could be bigger than the ‘historic’ bipartisan endorsement of Biden’s nomination of Dr. Prabhakar for one of the highest positions in the White House on the eve of Navaratri when ‘girl power’ is worshiped in all walks of life! We celebrate whenever an Indian ascends the throne of a global CEO. Now it’s time to rejoice that she’s part of the think tank of one of the world’s leading science and technology companies. Imagine if the President of the largest economy and most powerful country in the world were to respond to Dr. Hear Arati Prabhakar’s advice on the impact of science and technology on national and international issues such as climate crisis, geopolitical crisis and socio-economic security,” said Sourav Agarwal, Editor of Travel Beats.

Previously, she was Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for five years. From 1993 to 1997 she headed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).. Interestingly, she was the first female director of NIST. As director of DARPA, Dr. Prabhakar’s “prototyping of a system that could detect the use of nuclear and radiological materials in illegal activities”. At DARPA, she led the teams working to develop tools to detect human trafficking networks on the dark web. At NIST, she helped small and medium-sized manufacturers increase their competitiveness from the early seed stage to the national level.

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She had two stints with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; one as director for 5 years from 2012 to 2017 and the other as program manager for 7 years from 1986 to 1993. After her first stint at DARPA, Dr. Arati Prabhakar in Silicon Valley for over a decade, working in various industries including consumer electronics, design technology and semiconductor processes in various roles ranging from a corporate executive to a venture capitalist.

She founded Actuate in Palo Alto, California in 2018; Since then she has been the managing director of her non-profit organization. Actuate is responsible for conducting “rigorous R&D programs” to develop cost-effective, sustainable solutions to the challenges of climate change, the public health crisis and information technology for humanity.

dr Arati Prabhakar came to the United States at the age of 3 when her family emigrated New Delhi to Chicago. They later settled in Lubbock, Texas when she was 10. A member of the National Academy of Engineering; She was the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology. She was a Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. She is a board member of the Pew Research Center.

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