Rita Barawal
Indian-American woman Trump's pick to head nuclear energy divisionLinkedIn/RitaBaranwal

In yet another instance that is bound to make Indians proud, United States President Donald Trump has nominated Indian-American nuclear expert Rita Baranwal to head the nuclear energy division at the Department of Energy.

If approved by the Senate, Baranwal will be an assistant secretary of energy, responsible for nuclear technology research and the development and management of the department's nuclear technology infrastructure, the White House said in a statement.

Who is Rita Baranwal?

  1. Baranwal works at the Idaho National Laboratory's Nuclear Science & Technology directorate, where she serves as the Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.
  2. Here, she is responsible for providing the nuclear industry and other stakeholders access to US Department of Energy's research and expertise.
  3. Before the INL, Baranwal was the director of Technology Development and Application at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Cranberry, Pennsylvania. She also served as director of Core Engineering and manager of Materials and Fuel Rod Design here.
  4. She has also served as manager at Bechtel Bettis, Inc.
  5. Baranwal has a B.Sc in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.Sc and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
  6. She also completed an executive management program at Duquesne University's Beard Institute.
  7. She is the vice chair on the ANS Materials Science and Technology Division Executive Committee and is on the Board of North Hills Community Outreach.
  8. She is a rower and a certified scuba diver.

Baranwal is the second Indian-American to make headlines this week. On Monday, October 1, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced the appointment of India-born Gita Gopinath as its chief economist. Gopinath will succeed Maurice Obstfeld, who is set to retire as the economic counsellor and director of the organisation's research department at the end of 2018.

Announcing the appointment of Gopinath, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde described her as a wonderful economist, who comes with an international experience. "Gita is one of the world's outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience," Lagarde said in a statement.

"All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our Research Department at this important juncture. I am delighted to name such a talented figure as our Chief Economist."