Arati Prabhakar Receives 2016 Robert Fletcher Award

May 31, 2016

The Robert Fletcher Award is given annually to a graduate or friend of Thayer School in recognition of distinguished achievement and service in the highest tradition of the School. The award is named in honor of Robert Fletcher, who was appointed by Sylvanus Thayer as the School's first professor of engineering and its first director (1871–1918).

The Dean of Thayer School chooses each year's award recipient who then traditionally delivers Thayer School's Investiture speech.

Arati Prabhakar
Arati Prabhakar (Photo courtesy of DARPA)

A member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Arati Prabhakar is director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where she is focusing the agency’s efforts on rethinking complex military systems in fundamental ways.

Prabhakar joined DARPA in 1986 as a program manager in advanced semiconductor technology and was the founding director of the agency’s microelectronics technology office. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where she led the 3,000-person organization in its work with companies across multiple industries.

Later, Prabhakar was chief technology officer and senior vice president at Raychem, vice president and then president of Interval Research, and a partner with U.S. Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm.

Prabhakar earned her BS in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University and an MS in electrical engineering and PhD in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology. She began her career as a Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment.