President Obama asked each Cabinet and Cabinet-level Secretary and White House Office to appoint a senior level person within their agency to serve as their designee to oversee the work of the Initiative. These designees, known collectively as the Interagency Working Group, are tasked to create and implement agency plans to increase participation in and access to federal programs in which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders may be underserved.
- Secretary John King
- Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy
- Nisha Biswal
- Georgia Coffey
- Nadine Garcia
- Vanita Gupta
- Brian Harris-Kojetin
- Carolyn Johnson
- David Kim
- Kei Koizumi
- Patricia Loui
- David Mineta
- Asim Mishra
- Mark Mitsui
- Konrad Ng
- Ajit Pai
- Nimesh Patel
- Thomas Phan
- Sonny Ramaswamy
- Hallie Schneir
- Albert K. Shen
- Robin Staffin
- Mathy Stanislaus
- Stephanie Tennyson
- Veronica Villalobos
- Jenny Yang
- Francey Youngberg
Secretary John King
Department of Education – Co-Chair
John B. King, Jr. is the Secretary of Education, a position he assumed in January 2016. As Secretary, Dr. King brings a continued commitment to advancing excellence and equity for every student, supporting educators and elevating the teaching profession, and improving college affordability and completion rates. Before becoming Secretary, Dr. King had served since January 2015 at the Department as Principal Senior Advisor. In that role, Dr. King carried out the duties of the Deputy Secretary, overseeing all preschool-through-12th-grade education policies, programs and strategic initiatives, as well as the operations of the Department.
In performing the duties of the Deputy Secretary, Dr. King also oversaw the Department’s work leading cross-agency collaboration for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper task force, which seeks to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people are able to reach their full potential. Prior to his arrival at the Department, Dr. King had served since 2011 as the commissioner of education for the state of New York. Dr. King was one of the nation’s youngest state education leaders at the time of his appointment and the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner.
Dr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Columbia University’s Teachers College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education degree in educational administrative practice from Columbia University’s Teachers College. Dr. King was a 1995 Truman Scholar and received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship for secondary-level teaching of American history, American government, and social studies. Prior to joining the Department, in February 2011, Dr. King was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission. In addition, Dr. King served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools from 2005 to 2009, and is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow.
Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy
Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. As “America’s Doctor,” he is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal and public health. Dr. Murthy also oversees operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation and our world.
For the past two decades, Dr. Murthy has devoted himself to improving public health through the lenses of service, clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship. The son of immigrants from India, he discovered a love for the art of healing early in his childhood while spending time at his father’s medical clinic in Miami. After earning his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale, he completed residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he later joined the faculty as an internal medicine physician and instructor. As a clinician-educator, Dr. Murthy has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students.
When he was 17 years old, Dr. Murthy and his sister co-founded VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India and the U.S, which he led for eight years. He also co-founded the Swasthya project (“health and wellbeing” in Sanskrit), a community health partnership in rural India designed to train women to be health providers and educators. Dr. Murthy also has conducted research on vaccine development and studied the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. He is a healthcare entrepreneur who launched a successful software technology company, TrialNetworks, to improve research collaboration and enhance the efficiency of clinical trials around the world. Most recently, Dr. Murthy served as the president of Doctors for America, a non-profit organization comprised of more than 16,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states who work with patients and policymakers to build a high quality, affordable healthcare system for all.
Dr. Murthy firmly believes that our nation’s greatest asset has always been its people. Building a stronger, healthier America is his highest priority as the U.S. Surgeon General.
U.S. Department of State
Nisha Desai Biswal was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs on October 21, 2013. She oversees U.S. foreign policy and relations in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
During her tenure, the United States has focused on strengthening bilateral and regional relationships to enhance the security, stability, and prosperity of South and Central Asia. Under her leadership the United States has supported economic development and encouraged increased regional connectivity within South and Central Asia as part of the U.S. re-balance to Asia. From India to Kazakhstan the region’s emerging economies can drive growth and deliver sustained benefits to the peoples of the region. She has led the annual bilateral consultations with Central Asia for the United States as well as deepening ties with South Asian nations.
