•  President Obama has nominated Elizabeth Cousens to be a U.S. representative, ranking as ambassador, on the United Nations Economic and Social Council and to be an alternate U.S. representative for the United Nations General Assembly. Cousens is the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations as principal policy adviser and counselor. Before that, she worked as director of strategy for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

 • The president has nominated former Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) to be a member of the National Council on the Arts. Hodes was in Congress for two terms, and has served on several arts boards, including the Board of the Capitol Center for the Arts. He studied at the National Theater Institute and at the Uta Hagen Studio, in addition to his collegiate and law school education.

 • The president has chosen to nominate Robert Sumwalt to continue serving as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. Sumwalt has been a member of the board since 2006 and served as the board’s vice chairman for his first two years. He previously managed SCANA Corp.’s aviation department from 2004 until 2006 and was a U.S. Airways pilot for 24 years.

•  President Obama has created the Presidential Emergency Board and has announced his intention to appoint Ira Jaffe to be the board’s chairman. Obama devised the board to “help resolve an ongoing dispute between major freight rail carriers and their unions.” Jaffe is the National Academy of Arbitrators’ vice president and has approximately 20 years of experience in handling labor and employment as an arbitrator and mediator of disputes.

 •  The president has nominated Adam Gamoran to continue serving as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. Gamoran works for the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a variety of roles, including as the Wisconsin Center for Education Research’s director and the School of Education’s associate dean for research. He is chairman of the Education Department’s Independent Advisory Panel of the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education.