Two Indian–American women – Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi from California and physician Tina R Shah from Chicago have been selected for the prestigious White House Fellow programme. This program offers first hand experience of working at the highest levels of the US federal government and they are among the 16 White House Fellows appointed from across the nation for the year 2016-17.
About White House Fellow Programme :-
The White House Fellows program was established by President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson in October 1964. The mission of the program is “to give the Fellows first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs”.
- “President Johnson expected the Fellows to ‘repay that privilege‘ when they left by ‘continuing to work as private citizens on their public agendas’. He hoped that the Fellows would contribute to the nation as future leaders.”
- The webpage on the program explains it this way: White House Fellows typically spend a year working as full-time, paid special assistants to senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.
- Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, and trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally. Fellowships are awarded on a strictly non-partisan basis
- The selection process is very competitive and there can be as many as 1,000 applicant for the eleven to nineteen fellowships. The White House Fellows Program office processes the applications and former Fellows screen the applications to identify the most promising candidates.
- Approximately 100 of the most qualified applicants are selected to be interviewed by eight to ten regional panels, which are composed of prominent local citizens. Based on the results of the interviews, the regional panels and the Director select approximately thirty candidates to proceed as National finalists.
- The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships then interviews the thirty candidates and recommends 11-19 outstanding candidates to the President for a one-year appointment as Fellows.
About Tripathi :
Tripathi, an astrophysicist recently at Harvard University, focuses on the formation and evolution of planets. She has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and developed the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heating.
- Tripathi has also been involved in modeling the Milky Way and the search for dark matter. Previously, she has conducted particle physics, seismology and engineering research at Fermi lab, Caltech, MIT, and NASA JPL, as part of the mission operations team for the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.
- Her commitment to improving her community has been recognized by Harvard, MIT, and the American Red Cross.
- Tripathi will receive her Ph.D. in Astronomy from Harvard, where she earned an AM in Astronomy as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She received Phil in Astronomy from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar and SB in Physics, with a minor in Applied International Studies, from MIT.
About Tina R Shah :
Shah is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases.
- She recently completed her clinical fellowship at the University of Chicago (UC), where she redesigned the care cycle for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), dramatically reducing hospital readmissions.
- As the recipient of the inaugural UC Innovations Grant, Shah also led an inter-professional research team to evaluate this value-based care delivery programme.
- Shah was a trustee for the Chicago Medical Society and has held leadership positions in other medical societies to advocate for her patients and for a sustainable medical workforce.
- It is noted that she received a BS and an MD from the Pennsylvania State University/Jefferson Medical College accelerated six-year medical program and MPH from Harvard.