Announcement - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center Announces New Fellows from Government and Health Arenas

Anthony Foxx, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Sasha Baker, and Syra Madad Will Share Expertise with the HKS Community

Cambridge, MA – Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs today announced the appointment of four fellows: Anthony Foxx, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Sasha Baker, and Syra Madad

The new fellows – a former Secretary of Transportation, Assistant Secretary of State, a Senior Advisor to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and a nationally recognized epidemiologist in pathogens preparedness – will share their expertise and experience with students and faculty of Harvard Kennedy School and the greater Harvard community.

“The Belfer Center is so pleased to welcome four top public servants to our community,” said Belfer Center Director Ash Carter. “Anthony, Mary Elizabeth, Syra, and Sasha bring with them expertise in government and leadership as well as in-depth knowledge of critical issues ranging from security and transportation policy to criminal justice and pathogens management. In the coming months, as they share their insights and experience in brainstorming sessions with students, faculty, and other fellows, they will add richness to our research and discussions as well as our work to train the next generation of leaders."

Anthony Foxx served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2013 to 2017 and earlier was Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Since 2018, he has been the Chief Policy Officer and Senior Advisor to the CEO and President of Lyft, managing all aspects of the company’s federal, state, and local policy development, government relations, and public engagement. As Secretary of Transportation, Foxx’s accomplishments included helping forge bipartisan cooperation that led to the first long-term transportation bill – the FAST Act – in more than a decade. He also worked to establish an acceptance of new technologies to raise safety standards and improve system performance, resulting in the most comprehensive national autonomous vehicle guidance in the world and the first commercial drone regulations from the FAA. As Charlotte Mayor, Foxx expanded city support for small businesses and entrepreneurs and pushed forward the largest bond package in the history of Charlotte, investing in transportation and neighborhood improvement projects. Foxx will be a Senior Fellow with the Belfer Center.

Mary Elizabeth Taylor has spent the past decade navigating the highest levels of the U.S. federal government, earning a reputation for building bipartisan consensus in challenging political environments. In 2018, Taylor was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the 32nd Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, becoming the first African American and youngest person to hold the post. Reporting directly to the Secretary of State, Taylor served as the State Department’s lead interlocutor with the legislative branch, overseeing a team of 60 department professionals facilitating dialogue and coordination with Congress. Previously, Taylor served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, where she led the successful Senate confirmation strategies of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Earlier, she worked on the Senate floor for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She joins the Belfer Center as a Fellow.

Sasha Baker is a Senior Advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren and served as Deputy Policy Director for Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign, where she drafted positions on national security, criminal justice, immigration, and climate policy. Previously, Baker served in the Obama administration as Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. After time in the private sector, she began her public service career as a Research Assistant for the House Armed Services Committee. She later joined the White House Office of Management and Budget as a Presidential Management Fellow, where she worked as a budget analyst in the Homeland and National Security Divisions and as Special Assistant to the OMB Director. A term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service medal, Baker has been named a Fellow with the Belfer Center.

Syra Madad is a nationally recognized epidemiologist in public health and special pathogens preparedness and response. She is Senior Director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program and Principal Investigator at the Institute for Diseases and Disaster Management at New York City Health + Hospitals and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists. Dr. Madad has been part of and led numerous infectious disease responses from Ebola to Zika and recently, COVID19. She has been a guest speaker at more than 70 scientific/medical conferences around the world and played a lead role in the Netflix docuseries, Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, which follows a handful of leaders throughout the world on the frontlines to prevent the next outbreak. Madad was recently named to Fortune’s “40 under 40 most influential people in healthcare” and listed in Elemental’s “50 Experts to Trust in a Pandemic.” She joins the Center as a Fellow. (Follow Syra on Twitter @syramadad)


Contact: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs: Sharon_Wilke@hks.harvard.edu

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center Announces New Fellows from Government and Health Arenas.” Announcement, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, September 21, 2020.