39 Facts About Alondra Nelson


Alondra Nelson was born on April 22,1968 and is an American academic, policy advisor, non-profit administrator, and writer.


Alondra Nelson is the Harold F Linder chair and professor in the school of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study, an independent research center in Princeton, New Jersey.


From 2021 to 2023, Nelson was deputy assistant to President Joe Biden and principal deputy director for science and society of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she performed the duties of the director from February to October 2022.


Alondra Nelson was the first African American and first woman of color to lead OSTP.


Alondra Nelson was previously professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she served as the inaugural dean of social science, as well as director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.


Alondra Nelson began her academic career on the faculty of Yale University.


Alondra Nelson writes and lectures widely on the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and social inequality.

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Alondra Nelson has authored or edited articles, essays, and four books including, most recently, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.


From 2003 to 2009, Alondra Nelson was assistant professor and associate professor of African American studies and sociology at Yale University, where she was the recipient of the Poorvu Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching Excellence and a Faculty Fellow in Trumbull College.


At Yale, Alondra Nelson was the first African American woman to join the Department of Sociology faculty since its founding 128 years prior.


Alondra Nelson was recruited to Columbia from Yale in 2009 as an associate professor of sociology and gender studies.


Alondra Nelson was the first African American to be tenured in the Department of Sociology at this institution.


Alondra Nelson was the first African American, first person of color, and second woman to lead the Social Science Research Council.


Alondra Nelson was a member of the board for African-American Affairs at Monticello.


Alondra Nelson serves on the advisory board of the Obama Presidency Oral History Project.


From 2014 to 2017, Alondra Nelson was the academic curator for the YWCA of New York City and was a member of its program committee.


Alondra Nelson was a juror for the inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize in 2017.


Alondra Nelson served as a juror for the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program from 2018 to 2021.


Alondra Nelson has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Sociological Research Association.


Alondra Nelson is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Alondra Nelson has been a member of the World Economic Forum Network on AI, the Internet of Things, and the Future of Trust, and the Council on Big Data, Ethics, and Society.


Alondra Nelson is past chair of the American Sociological Association's Science, Knowledge, and Technology section; from 2020 to 2021, she was president-elect of the international scholarly association, the Society for Social Studies of Science, relinquishing this leadership role when she assumed the role of OSTP Deputy Director for Science and Society.


Alondra Nelson has been a visiting scholar or fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics, the Bavarian American Academy, the Bayreuth Academy, and the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University.


Alondra Nelson was appointed as deputy assistant to the president at this time.


Alondra Nelson was the first Black person and first woman of color to lead OSTP in the office's 46-year history.

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Alondra Nelson's portfolio include open science policy, policy to strengthen and broaden participation in the STEM fields, and new and emerging technology policy.


Alondra Nelson co-chaired the Equitable Data Working Group, a body that was established by President Biden by Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and co-authored its report.


Alondra Nelson encouraged greater transparency and engagement with the public in science and technology policy, championing public access to federal research, community-engaged science, and frequent external-facing communication about OSTP's work.


Alondra Nelson has written extensively about genetics, genomics, race, and racialization.


Alondra Nelson is a pioneer in study of race and technology, a field of inquiry she helped to establish in the late 1990s.


Alondra Nelson founded and led the Afrofuturism on-line community in 1998, and edited an eponymous special issue of the journal Social Text in 2002.


Alondra Nelson is among a small group of social theorists of Afrofuturism.


Alondra Nelson explained Afrofuturism as a way of looking at the subject position of Black people that covers themes of alienation and aspirations for a better future.


In February 2005, Alondra Nelson was named one of "13 Notable Blacks In Technology" by Black Voices.


Alondra Nelson's writing and commentary have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications.


Alondra Nelson was born in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1968, the daughter of Robert Nelson, a career member of the US Navy and retired master chief petty officer, and Delores Nelson, a cryptographer and systems analyst for the US Army and Department of Defense.


Alondra Nelson has one sister, Andrea, and two brothers, Robert and Anthony.


Alondra Nelson attended the University of San Diego High School, a private coeducational Catholic college preparatory day school.


Alondra Nelson was previously married to Ben Williams, executive features editor at The Washington Post, and former digital editor at GQ and New York Magazine; she was romantically linked to legal scholar Randall Kennedy for several years.