Biswal’s career in the executive and legislative branches and in non-governmental organizations has focused on the link between human security and national security. Specifically, she prioritizes ensuring that our diplomatic and development efforts in the region are sustainable through a focus on people, and not just governments. Previously, Ms. Biswal served from September 2010 as Assistant Administrator for Asia at USAID, where she oversaw $1.2 billion in assistance to 22 nations. In the House of Representatives, Biswal served as the majority clerk for the House Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee (HACFO) and as professional staff in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), where she was responsible for South Asia. In addition to her government service, Ms. Biswal led public policy at InterAction and worked at the American Red Cross as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Georgia Coffey was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Sept. 2, 2008. As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ms. Coffey serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration on equal employment opportunity,
workforce diversity and workplace inclusion issues. She has over 20 years of EEO, diversity, and dispute resolution experience in the public and private sectors and has led several leading edge EEO and diversity initiatives government-wide.
Since joining the VA in 2008, Ms. Coffey has served as a catalyst for change. Under her leadership, VA has implemented numerous groundbreaking programs including developing VA’s first Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, standing-up its first VA-wide Diversity Council, implementing standardized EEO and diversity training for managers and supervisors, issuing a consolidated EEO, Diversity, and No FEAR Policy Statement, and restructuring and renaming the office she leads to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Prior to joining VA in 2008, Ms. Coffey served as the Director of EEO and Diversity Management and Acting Assistant Commissioner for Management for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where she implemented similar first-time EEO and diversity initiatives. She is a prolific public speaker on diversity and inclusion in the public sector and a contributing author to “Inside the Minds: Implementing a Successful Human Resources Strategy.”
Ms. Coffey earned her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, a Master’s Degree and Doctoral work in education from American University, and a Certificate in EEO Studies from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. J. Nadine Gracia is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and
programs that will help eliminate health disparities.
A pediatrician with epidemiology training, Dr. Gracia has served in academic medicine and government. From 2010 to 2011, she was the Chief Medical Officer for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). She provided programmatic and policy leadership and coordination of a portfolio that included child and adolescent health, climate change, disaster preparedness, environmental health, global health, Haiti recovery and the White House Council on Women and Girls. Most recently, she led the development of HHS’s 2012 environmental justice strategy, which addresses the disproportionate exposure of minority and low-income communities and Indian tribes to environmental hazards and promotes healthy community environments.
In 2008-2009, Dr. Gracia was one of fourteen White House Fellows and was assigned to HHS, where she worked in OASH and the Office of the Secretary. During the last two months of the fellowship, she was a policy advisor in the Office of the First Lady, assisting in the development of the childhood obesity initiative.
Previously, Dr. Gracia was a clinical instructor and general pediatrics research fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, conducting research on community risk factors for violence. She received a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania and a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Gracia completed her pediatrics residency and served as Chief Pediatrics Resident at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She is board-certified in pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Gracia is an advocate for minority and vulnerable populations and lectures nationwide on health disparities and children’s health. She is a National President Emeritus of the Student National Medical Association and a past Postgraduate Physician Trustee of the National Medical Association. A first-generation Haitian-American, Dr. Gracia earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in French at Stanford University.
Department of Justice
Vanita Gupta is the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. She is the top civil rights prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice.
Prior to joining the department, Gupta served as Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of its Center for Justice. Previously, she was an attorney for its Racial Justice Program. Over her career, Gupta has earned a reputation for working closely and collaboratively with law enforcement, departments of corrections and across the political spectrum to advance smart policing and criminal justice reforms. Through her
work with the ACLU, she has been involved in reform initiatives around the country pertaining to federal and state policing, sentencing, drug policy and criminal law. Her recent work has focused on building a bipartisan consensus to end overreliance on incarceration.
Gupta began her career as a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In addition to her work with the ACLU and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Gupta has taught civil rights litigation and advocacy clinics at New York University School of Law since 2008. She received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Office of Management and Budget
Brian Harris-Kojetin is the senior statistician in the Statistical and Science Policy Office. He chairs the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology and was the lead at OMB on issues related to standards for statistical surveys, survey nonresponse, survey respondent incentives, and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical
Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA). He also served as the desk officer for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the demographic programs of the U.S. Census Bureau. He is also the deputy director and study director for the Panel on Improving Federal Statistics for Policy and Social Science Research Using Multiple Data Sources and State-Of-The-Art Estimation Methods on the Committee on National Statistics. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and an adjunct faculty member at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining OMB in 2001, he was the senior project leader of Research Standards and Practices at the Arbitron Company. He also previously served as a research psychologist in the Office of Survey Methods Research in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has a B.A. in psychology and religious studies from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Minnesota.
