American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2013 – Two Navy officers have been appointed to the 2013-2014 class of White House Fellows.
Cmdr. Cara LaPointe and Lt. Cmdr. Robert McFarlin will participate in the program, which was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders firsthand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs.
The fellowship program is designed to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service, White House officials said. The fellows take part in an education program designed to broaden their knowledge of leadership, policy formulation, and current affairs. They also participate in service projects in the national capital area.
LaPointe is the deputy technical director of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Program, providing government technical oversight to $7 billion of shipbuilding contracts. Previously, she served at the Naval Sea Systems Command working on surface force architecture and unmanned vehicle technology integration.
A patented engineer, LaPointe has deployed to the Persian Gulf and the Pacific in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle. She has served as an advocate for victims of sexual assault, volunteered in rural communities internationally from Honduras to Fiji, and, most recently, founded the Engineering Duty Officer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Outreach Initiative.
LaPointe earned her doctorate in mechanical and oceanographic engineering jointly from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was valedictorian of her U.S. Naval Academy class, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in ocean engineering.
McFarlin is a surface warfare officer who has deployed to more than 30 nations on six continents, most recently as commanding officer of USS Typhoon in the Arabian Gulf supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. While he was in command, his crew earned the Golden Anchor award for outstanding retention and the Battle “E” award as the No. 1 ship in its squadron.
In 2008, he circumnavigated South America on a counternarcotics deployment. He served as an assistant professor at the University of Rochester and co-founded a company dedicated to transforming dilapidated inner-city property into safe, low-income housing.
He volunteers as a Big Brother mentor, with Habitat for Humanity and globally through the Navy’s community relations program. He is a national director of the Surface Navy Association and the recipient of the peer-nominated Navy/Marine Corps Association Leadership Award. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Naval Academy and a master of business administration degree from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.