Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Dr. Alondra Nelson as a Distinguished Senior Fellow

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Dr. Alondra Nelson as a Distinguished Senior Fellow

Washington, D.C. — Dr. Alondra Nelson will serve as a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Drawing on her recent service as acting director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as her deep research and policy experience, Dr. Nelson will work with CAP to explore and drive forward policy around the interconnections between science, data, economies, equity and justice, and democracy at this unique moment of profound technological change.  

“Today, science and technology touch nearly every part of society around the world, with unprecedented implications for civil and human rights. Few people understand this better than Dr. Nelson,” said Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of CAP. “Dr. Nelson is a true pioneer in bringing together what have long been viewed as disparate threads across economy, democracy, technology, and equity issues. We couldn’t be more excited to have her partnership in sharpening our vision on the ways in which science and technology policy offer architecture and infrastructure to build a better, stronger union.”

“Integral to every technological innovation and each scientific breakthrough are human beings whose lives are changed and opportunities affected,” said Dr. Nelson. “Being a dynamic democratic society means placing people and communities at the center of these new developments. When we make policy for this era, our charge is to harness the promise of this moment for everyone, to balance efficiency with dignity, and to ensure progress never comes at the cost of our rights or potential. There is extraordinary possibility in every dimension of public policy to advance this agenda and ensure that science and technology are used to strengthen our democracy, shrink disparity, and deliver opportunities. I am grateful that I can help move these ambitions forward at the Center for American Progress under Patrick Gaspard’s bold leadership, and I am energized to work across CAP teams to identify policy intersections.”

A scholar of science, technology, medicine, and social inequality, Dr. Nelson is the Harold F. Linder professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. From 2021 until 2023, she was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy director for science and society at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. For eight months of that time, she performed the duties of the director, becoming the first African American and the first woman of color to lead U.S. science policy. She was the first Black woman to serve as president and CEO of the Social Science Research Council, as well as dean of social science at Columbia University. She is also the author of four books, which have examined the intersections of science, technology, rights, and race. Dr. Nelson is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and holds a PhD from New York University.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at [email protected].

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