Carolyn Johnson is a Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. In that capacity, Ms. Johnson provides executive level consultative and representational services to the Acting Commissioner. Carolyn serves as the liaison between the Office of the Commissioner and the Office of Human Resources.
Carolyn has a broad range of management and leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. She brings more than 25 years of experience in leading organizational change, process improvement, program management, leading national level programs and leveraging technology to improve institutional services. Carolyn served 13 years in the United States Army where she earned a Presidential Support Medal, and numerous Army Achievement and Army Commendation Medals for her meritorious service. During her service in the military Carolyn was assigned to the White House Communications Agency from 1998-2002, where she provided strategic communications support to Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush as well as senior White House staff, the National Security Council, and the Secret Service. Subsequently, Carolyn served as Senior Information Technology Program Manager for both Forts Belvoir and AP Hill military installations while at the Directorate of Information Management, Department of the Army at Fort George G. Meade Maryland.
Continuing her path of service to the American public, Carolyn joined the Social Security Administration in July 2008. Her initial assignment was to oversee the agency’s emergency response, continuity, and communications security programs. From 2011-2013 she served as Director for the Office of Emergency Preparedness and earned a Deputy Commissioner’s Citation and an Associate Commissioner’s Citation, as well as other awards for her superior performance. In her current role, as Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner, Carolyn is a member of the Acting Commissioner’s senior leadership team and serves as the agency’s liaison to the Department of Education. Additionally, she oversees the agency’s implementation of a wide range of presidential executive orders. Carolyn serves on several federal inter-agency groups including the Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency, the Interagency Coordinating Council for Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, the White House Council on Native American Affairs, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and others. Carolyn has also been instrumental in the implementation of the agency’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) implementation plan.
Carolyn earned a bachelor’s degree in management from National Louis University and a graduate degree in project management from Keller University. She holds a black belt in Lean Six Sigma techniques and has studied other strategies for continued process improvement. Carolyn has also completed the Executive Leadership Program with the United States Department of Agriculture. Ms. Johnson is from Baltimore and currently resides in Baltimore County.
Department of Transportation
David S. Kim is Associate Administrator for Policy and Governmental Affairs at the Federal Highway Administration, within the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT). He joined the Obama Administration in July 2009 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs. Prior to DOT, David spent five years with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) as Deputy Executive Officer, Federal Advocacy and Government Relations. In this capacity, he served as head of the agency’s Government Relations Department and managed federal relations on behalf of one of the largest transit providers in the country.
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Kei Koizumi is Assistant Director for Federal Research and Development at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Koizumi joined OSTP in mid-February after having served on the Obama transition team as part of the Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Group.Before joining OSTP, Koizumi served as the longtime Director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). While at AAAS, he became known as a leading authority on federal science and technology funding and budget issues and was a frequent speaker to public groups and to the press. He was the principal budget analyst, editor, and writer for AAAS reports on federal R&D.
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Patricia M. Loui was nominated by President Obama on May 18, 2011, unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 1, 2011 and sworn in to office on November 7, 2011, for a term expiring on January 20, 2015. She relocated to Washington, D.C. from Hawaii to serve on the Board.
Loui leads efforts to promote U.S. exports to Asia, where she has over 30 years of expertise. In addition, she will focus on Ex-Im Bank’s portfolio with minority and women-owned businesses.
Executive Office of the President
David K. Mineta is the Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In this position, Mr. Mineta oversees ONDCP Office of Demand Reduction which focuses on promoting drug prevention and drug treatment programs, as well as the agency’s newly created focus on programs for individuals in recovery from addiction. Mr. Mineta’s focus of drug prevention and treatment services has been longstanding. Since 1996, Mr. Mineta has worked with Asian American Recovery Services (AARS) throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining AARS, Mr. Mineta was a drug and alcohol counselor in the San Jose Unified School District and later in Santa Clara’s Alcohol and Drug Department.
Corporation for National and Community Service
Asim Mishra serves as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Asim plays a leadership role on broad policy issues, key Administration and agency relationships, and a variety of other matters. Most recently, Asim served as Director of the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he directed a key institutional initiative to improve health outcomes through strategic partnerships and lead several Medical Center departments and community partners to implement community-based models of practice. Prior to that, Asim served as the Director of Community Affairs at the Medical Center, where he directed the operations for South Side Healthcare Collaborative, a partnership of 19 community health centers and the Emergency Department. While there, he also spearheaded the development of external volunteer programs to connect the medical center staff, faculty and students to the neighboring Southside community. Previously, Asim was a Community Education Manager at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and an AmeriCorps member at Public Allies in Chicago.
