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Featured Alumni

Lori Garver


Lori Beth Garver

Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lori Beth Garver began her duties as the deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on July 17, 2009.

As deputy administrator, Garver is NASA's second in command. She works closely with the administrator to provide overall leadership, planning, and policy direction for the agency. Together with the NASA administrator, Garver represents NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of government agencies, international organizations, and external organizations and communities. She also oversees the work of NASA’s functional offices.

Garver's confirmation as deputy administrator marks the second time she has worked for NASA. Her first period of service to the agency was from 1996 to 2001. She first served as a special assistant to the NASA administrator and senior policy analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans, before becoming the associate administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans. Reporting to the NASA administrator, she oversaw the analysis, development and integration of policies and long-range plans, the NASA Strategic Management System, and the NASA Advisory Council.

A native of Michigan, Garver graduated from Haslett High School in Haslett, Michigan, in 1979 and four years later, in 1983, she earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Colorado College. Her focus turned to space when she accepted a job working for Sen. John Glenn from 1983 to 1984. She since has served in a variety of senior roles in the nonprofit, government and commercial sectors.

Garver worked at the newly formed National Space Society from 1984 to 1996, becoming its second executive director in 1987. She served as the society's primary spokesperson, making frequent appearances on national television and regularly testifying on Capitol Hill. During that time, she also earned a master's degree in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University in 1989.

After working at NASA from 1996 to 2001, Garver was employed as the vice president of DFI Corporate Services from 2001 to 2003. From January 2001 until her nomination as NASA's deputy administrator, she was a full-time consultant as the president of Capital Space, LLC, and senior advisor for space at the Avascent Group. In these roles, she provided strategic planning, technology feasibility research and business development assistance, as well as merger, acquisition and strategic alliance support, to financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Garver was the lead civil space policy advisor for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and led the agency review team for NASA during the post-election transition. Previously, she served as the lead space policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry campaigns for president and represented them at various events and conferences. Garver has held numerous senior positions in space policy. She was a member of the NASA Advisory Council, a guest lecturer at the International Space University, president and board member of Women in Aerospace, and president of the American Astronautical Society. She lives in Virginia with her husband, David Brandt, and their sons Wesley and Mitchell.






Thom Shanker

Thom Shanker is a correspondent covering the Pentagon, the military and national security for The New York Times. He joined The Times in 1997, and was named Pentagon correspondent in May of 2001. He is co-author, with Eric Schmitt, of “Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda,” which was a New York Times Bestseller.

For the opening of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Shanker embedded with the Army Special Forces units that captured Kandahar. He has conducted numerous reporting trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, and has embedded in the field with units from the squad and company level through battalion, brigade, division and corps.

Prior to joining The Times, he was foreign editor of The Chicago Tribune. Thom was The Tribune's senior European correspondent, based in Berlin, from 1992-1995. Most of that time was spent covering the wars in former Yugoslavia, where he was the first reporter to uncover the Serb campaign of systematic mass rape of Muslim women.

Thom spent two years in the master's degree program at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, specializing in strategic nuclear policy and international law, passing his master’s orals with Highest Honors. He graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College in 1978, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the College in 2004.

 He has been published in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The American Journalism Review and Military Review. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.