Indian-American Bhavya Lal was appointed the Acting Chief of Staff of the US space agency NASA.
According to the agency, Bhavya brings ‘extensive experience’ in engineering and space technology, serving as a member of the research staff at the Institute for Defence Analyses Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) from 2005 to 2020.
During this period, she led the analysis of space technology, strategy, and policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Space Council, as well as federal space-oriented organisations like NASA and the Department of Defence, and the Intelligence community.
As the Acting Chief of Staff, Bhavya will be responsible for day-to-day operations at NASA’s headquarters, and will work towards shaping the strategic direction of the space agency. She will also assume responsibility as Senior Adviser for Budget and Finance at NASA.
Bhavya was earlier an External Council member of NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, and was part of the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Advisory Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.
She holds B.Sc and M.Sc degrees in Nuclear Engineering, as well as a second MS degree in Technology and Policy, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bhavya has also earned a Doctorate in Public Policy and Public Administration from George Washington University, and is a member of the Nuclear Engineering and Public Policy Honor societies.
Being an active member of the space technology and policy community, she has chaired, co-chaired, and served on five high-impact National Academy of Science committees.
She was a member of the Biden Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for NASA, and oversaw the agency’s transition under the administration of President Joe Biden.
Additionally, Bhavya has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has served on high-impact National Academy of Science committees including two consecutive terms on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing.
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)