U.S. Department of Education
Mark Mitsui is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). He served previously as the President of North Seattle Community College (NSCC). Prior to that, Mitsui served as Vice President of Student Services for South Seattle Community College (SSCC), Assistant Dean at Green River Community College, Director of Student Success and Retention Services at NSCC and as a tenured faculty at Renton Technical College. International student enrollment increased by over 50% during his
tenure as president and hosted several international delegations researching the American community college system. He worked on the statewide task force to review and redesign the performance funding system in Washington’s Community and Technical Colleges, including the student success metrics. He oversaw the completion of a new Opportunity Center (a one-stop) that brought together three state agencies to provide integrated federal, state and private funding streams and services in order to move low income residents out of poverty through education. He has also worked with a variety of industry-higher education consortia to address skills gaps in high demand sectors. He is very committed to serving under-represented, under-served communities and led strategic student success efforts to serve these communities, including initiatives to help both South Seattle and North Seattle Community Colleges become minority-serving institutions.
Federal Communications Commission
Ajit Pai was nominated to the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama and on May 7, 2012 was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. On May 14, 2012, he was sworn in for a term that
concludes on June 30, 2016.
Commissioner Pai’s focus is on creating a regulatory environment in which competition and innovation will flourish, thus benefitting American consumers. He believes that it is vital for the FCC to adopt policies that will give private firms the strongest incentive to raise and invest capital; to develop new products and services; and to compete in established and new markets. Specifically, Commissioner Pai is working to remove uncertainty that can deter businesses and investors from taking risks, to revisit outdated regulations, and to set clear, modernized rules for the road. These steps will result in consumers enjoying better products at lower prices and the communications industry contributing to faster economic growth and more job creation.
Commissioner Pai also believes that the FCC must act with dispatch to reflect the pace of change in today’s marketplace. Faced with an industry as vibrant and dynamic as today’s communications sector, the Commission must be careful not to cling to twentieth century approaches in addressing the technological landscape of the twenty-first century. Thus, for example, it is a priority of Commissioner Pai to increase promptly the availability of spectrum for high-value uses.
Commissioner Pai’s regulatory approach has been shaped by his decade and a half of experience in communications, law, and policy.
Between 2007 and 2011, Commissioner Pai held several positions in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel. In this role, he had supervisory responsibility over several dozen lawyers in the Administrative Law Division and worked on a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters involving the wireless, wireline, cable, Internet, media, and satellite industries.
Commissioner Pai’s career outside of the FCC has spanned the private and public sectors. With respect to the private sector, Pai worked in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block LLP, where he was a Partner in the Communications Practice until being sworn in as a Commissioner. Years earlier, he served as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.
Commissioner Pai also has served in all three branches of the federal government. After moving to Washington, DC in 1998, his first post was with the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force. There, he worked on proposed mergers and acquisitions and on novel requests for regulatory relief following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He later returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy. Pai has worked on Capitol Hill as well, first as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, and later as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. Immediately following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Commissioner Pai received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University in 1994 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas J. Mulroy Prize. In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
The son of immigrants from India, Commissioner Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Janine, son, Alexander and daughter, Annabelle.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nimesh M. Patel is the Executive Director for Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to this position, Nimesh was a Senior Associate at Thelen LLP and Drinker Biddle & Reath where he was a
member of the labor and employment practice group.
Nimesh began his career as an Honor’s Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and his tenure included serving as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, where he investigated state and local law enforcement for excessive use of force and abuse of authority.
Nimesh’s community and professional leadership includes serving as vice chair of the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights and member of the ABA President’s Commission to Advance Diversity in the Legal Profession. Mr. Patel also was selected as one of NAPABA’s Best Lawyer’s Under 40.
Nimesh attended Michigan State University, the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and the University of Chicago – Booth School of Business.
U.S. Department of Energy
Thomas H. Phan serves as Deputy Director, Office of Scientific Technical Information (OSTI) for Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. He provides leadership and advice for overall management and operations of HQ office and three regional divisions to support the Office of Science’s R&D results emanating from DOE’s $12B R&D investments. Since 2009, he served three years as the Director of the Office of Business Policy and Operations with oversight of three Divisions: Business Management and Planning, SC Systems and Operations, and the Human Capital, Resources and Administration.
