Alumna Kathryn Sullivan appointed to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Kathryn Sullivan
Kathryn Sullivan

President Biden has announced 30 of the country’s most distinguished leaders in science and technology as members of his President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), including UC Santa Cruz alumna Kathryn Sullivan.

PCAST is the sole body of external advisors charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House.

Drawing from the nation’s most talented and accomplished individuals, President Biden’s PCAST includes 20 elected members of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, five MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, two former Cabinet secretaries, and two Nobel laureates. Its members represent the most diverse PCAST in U.S. history.

Sullivan graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in Earth sciences. A geologist, former NASA astronaut, and oceanographer, she served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the Obama administration.

Sullivan flew on three Space Shuttle missions, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. She was the first American woman to walk in space, the first woman to dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the Earth’s oceans), and is the first and only person to do both. She has previously served in leadership positions in Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry, higher education, the private sector, and the federal government, including as NOAA’s chief scientist.

As directed in the President’s executive order establishing PCAST, the council includes advisors from outside the federal government who are responsible for advising the President “on matters involving policy affecting science, technology, and innovation, as well as on matters involving scientific and technological information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, the environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.”

Additional information about PCAST and the PCAST members can be found at