Photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov
Photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov

Megan Smith, a mechanical engineering major from MIT (1986) who did her master’s work at the MIT Media Lab (1988), has been named the new chief technology officer of the United States.

The White House made the announcement Thursday morning, confirming rumors of Smith’s appointment.

Smith’s role will be “agenda-setting and forward-looking—something of the technological equivalent of the President’s Science Advisor,” Nancy Scola of the Washington Post reports.

This seems to jive with her latest role as vice president of Google’s “moonshot” project incubator, Google[x], which developed Project Loon, the project to deliver Internet to remote locations via balloon, and Project Wing, Google’s stab at deliveries by drone. Smith also serves on MIT’s board of trustees.

Smith’s predecessor, Todd Park, was closely involved with the original launch of HealthCare.gov in 2010. Starting September, he will serve as Silicon Valley advisor. Smith is only the third to fill the spot of CTO since President Obama created the role his first day in office in 2009.

Alex Macgillivray, former general counsel at Twitter who fought free speech battles on Twitter users’ behalf, has been appointed Smith’s deputy.

Editor’s note: This article was corrected to clarify outgoing CTO Todd Park’s role. 

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