Photo by Michael Frost
President Joe Biden has named New York Tech alumna Karine Jean-Pierre (B.S. ’97) his new White House press secretary, replacing Jen Psaki, who will step down from the role on May 13.
Jean-Pierre has served as White House principal deputy press secretary since President Biden took office. She is in familiar territory, having served in the Obama White House as regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. She also worked on President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the American people,” said President Biden in a statement announcing the news. “Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time, and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this administration.”
An alumna of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs as well, she has held roles that include chief public affairs officer for the advocacy group MoveOn.org and political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, among other government and advocacy positions.
Jean-Pierre’s path to politics began as a young adult. According to her website, she was drawn to politics after college. In her book Moving Forward, she talks about what inspired her to become civically engaged, how politics is accessible to everyone of all backgrounds, and why the need for people to get involved is crucial now more than ever.
At a press briefing on May 5, Jean-Pierre talked about the significance of her appointment. She is the first Black woman and openly LGBTQ+ person to be appointed to this role. “This is a historic moment, and it's not lost on me. I understand how important it is for so many people out there, so many different communities, that I stand on their shoulders, and I have been throughout my career.”