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Under Secretary for Education

Roshni D. Lal

Director, Office of Academic Appointments and Internships

Roshni D. Lal is the director of the Smithsonian’s Office of Academic Appointments and Internships (OAAI). In this role, she oversees the team that is responsible for thousands of internships, fellowships and research associates throughout the Smithsonian's 21 museums and research facilities globally. In addition to managing all operational aspects of the office, Lal ensures the design and implementation of strategies, goals, procedures and policies that result in comprehensive, impactful and diverse internship/fellowship experiences to inspire participants during their time with the Smithsonian and beyond. Lal provides expertise and recommendations to the Smithsonian Secretary, Assistant Secretaries and Under Secretaries and is also the principal advisor to all Smithsonian sites regarding museum and office specific internship/fellowship programs.

As the internal and external face of OAAI, Lal acquires and oversees grants and other funding sources while building partnerships with colleges and universities, museums and other research institutions around the world.

In her previous role as the inaugural head of Alumni Career Services of the West Coast with Syracuse University, Lal provided people with career and academic enhancement experiences through an identity-based and culturally inclusive lens. Prior to that role, she was the director of the Office of Career Planning & Employer Relations with Marymount California University where she also taught career development courses and served on the university’s inaugural diversity, equity and inclusion committee. In her former positions, Lal designed educational programming and exhibitions for the Smithsonian’s Center for Education and Museum Studies and the National Institutes of Health Stetten Museum. Lal has also conducted recruitment and created programming for internships in Washington, D.C., with The Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars, served as a civilian career counselor in Seoul, South Korea, for U.S. military service members and taught cultural anthropology as adjunct faculty for the University of Maryland Global Campus.

In addition to serving on the board of directors as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges & Employers (MPACE), Lal has been invited to present on a variety of career evolution, identity development and experiential education topics for numerous conferences and panels, including MPACE, Alumni Career Services Network, Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education, Circle of Change Leadership Experience and the UCLA Alumni Association.

Lal has dedicated over 20 years to educating and serving various populations in higher education, K–12, museums and the U.S. military, and she is a former two-time Smithsonian intern and museum educator.

She is from the Los Angeles area and earned a doctorate in higher education and students affairs and a certificate in women’s and gender studies from Claremont Graduate University, an Master of Arts in museum studies from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from UCLA.