Alondra Nelson is the fourteenth president of the Social Science Research Council. She is professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she served as the inaugural dean of social science for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. As dean, she led the first strategic planning process for the social sciences at Columbia, working with faculty in more than thirty departments and research units to set long-term academic priorities. Nelson began her academic career on the faculty of Yale University, where she received the Poorvu Award for interdisciplinary teaching excellence.
Nelson has published award-winning and widely acclaimed books and articles exploring the junction of science, medicine, and social inequality. She is author most recently of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. Her book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination was recognized with the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award of the Eastern Sociological Society and was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award. Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. She has been a fellow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the BIOS Centre at the London School of Economics, the Bavarian-American Academy, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.
Nelson is chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology. A member of the World Economic Forum Network on AI, the Internet of Things, and Trust, she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Data and Society Research Institute. She is an elected member of the Sociological Research Association.
Raised in Southern California, Nelson received her BA from the University of California at San Diego, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her PhD from New York University in 2003.