Prior to 2009, he served as the Deputy Assistant Inspector General, Office of Compliance and Administration, with the Commerce OIG. He has over 25 years of professional experience, knowledge, and expertise with Federal government, private sector and non-profit community. Mr. Phan has been responsible for corporate business strategic management and policy, capital planning and investment, resource management and administration, information technology, cyber security, and human resources. He received the Distinguished Leadership and Technological Innovation award for the innovative design of the first DOD Navy Telemedicine Initiative in the Joint Warfighters Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) and successfully deployed this lifesaving technology in Operation Storm during the Croatian and Bosnian conflict. He also received the Inspector General’s Bronze Medal Award, and the Surgeon General’s Prestigious Leadership Award, as well as other numerous awards and commendations for outstanding leadership, professional excellence and innovation.
Mr. Phan’s leadership strength was forged by severe trials throughout his life and professional experiences. He is a vibrant example of the enduring vitality of the American dream. A Vietnam War veteran, he served as a special combat officer until captured and kept as a P.O.W. in a communist re-education camp. He escaped the camp and fled from Vietnam as a “boat people” refugee, and survived starvation and pirate attacks. In the United States, he adapted into a new culture—fortified his spiritual life—and dedicated to a life of public service with compassion and zeal. He has survived many difficult trials throughout my life—even near death experiences—but he always looks forward. These life experiences have strengthened his character by instilling emotional intelligence, prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.
Prior to joining the Office of Science, Mr. Phan served in numerous senior roles in Federal agencies including Chief Information Officer, Acting Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Administrator and Human Resources Director. He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Communications from the Johns Hopkins University. He also served as President and Chair for Association of Vietnamese Americans (AVA), and Executive Director and Chair of Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN). Currently, he serves as Montgomery County, Maryland, Inspector General Advisory member, and the White House Initiative on AAPI (WHIAAPI) Interagency Working Group (IWG) Designee.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy was appointed to serve as director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture
(NIFA) on May 7, 2012. As part of USDA’s Research, Education, and Extension mission, he oversees NIFA awards funds for a wide range of extramural research, education, and extension projects that address the needs of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers.
Prior to joining NIFA, Dr. Ramaswamy served as dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. He provided overall leadership for the college’s academic programs at the Corvallis campus and OSU programs at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, for-credit extended education, informal education through the Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Extension Program, and research at OSU’s main campus and 11 branch experiment stations throughout the state.
Previously, Dr. Ramaswamy was associate dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and directed the university’s agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009. Prior to joining the Purdue faculty, Dr. Ramaswamy was head of Kansas State University’s Department of Entomology from 1997 to 2006, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor and was named the Presidential Outstanding Department Head in 2002. He also served on the faculty of Mississippi State University and as a research associate at Michigan State University. As an insect physiologist, he worked on the integrative reproductive biology of insects.
Dr. Ramaswamy has received research grants from many federal agencies, including USDA, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development, as well as from state agencies, commodity groups, and industry. He has published nearly 150 journal articles, book chapters, and a book. He has received a number of awards and honors as a scientist and department head, including being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Fellow of the Entomological Society of America; and Distinguished Graduate Alumnus of Cook College, Rutgers University.
He received a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and a Master of Science in entomology from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India, and his doctorate in entomology from Rutgers University. He is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska’s New Academic Chair’s Program and Harvard University’s Management Development Program.
White House Council on Women and Girls
Hallie Schneir serves as the Deputy Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Previously, Hallie served as the Associate Director of Public Engagement in the Office of Public Engagement, where she worked in partnership with the Council on Women and Girls to ensure that women, girls, and the people who care about them
are connected to the policies and programs of the federal government. Prior to joining the Office of Public Engagement, Hallie spent two years at the Department of Veterans Affairs, in the office of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. Hallie joined the Obama for America campaign in Iowa in March 2007, before finishing the 2008 campaign in North Carolina. Hallie is a proud graduate of Barnard College.
Albert K. Shen
Albert K. Shen serves as the National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), where he works with the MBDA National Director as a main advisor in addition to assisting with day-to-day activities. He is also a co-founding board member of Washington State Minority Business Advisory Council (MBAC), a non-profit group, and currently an advisory board member.
As a small business owner, Mr. Shen was a community advocate who worked on various projects focused on infrastructure and environmental clean-up prior to joining MBDA.
