President–elect Barack Obama will appoint Lisa Perez Jackson, a Princeton Engineering alumna and the former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to press reports.

Presidential transition team officials anonymously disclosed Obama’s picks for his environmental and natural resources team on Wednesday, Dec. 11, naming Jackson and two others for key positions.

Jackson received her undergraduate engineering degree from Tulane University in 1983 and her master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton in 1986. She served as commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection from 2006 until this month when she began serving as New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s chief of staff.

Prior to heading up New Jersey’s DEP, Jackson served as a top enforcement officer for the federal EPA, working out of Washington D.C. and New York.

After the November presidential elections, Jackson joined Obama’s transition team, focusing on matters related to energy and natural resources.

S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, told The New York Times that Jackson is among the most respected of state environmental officials.

“Her state experience allows her to know what works and what doesn’t work on the ground,” Becker told the newspaper. “I also am glad to see they chose an engineer to run EPA. The typical choice is an attorney.”

Obama is expected to name Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the next energy secretary, and Carol Browner, a Clinton administration EPA administrator, to fill a new energy, environmental and climate policy position.

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