Laura Rosenberger’s first passion is public service, according to her mother Barbara Rosenberger:
“She feels a very high calling to be of help and to do what she can to make changes.”
The Upper St. Clair native was recently named to Joe Biden’s National Security Council as senior director for China. Rosenberger was a senior fellow and director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, a public policy think tank, prior to taking on her new role with the Biden administration.
Rosenberger announced her new position on Twitter, posting: “Honored to be joining @JoeBiden’s National Security Council as Senior Director for China. Humbled by the enormity of the task and privileged to once again serve the American people alongside an incredible team.”
Rosenberger’s appointment is the most recent in a nearly two-decade long career of helping to shape public policy. She served as NSC director for China and Korea under former President Barack Obama and as chief of staff to then Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She also served as a foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign in 2016. Rosenberger met Clinton while working in the State Department when the former New York senator became secretary of state.
“I was so blown away by her,” Rosenberger told the Chronicle in 2016. “I literally remember the first time I ever briefed her. She has an unbelievable grasp of nuance and detail while seeing the big picture.”
The Upper St. Clair High School graduate’s career might have turned out differently had it not been for Sept. 11, 2001. At the time, Rosenberger was working on a triple major in sociology, psychology and women’s studies at Penn State University before she shifted gears.
“I think what happened was 9/11,” her father Bryan Rosenberger said. “That was her senior year at Penn State. Soon after that she applied to American University’s master program in international peace and conflict resolution. That was the beginning of where she is now.”
Rosenberger began working in the State Department under President George W. Bush through the Presidential Management Fellows program.
“She very much wants to be involved in policy, as opposed to other aspects,” her father said. “In the State Department, there’s policy and there’s management and some other things. She wants to be involved in policy.”
Although Rosenberger has been working in the public sector since receiving her master’s degree, and despite a demanding work schedule, she often volunteers for causes important to her, her mother Barbara Rosenberger, said.
Rosenberger’s interest in social justice began at an early age.
“I remember in elementary school she was involved in an environmental project and got into it big-time,” recalled Bryan Rosenberger.
Working toward social justice was part of Rosenberger’s upbringing. Her mother has volunteered with the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh and her father serves on the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Israel and Oversees Committee. The couple is also active with the South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM).
“I was grounded in the social justice philosophy of Judaism and have always been interested in working on behalf of those who are oppressed,” Laura Rosenberger told the Chronicle in her 2016 interview.
She attended the Jewish Community Center’s Emma Kaufmann Camp as a child, and with her family — including her sister Lisa, a senior research director in the Health Department at NORC in Washington, D.C.— attended Temple Emanuel of South Hills, where the sisters celebrated their bat mitzvahs and were confirmed.
When not helping President Biden manage the complicated relationship between the United States and China, she enjoys spending time at home with Rose, the Portuguese water dog she adopted in 2017.
Based in Washington, D.C., Rosenberger still loves the city of her youth.
“She loves to come home,” said her mother. “We all take advantage of hiking and being outdoors and do a lot of family dinners. We try to be family-oriented because both of our daughters have pretty hectic schedules. Pittsburgh is her hometown, and she loves it.”
Rosenberger’s time in public service has not only helped make the world a better place, said her father, but it’s also taught him about government work.
“Before Laura got involved, I had a common misconception about government employees that maybe their jobs are 9 to 5,” he said. “That misconception has been badly shaken. They bust their butts.” PJC
David Rullo can be reached at email@example.com.