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Office of the Press Secretary

White House Appoints 2010-2011 Class of White House Fellows

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the White House announced the appointment of 13 outstanding men and women to serve as White House Fellows.  The White House Fellows come from diverse backgrounds, varied professions and all of the 2010-2011 Fellows have shown a strong commitment to public service and leadership.  The 2010-2011 class of Fellows and their biographies are included below.

“This year’s White House Fellows are comprised of some of the best and brightest leaders in our country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I applaud their unyielding commitment to public service and dedication to serving their community.”

The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first hand, high-level experience with the workings of the Federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.”  This unique position in our nation’s government encourages active citizenship and service to the nation.  The Fellows also take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, military operations, and current affairs.  Community service is another important component of the program, and Fellows participate in service projects throughout the year in the Washington, D.C. area.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of remarkable early career professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, a proven commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the Federal government. Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields including leaders in government, business, media, medicine, diplomacy and the military.  Additional information about the White House Fellows program is available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/fellows.

2010-2011 Class of White House Fellows

Samar Ali, Waverly, TN. Samar Ali is an Associate with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP.  She is responsible for counseling clients on mergers & acquisitions, cross-border transactions, Shari’a compliant transactions, project finance, and international business matters.  During her time with Hogan Lovells, she has been a founding member of the firm’s Abu Dhabi office.  Prior to that, she clerked for The Honorable Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for The Honorable Edwin Cameron, now of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where she also worked extensively on editing his book Witness to AIDS.  While in Nashville, Samar led the YMCA Israeli-Palestinian Modern Voices for Progress Program, and is currently the transatlantic liaison for the development of the Palestine Diabetes Institute.  She is a founding member of the first U.S. Delegation to the World Islamic Economic Forum, and has served as an Advisory Board Member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.  She is also a three-time Southeastern Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Champion.  Samar received a J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School and a B.S. in Political Science with Honors from Vanderbilt, where she served as the first Arab-Muslim student body president.

Pat Basu, Naperville, IL.  Pat Basu is a radiologist at Stanford University and the Palo Alto VA. At Stanford, he is Course Director of Health Policy, Finance and Economics, and lectures nationally and internationally on these areas of expertise. Pat was named the Consultant Physician of the Year at Stanford in 2009, where he served as Chief Resident Physician in 2008. He received the AMA’s National Excellence in Medicine Award for Leadership in 2007. Pat co-founded ExtendMD, a web portal designed to enhance outpatient care. He serves as a business consultant to medical centers, Fortune 500 companies and venture capital firms.  Pat founded STARS Luncheon, a non-profit designed to support lower socioeconomic children for future college and career success. Pat graduated with Honors from The University of Chicago, earning his M.D. and M.B.A degrees. In Chicago, he served in the highest leadership roles on the Dean’s Council in medical school, as president of his business school cohort, and led the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. Pat attended the University of Illinois on a National Merit Scholarship where he graduated with Honors in Mechanical Engineering and served on the University Senate. Pat served on admissions committees at The University of Chicago and Stanford University.

R. Erich Caulfield, Baton Rouge, LA. R. Erich Caulfield is the Chief Policy Advisor to the Mayor and Business Administrator of the City of Newark. He is responsible for directing the City’s federal economic stimulus-related efforts, which involves reviewing, implementing and/or tracking projects totaling $360 million. He also leads the development of Newark’s implementation plan for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” childhood obesity campaign. Prior to government service, Erich worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Company, focusing on public sector projects. There, he led the design and implementation of an improved textbook delivery system for a 50,000-student urban school district, and established and supervised a project management office that coordinated 36 initiatives designed to improve customer satisfaction for a multi-billion dollar company. He has served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), where, as an international award-winning student researcher and Graduate Student Body President, he became the only person in the University’s history to receive all three of its highest distinctions for leadership and student life contributions. Erich received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from M.I.T. and a B.S., Phi Beta Kappa, in Physics and Mathematics from Morehouse College.

