Who Is Kalil Thomas?
Thomas Kalil is a policy expert in science and technology who served in two administrations as deputy assistant for technology and economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council.
He established new multidisciplinary research and education initiatives spanning information technology, nanotechnology, microsystems and biology. Furthermore, he introduced Big Ideas@Berkeley as a student team support program addressing economic and societal issues.
Early Life and Education
At UC Berkeley, Kalil served as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, creating multi-disciplinary research and education initiatives spanning information technology, nanotechnology, microsystems engineering and biology. He also launched Big Ideas@Berkeley to facilitate student teams taking on economic, environmental and societal challenges.
His second young-adult novel, On the Come Up (2019), explores issues like poverty, double standards, and racism through Brianna’s perspective, who strives to become a rapper to help lift her family out of poverty; but after recording a song that features lyrics related to guns she encounters opposition from some white people who misclassify her as an “antisocial thug”.
Thomas’s most celebrated work, The Hate U Give, was written after Oscar Grant was shot dead in 2009. This book follows Starr Carter – a teenage girl living in an impoverished neighborhood while attending school in a wealthy white suburb – who finds herself torn between both identities when witnessing a police officer shooting and killing Khalil, her friend.
Kalil Thomas is an expert in science and technology policy who served as the Deputy Director of President Obama’s Office of Science and Technology Policy until 2013. Since then he has held multiple roles at Schmidt Futures including acting as Chief Innovation Officer; adjunct professor at Stanford University; chairing Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Health Working Group from 2007-2008 focusing on under-nutrition issues as well as vaccine development; chaired an innovation working group; currently the Chief Innovation Officer at Schmidt Futures and an adjunct professor.
Damien High School in La Verne, California was his school of choice where he excelled at basketball, football and baseball – accumulating more than 2,000 career points and averaging 22.6 points, 5.6 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists per game as a senior. After UMass Lowell River Hawks season three came calling, as did professional careers with AHL and ECHL clubs.
Achievement and Honors
Kalil Thomas is an accomplished hockey player who has participated in both the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship and 2019 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Additionally, he was part of Canada men’s national under-18 ice hockey team in both tournaments and has received many awards and honors for his sports achievements.
At UC Berkeley, he serves as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, where he has implemented multi-disciplinary research initiatives across information technology, nanotechnology and microsystems. Furthermore, he initiated “Big Ideas@Berkeley”, a student-led program dedicated to solving significant global problems through student teams.
In 2019, Kalil was honored by the South Street Seaport Museum with the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award, honoring those whose efforts promote inclusion and understanding across ethnic, racial, religious and cultural boundaries.
Between 2001 and 2008, Kalil served as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology at University of California Berkeley. In this capacity he initiated multidisciplinary research initiatives at the intersection of IT, nanotechnology, microsystems, biology and medicine. Additionally he created “Big Ideas @ Berkeley”, an initiative which supported student teams working towards solutions to problems impacting both local and global societies.
Thomas takes great pleasure in spending his free time with friends and family, watching sports (namely Houston Rockets, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers). Additionally, Thomas enjoys playing basketball and soccer and currently serves as a Viking Corps tutor at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School.
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