WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his Administration:

  • Aprille Joy Ericsson to be Assistant Secretary of Defense (Science and Technology), Department of Defense
  • John N. Nkengasong, Nominee to be Ambassador-At-Large for Global Health Security and Diplomacy, Department of State

Aprille Joy Ericsson to be Assistant Secretary of Defense (Science and Technology), Department of Defense
Aprille Joy Ericsson is the New Business Lead, Instrument Systems and Technology Division, for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, home to the nation’s largest concentration of scientists, engineers and technologists dedicated to Earth and space science. Ericsson has served at NASA for more than 30 years in a variety of leadership positions to include chief technologist, program executive for Earth Science, business executive for Space Science as well as leading new business strategy for the center. Ericsson has a depth and breadth of experience in Astrophysics, Heliophysics, Planetary and Earth Science with a portfolio including missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, ICESat-1 and 2, and lunar orbiters.

Ericsson has held multiple adjunct faculty appointments at universities and serves on several boards. She is also co-founder and advisor to the nonprofit STEM youth Dynamic Mathematical Visionaries National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter in Washington, D.C. In these roles, Ericsson has been a tireless champion for the advancement of women and people of color in the STEM fields.
Ericsson is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honors including being named one of the top 50 minority women working in science and engineering by the National Technical Association and recognized among the top 20 “Most Powerful Women Engineers” by Business Insider. Her awards include the Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers, Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society) Alumni of Distinction Award and the 2022 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Ralph Coates Roe Medal awardee, the highest award bestowed by ASME.

Ericsson earned a B.S. in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from MIT. In addition, she earned a Master of Engineering, as well as a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University. Ericsson has also received honorary degrees from Medgar Evers College, Rutgers, and Saint Peter’s Universities.

John N. Nkengasong, Nominee to be Ambassador-At-Large for Global Health Security and Diplomacy, Department of State
John N. Nkengasong is currently the Ambassador-At-Large and Coordinator of U.S Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy at the Department of State. If confirmed, Nkengasong would lead the new Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, which provides a single voice of leadership on global health security and diplomacy and advances the State Department’s longstanding focus on HIV/AIDS through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Previously, he was Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which is a specialized technical institution of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to that, Nkengasong was Acting Deputy Director, Center for Global Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and before that the Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis at the CDC. Nkengasong also served as the Associate Director for Laboratory Science, Division of Global AIDS/HIV and Tuberculosis, Center for Global Health, CDC, and Co-Chair of the PEPFAR’s Laboratory Technical Working Group. He has also served as a board member for the International Vaccine Initiative in New York, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, in Norway.

Nkengasong received his B.Sc. from the Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, his M.Sc. from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium and his Ph.D from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Brussels, Belgium. He also received a Diploma in Leadership and Management from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the first laurate of the Virchow Prize for Global Health and served as one of the WHO Director General’s Special Envoys for COVID-19 since 2020. He is a member of the U.S National Academy of Medicine. He has authored or co-authored over 250 peer-review papers and book chapters in professional journals.


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