Dr. Shuchi Talati, Chief of Staff, for the Office of Fossil Energy

Dr. Shuchi Talati is an integral part of the Fossil Energy leadership team. She joins #FE as the Chief of Staff, but she is not new to working in government.

Dr. Talati was the 2017-2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Institute of Physics Congressional Science Fellow. During her fellowship, she worked on climate and energy issues in the U.S. Senate.

Prior to that, she was a post-doctoral fellow in science policy at the American Meteorological Society. She also served at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Obama Administration during her Ph.D. During her career she has worked at various environmental non-profit organizations, including Carbon180 and the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she focused on climate and energy policies.

Dr. Talati earned a B.S. in environmental engineering from Northwestern University, a M.A. in climate and society from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in engineering and public policy.

STEM Surrounds Her

Dr. Talati’s interest in STEM was nurtured by her family. Her mother and her sister are physicians.  “As a kid, I was always interested in the environment. As I was growing up, climate change became a big issue. I thought, how can I pursue a career in that and work to make things better?” says Dr. Talati.

Dr. Talati began her college studies as a biomedical engineering major, but changed to environmental engineering so that she could focus on climate change. She says, “I enjoyed differential calculus, but I also cared about the environment. I was interested in making a change and environmental engineering presented that opportunity.”

After Dr. Talati earned a B.S. in environmental engineering, she earned an M.A. in climate science and policy at Columbia University. She then moved to D.C. and began to work on climate change issues. “I realized how important it is to have expertise in policy-making and to understand why our current climate policy isn’t working… Pursuing advancements in science and formulating policy are very different things, and I wanted to get more expertise in science policy specifically to understand that relationship.” said Dr. Talati.

Where The Work Happens

Dr. Talati’s experience and expertise add a unique perspective to the Office of Fossil Energy. Her work helps inform many policy-making decisions and highlights the importance of environmental and energy justice. It also supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a clean energy transition. Dr. Talati says, “I am excited about working at the Department because it is where science and policy meet. I’m excited to further our mission to minimize the negative impacts of fossil fuels.”

Addressing climate change is a top priority for the Administration and the Department. It supports research and innovation that focuses on decarbonization and achieving a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century. Dr. Talati admits, “Policy-making comes with the responsibility to do it right – to build from the ground up in a just and equitable way. Having an administration that supports our goals is important.”

Diversity In STEM Means Growth

The Department’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity’s mission is to ensure that everyone is afforded the opportunity to access, participate, and benefit from the programs, resources, and opportunities that are available. The Department and the U.S. government also offer many programs to students interested in STEM.

Dr. Talati says, “I think that we need more women and people of color in STEM. When there is a diverse group of people in the workplace, you get a variety of diverse ideas and growth,” she said.

She also explained the importance of role models to help young people interested in STEM. “We need more female mentors and role models, especially in Ph.D. programs and the workforce. It’s always okay to take the path less followed and try to seek out mentors that can help. You never know who might respond or offer their guidance. Reach out. Reach out early. Reach out often.”