Alondra Nelson is the Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. As former deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, she served as principal deputy director for science and society and acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2021-2023.
Including her in the list of Ten People Who Shaped Science in 2022, Nature said of Nelson, “this social scientist made strides for equity, integrity and open access.” Nelson’s work at OSTP also drove Biden-Harris administration strategy to create science and technology policy that expands economic opportunity, protects civil rights, enhances security, advances equity, and ensures that innovation works for, not against, our democratic values. During her tenure, Nelson led a team writing the landmark Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, which lays the groundwork for policymakers, technology developers, entrepreneurs, legislators, civil society, and others to better safeguard people’s rights and access to opportunities as algorithms and AI reach further into our lives.
She was the 14th president and CEO of the Social Science Research Council, and in this role developed a series of programs that brought research to bear on the role of social media platforms on social relations and political culture.
An acclaimed social scientist, Nelson writes and lectures widely on the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and social inequality. She is the author of several books, including The Social Life of DNA. Her essays, reviews, and commentary have been featured in national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Science.
Nelson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Medicine, and the Council of Foreign Relations.