Laura De Olden is the Director of Princeton’s Junior Summer Institute (JSI), and the Associate Director for Graduate Student Life and Diversity Initiatives at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Her strong commitment to advancing diversity and equity goals has marked her career in higher education. Laura takes great pride in helping students from diverse backgrounds to thrive academically and maximize their potential. As a first-generation college student, a Latina, a working mother and an immigrant, Laura has a deep appreciation for the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and can easily relate to students’ strong desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves, to their community and to the public good. Laura is passionate about building more inclusive and equitable communities — by recognizing that equity, diversity and inclusion enriches our lives, by treating each other with respect and kindness, by listening to each other’s stories and validating each other’s experiences with empathy and humility. She believes that her work is part of a larger conversation in the U.S. about the dynamics of power, privilege, oppression and intersectionality — about being able to build strong communities in which individuals from all walks of life can all openly assert their identity and their most valued sense of self with dignity and pride. At Princeton, Laura serves as a member of the Senior Diversity Practitioners Group, and participates in the activities of Princeton’s Women of Color Network and Latino Princetonians. Laura also serves as a Board Member in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program and participates in the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE). At Princeton, Laura has been a Lecturer in Public and International Affairs in the MPA program and an Instructor in the JSI program. Laura earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from The Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies of The University of Chicago. Her research interests include Mass Beliefs Systems and Democracy, Race, Ethnicity and Political Attitudes, and Racial Identity and Equity in Higher Education.
Director, Junior Summer Institute