Jason Dempsey, Jefferson City, MO. Jason Dempsey is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army.  He spent 2009 in Afghanistan as the Operations Officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division and was responsible for coordinating and planning the actions of a 3,200-person task force conducting counterinsurgency operations in two previously unoccupied provinces south of Kabul.  In 2005, he deployed to Iraq to help draft and coordinate policy towards Kirkuk and the reconciliation of conflict stemming from the displacement of Kurdish and Shi’ite populations in northern Iraq.  He has also served with the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 3rd Infantry Division.  Jason graduated with honors from West Point and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.  His book, Our Army:  Soldiers, Politics and American Civil-Military Relations, was published by Princeton University Press in 2010.  He has also published articles on presidential approval ratings during foreign policy crises, Army efforts toward gender integration, and the experiences of Hispanics in the United States Army.  For his research, Jason was awarded a Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Fellowship in 2005 and served as a working group member of the Army’s Commission on Officer Diversity and Advancement.

Harley Feldbaum, Glen Echo, MD. Harley Feldbaum is Director of the Global Health and Foreign Policy Initiative and a Professorial Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.  He directs all daily operations of a $1.6 million Gates Foundation grant to improve global health policymaking and train future leaders at the nexus between international relations and global health.  Harley also serves as an author and senior consultant to the CSIS Global Health Policy Center and is a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.  Prior to Johns Hopkins, Harley consulted for the Nuffield Trust on health and security issues, was a program associate with the California Endowment, and worked as an interviewer and analyst on the Baltimore City needle exchange vans.  Harley was a Luce Scholar in Chiang Mai, Thailand, worked in the Nagatyad refugee camp with refugees from the Bosnian War, and volunteered for 3 years with the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team on Mount Snowdon in North Wales.  Harley received a Ph.D. in public health policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a Masters in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and graduated with Honors from Wesleyan University.

Thomas Fisher, Chicago, IL. Thomas Fisher is an Assistant Professor at The University of Chicago.  He practices Emergency Medicine in the Department of Medicine and studies the roles of race, socio-cultural structures and stereotyping in racial disparities in health and health care. Currently he is developing a community-medical center partnership called “Community Solutions in Action” to produce research and interventions that transform emergency departments’ approaches to vulnerable communities. He also partners with the New Community Program/Woodlawn in “Ask the Doctor,” a monthly community discussion on health. In the past, he participated in founding Project Brotherhood, a health care center specifically for African-American men. He has mentored Chicago Public Schools students including co-leading the University of Chicago-Kenwood Academy program for academic exploration. His medical training included a year as Chief Resident and a Fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.  He is faculty affiliate of The University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. Recently, he was a 2007 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and a 2009 Aspen Institute Health Forum Fellow.  Thomas holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College, an M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health and an M.D. from The University of Chicago.

Bill Gallagher, Springfield, VA. Bill Gallagher is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and a U.S. Navy SEAL.  His thirteen-year career has included eight deployments, with three to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and two to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Bill also had the distinct honor to serve for several years within the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.  In 2003, he served as the Deputy Tactical Commander for the rescue of over 230 American citizens and 1100 foreign nationals from the U.S. Embassy and U.N. compound in Monrovia, Liberia.  In 2005, Bill led a U.S. special operations team assigned to protect the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Barham Salih.  Following that mission’s successful completion, Bill was assigned to protect the former Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr. Ayad Allawi, during the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution.  His military decorations include the Combat Action Ribbon and four awards of the Bronze Star medal with combat-distinguishing “V” device for valor in combat.  Bill holds a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Naval Academy where he was a Division-I lacrosse player and varsity letterman, and he holds a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Holly Harrison, Vienna, VA. Holly Harrison is a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Coast Guard.  She is the first woman to command a Coast Guard vessel during combat operations and became the first Coast Guard woman to receive the Bronze Star medal for her service at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Her 15 years of military service include over eight years of sea duty around the world, second in command of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, and service on the Commandant’s personal staff.  In the Office of Budget and Program Review, she reviews policy and builds, justifies, and defends the Coast Guard’s budget for programs representing $2.7 billion of operating base funding.  A volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for over 10 years, Holly currently works with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue in Fairfax, Virginia, and has received numerous awards for her service, including firefighter and volunteer of the year.  Her publications include articles in Naval Institute’s Proceedings and Navy League’s Seapower magazines and an opening chapter of the book “Women at War.”  Holly received a Master of Public Policy degree from Princeton University and Master of Educational Technology Leadership, summa cum laude, from The George Washington University.

