Prof. Alondra Nelson, member of USIU-Africas Board of Trustees nominated to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House

By CTW Team

Prof. Alondra Nelson, one of the members of USIU-Africa’s Board of Trustees has been appointed to the White House science team, announced recently by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The science team will be led by Eric Lander, who is the nominee for Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which will be elevated to a Cabinet-level position. Prof. Alondra will serve as the Deputy Director of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, and will work alongside Frances Arnold and Maria Zuber, who will serve as co-chairs of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Speaking following the announcement of the news, USIU-Africa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Zeleza noted that Prof. Nelson’s appointment to the OSTP was a testament to the caliber of people that the University had on its governance bodies.

“Prof. Nelson brought her vast experience and expertise as a renowned scholar and distinguished administrator, most recently as President of the Social Sciences Research Council, to the benefit of our university. The appointment requires her to resign from most Board service, effective immediately. Unfortunately, this means that she has to leave the USIU-Africa Board of Trustees and we will sorely miss her expertise,” he said.

During the event at which President Biden introduced the OSTP team, Prof. Nelson acknowledged the challenges ahead, given the ongoing inequities in representation of minorities in the United States’ scientific institutions.

“Never before in living memory have the connections between our scientific world and our social world been quite so stark as they are today,” she said. “I believe we have a responsibility to work together to make sure that our science and technology reflects us.”

Prof. Nelson is president of the Social Science Research Council and the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, an independent research center in Princeton, New Jersey. She was previously professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science. Nelson began her academic career on the faculty of Yale University, and there was recognized with the Poorvu Prize for interdisciplinary teaching excellence.

Prof. Nelson has published award-winning, widely acclaimed books and articles exploring science, technology, medicine, and social inequality. Her recent publications include coauthored articles in PLOS Computational Biology, Science, and Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race. She is currently at work on a book about science and technology policy in the Obama administration; ’Society after Pandemic,’ an essay collection; and new research on the sociology of bioethics.

You can watch the announcement here.

Additional reporting by Scientific American and Nature journal.

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