NEW APPOINTMENT: Chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.
HOW SHE KNOWS OBAMA: Economic adviser to the campaign.
OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Professor of economics at Berkeley; former vice president of the American Economic Association; co-chair of the National Bureau of Economic Research's program in monetary politics and member of its Business Cycle Dating Committee, which determines when the U.S. economy is in a recession.
KNOWN FOR: She's a serious academic with a focus on macroeconomic policy and history--most recently, how tax policy affects economic growth and government spending. (Key finding: Tax cuts do not lead to a decrease in government spending.)
CONTROVERSIES: Earlier this year, she and her husband were offered tenured positions at Harvard, but the university's president, Drew Faust, reportedly nixed Mrs. Romer's appointment without stated reason. In response, her husband turned down his offer. The debacle was widely criticized.
TRIVIA: As a Berkeley prof, Romer currently is teaching "Monetary History" with her husband, and she's slated for two graduate lectures this spring. Ratemyprofessors.com shows that she has a high 4.4 out of 5.0 quality rating, but only a 2.8 on the easiness scale. (Apparently, her tests are tough.)