In 2013, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee appointed Mr. Shen to serve on the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB). Appointed by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, Mr. Shen served as Board Chair on the Seattle Community College Board of Trustees in 2009. Before joining the board, he served as an advisor to the Governor of Washington as Vice Chair of Economic Development for Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA).
Throughout the years, Mr. Shen has received numerous awards, including Seattle Mayor’s Small Business of the Year(2009), the International Examiner’s Community Voice Outstanding Individual Award(2011), NW Asian Weekly Asian American Pioneers in Social Entrepreneur Honoree (2011), and U.S. Small Business Administration Region X Minority Champion of the Year Award (2012).
Mr. Shen has a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Science from the University of Washington.
Dr. Robin Staffin is currently the Director for Basic Research in the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, where he has responsibility for oversight of all basic research activities throughout the Department of Defense. Previously, Dr. Staffin served as Associate Director of Science and Director for High Energy Physics at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Development in DOE’s Office of Defense Programs.
During the period 1998-2001, he served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Science, Technology, and National Security.
From 1993-1996, Dr. Staffin was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, focusing on nuclear test ban policy, science-based stockpile stewardship, and nonproliferation. A physicist by training, he received his Bachelor of Science from MIT and Ph.D. from Stanford University in particle physics.
EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)
Mathy Stanislaus began work as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 2009. As Assistant Administrator for OSWER, Mr. Stanislaus is responsible for EPA’s programs on hazardous and solid waste management; hazardous waste cleanup, including RCRA corrective action; Superfund and federal facilities cleanup and redevelopment; Brownfields; oil spill prevention and response; chemical accident prevention and preparedness; underground storage tanks; and emergency response.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Stephanie Tennyson serves as the Deputy Director of the External Affairs Office at the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Prior to this position, Tennyson was the Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. In this capacity, she was DHS liaison to the Nation’s more than 500,000 elected and appointed officials.
These officials included governors, State Homeland Security Advisors, mayors, county executives, state legislators, leadership of the 566 federally-recognized Native American and Native Alaskan tribes, emergency managers, and the national associations that represent these officials. In her capacity as the Career Deputy since March 2008, Tennyson oversaw the IGA team, managed the day-to-day office functions, and supervised the coordination and consultation with the Department’s intergovernmental stakeholders. As the Deputy, she worked with the Assistant Secretary on information and intelligence sharing initiatives as well as directly managing IGA’s collaboration with FEMA IGA, the Council of Governor’s, the Secretary’s Military Advisor, and the Science and Technology Directorate.
Prior to joining the Department, Tennyson was the Director of Communications and Government Relations at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The Potomac Institute is a not-for-profit national security, science and technology research institute based in Arlington, Va. In her position, she managed the Institute’s outreach and external affairs matters regarding the Institute’s work in science and technology policy, national security issues, and international terrorism. She also coordinated the Institute’s educational efforts for Congressional Members and staff on national security and technology issues.
From May 2004 to April 2006, Tennyson was the Manager of External Affairs in the Under Secretary’s office at DHS’s S&T Directorate as an Intergovernmental Personnel Act from Potomac Institute. She was responsible for outreach to the Directorate’s various stakeholders. She also handled various complex S&T policy matters for the Assistant Secretary as well as oversaw the Directorate’s Congressional reporting process.
Office of Personnel Management
Ms. Villalobos was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in October 2010. She currently holds the position of Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In that capacity, she manages OPM’s government-wide diversity effort to develop, drive and monitor strategies and initiatives designed to create a more diverse and inclusive Federal workforce. Prior to her current position, Ms. Villalobos was employed at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission), as one of the agency’s first Honor Program Attorneys. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology and a J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
company or geographic area. She also represents the agency on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and on the White House Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force.Throughout her career in the private, government, and nonprofit sectors, Ms. Yang has worked to ensure fairness and equal opportunity in the workplace. Ms. Yang was a partner of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC. She joined the firm in 2003, and represented employees across the country in numerous complex civil rights and employment actions. As chair of the firm’s hiring and diversity committee, Ms. Yang gained experience with the myriad issues employers confront in making hiring and other personnel decisions.Prior to that, Ms. Yang served as a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section, where she enforced federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment by state and local government employers from 1998 to 2003. Before that, she worked at the National Employment Law Project to enforce the workplace rights of garment workers. Ms. Yang clerked for the Honorable Edmund Ludwig on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.Ms. Yang received her B.A. from Cornell University in Government. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Note and Comment Editor of the Law Review and a Root-Tilden Public Interest Scholar.