Erica Jeffries, Alexandria, VA. Erica Jeffries is an Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton where she specializes in the defense, strategic policy, and national security arenas.  Currently, Erica supports the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a project manager in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Office of Net Assessment.  Most recently, Erica has supported the J5 directorate, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), in Stuttgart, Germany.  Prior to working at Booz Allen, Erica served as an active duty Army aviation officer.  While in the Army, Erica was a platoon leader and an Executive Officer in an Aviation battalion as a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter pilot.   She also served as the Assistant Secretary of the General Staff (ASGS) for all of III Corps and Fort Hood.  Erica holds a B.S. in International Relations from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.

Jeffrey Prescott, New Haven, CT.  Jeffrey Prescott is Deputy Director of the China Law Center, Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.  During a decade living and working in China, he founded and led the Yale Center’s Beijing office and was a visiting scholar at Peking University.  Jeff frequently speaks and writes on Chinese policy and U.S.-China relations.  He is fluent in Mandarin.  He also taught human rights as a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, on a Henry Luce Foundation Scholarship.  Before that, Jeff was a Robert Bernstein Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), where he helped launch the Rights Defenders Program, which provides lifelines for lawyers and advocates at risk for their work around the globe.  Jeff is a graduate of Yale Law School.  He was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and served in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, for which he was awarded the C. LaRue Munson Prize.  Jeff clerked for the Hon. Walter Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Wilmington, Delaware.  He earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston University.  Jeff grew up in Wichita, Kansas.

Sunny Ramchandani, Rowland Heights, CA. Sunny Ramchandani is a Lieutenant Commander and physician in the United States Navy.  He is currently the Integrated Chief of General Internal Medicine at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he co-founded an innovative primary care delivery model that has enhanced quality, reduced overall costs, and been adopted by the entire U.S. Military Health System.  In 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan as the Senior Medical Mentor for the Afghan National Security Forces, guided the execution of a new healthcare reconstruction strategy, and received the Bronze Star Medal.  As an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University and prior Chair of the American Medical Association's Resident/Fellow Section, Sunny teaches and mentors young physicians on how to address today’s healthcare challenges. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Serve DC Commission and manages city-wide community service programs in Washington, D.C.  Sunny earned his M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health and his M.D. from the Yale School of Medicine, where he received the Norman Herzig Award for his dedication to humanitarian service in India.  He earned his B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was a Truman Scholar and graduated first in his class academically. 

Kubby Rashid, Jessup, MD. Kubby Rashid has been a member of the Gallaudet faculty since 1994, including a stint as Chair of the Department of Business. In addition to teaching, Dr. Rashid was active in faculty leadership and administration, and was co chair of a major initiative to reconfigure all academic programs at the University.  Dr. Rashid served on the board of the World Deaf Leadership Program, guiding development projects for the deaf communities in South Africa and Thailand. She has also worked with individuals from many developing countries, helping deaf people learn to develop leadership skills and advocate for themselves. Dr. Rashid has previously been involved with the National Deaf Business Institute and taught several years for NDBI and Merrill Lynch's summer program for Deaf Business owners and would-be entrepreneurs. She was the first coordinator of the Bernstein Leadership Institute's Deaf Women's Leadership Program, and implemented the program and curriculum that form the core of the DWLP today.  In 2008, she was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to a six year term on the Board of the Maryland School for the Deaf and also serves as a Board member of Discovering Deaf Worlds, an NGO dedicated to helping deaf people in developing countries.

Rachel Thornton, Pikesville, MD. Rachel Thornton is a pediatrician and public health researcher.  She most recently served as an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  Her research addresses racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care with an emphasis on childhood obesity.  She is passionate about using public health research to inform policy-making and was the director of a health impact assessment of Baltimore City’s comprehensive zoning code rewrite, a project among the first of its kind in the U.S.  After receiving a medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Rachel completed residency training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Children’s Center.  She has published scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented her research at national meetings.  As National President of the Student National Medical Association, she lectured nationally and internationally on racial/ethnic disparities in health and diversity in medical education.  She also participated in service and educational missions to Ghana and Cuba.  Rachel is committed to mentoring and serving as a positive force in children’s lives.  Rachel graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from New York University, earning her B.A. with Honors in psychology.

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