20th director of DARPA
February 2, 1959 |
New Delhi, India
U.S. Venture Partners
|Alma mater||Texas Tech University
California Institute of Technology
|Notable awards||IEEE Fellow|
Early life and education
Prabhakar immigrated to the United States from her birthplace of New Delhi, India at age three; her mother was seeking an advanced degree in social work in Chicago. Prabhakar grew up in Lubbock, Texas, from age ten. Her mother encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D. from a very early age.
She has a 1979 bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. She earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering in 1980 and a PhD in applied physics in 1984, both from the California Institute of Technology. She was the first woman to earn a PhD in applied physics from Caltech.
After receiving her Ph.D., she went to Washington, D.C. on a 1984 to 1986 congressional fellowship with the Office of Technology Assessment. Prabhakar subsequently worked at DARPA from 1986 to 1993, initially as a program manager but later as interim director of DARPA's Microelectronics Technology Office.
At the age of 34, Prabhakar was appointed the head of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a position she held from 1993 to 1997. After NIST, she was the Chief Technology Officer and senior vice president of Raychem from 1997 to 1998. She was then the vice president and later president of Interval Research from 1998 to 2000.
She joined U.S. Venture Partners from 2001 to 2011, focusing on investment in green technology and information technology startups. On July 30, 2012, she became the head of DARPA, replacing Regina E. Dugan.
Awards and memberships
Prabhakar is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was named IEEE Fellow in 1997 for "leadership in partnering between industry and government to promote economic growth through the development of manufacturing technologies for semiconductor devices". She has also been named a Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer and a Distinguished Alumna of California Institute of Technology.
She was a member of the board of directors of SRI International in 2012, and was also a member of the U.S. National Academies' Science Technology and Economic Policy Board and the College of Engineering Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley.
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