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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Two Indian-American women have been selected to participate in a prestigious White House fellowship that will provide them with a rare front-row seat of the mechanics of the highest levels of the U.S. federal government.

Anjali Tripathi, an astrophysicist from California, and Tina R. Shah, a physician from Chicago, were named among the 16 finalists selected for this year’s White House Fellows program.

Shah is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician-scientist focused on transforming healthcare delivery for patients with chronic diseases. She recently completed her clinical fellowship, redesigning the care cycle for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease at the University of Chicago. Her efforts, many believe, will be instrumental in dramatically decreasing hospital readmissions.

She was the inaugural recipient of the university’s Innovations Grant, and also led an inter-professionals research team to evaluate the value-based delivery care program. Shah also served as a trustee for the Chicago Medical Society as well as a multitude of other positions in other medical societies.

Tripathi, an astrophysicist of Harvard acclaim, spends her time focused on the formation and evolution of planets. She has pioneered the characterization of planet forming environments and was responsible for developing the first 3D simulations of planets evaporating due to extreme atmospheric heat. She has also been involved in works to model the Milky Way and in the search for dark matter.

Previously, Tripathi conducted particle physics, seismology and engineering research at Fermilab, Caltech, MIT, and NASA JPL, as part of the mission operations team for the Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

She’s been recognized by multiple institutions for her contributions, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the American Red Cross.

After the competitive application process, individuals selected for the program spend a year in Washington D.C. working full-time for cabinet secretaries, senior White House staff and other top-ranking U.S. government officials. Fellows additionally participate in a educational program consisting of roundtable discussions with some of the world’s most renowned leaders from both the public and private sectors, including the President and Vice President of the United States.

The program has a listed alumni of over 700 since its inception, a distinguished group that includes former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.