Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Alondra Nelson
Dean of Social Science

Alondra Nelson is a professor of sociology and gender studies and was formerly director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 2009, she was on the faculty of Yale University and received its Poorvu Award for teaching excellence.

Dean Nelson’s research examines the intersections of science, medicine, and inequality. Her books include Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History; Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life; and Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination; which was recognized with four scholarly prizes. Her most recent book is The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. She is presently engaged in new ethnographic research on grassroots responses to the STEM field crisis.

Chair-elect of the Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association, Dean Nelson has contributed to national policy discussions about new technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, and human gene-editing. She has held fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, and Ford Foundations. She has been a visiting fellow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the BIOS Center at the London School of Economics, and the Bavarian American Academy. Dean Nelson is a member of the NSF-funded Council on Big Data, Ethics, and Society, sits on the editorial board of Social Studies of Science and Public Culture, and serves on the board of advisors of the Data & Society Research Institute.

Her essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Science, Boston Globe, and on National Public Radio. Dean Nelson received her B.A. in sociocultural anthropology with high distinction, from the University of California at San Diego, where she graduated magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University.

Research      |    |      Curriculum Vitae


Vina Tran
Associate Director of Decanal Affairs

Vina Tran is the Associate Director for Decanal Affairs in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. She has a decade of experience working in higher education. Prior to joining the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, she worked at the Women Creating Change initiative at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuaity, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. She has designed print/online communications and websites for a variety of Columbia departments, organizations, and creative professionals. She is also the web editor of the The Wide Shore, an online journal of global women's poetry. She received her B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Women's Studies from Pennsylvania State University and her M.A. in Gender, Sexuality and Cultural Studies from the University of Manchester.   



Divisional Contacts 


Fred Palm
Chief Administrative and Academic Affairs Officer

Phone:  + 212 854 5922

Margaret Edsall
Associate Vice President for Academic Planning

Phone: + 212 854 5922

Denise Pineda
Adminstrative Coordinator

Phone:  +212 854 8908