Dr. Alondra Nelson to Keynote NYU’s Public Interest Technology Convention and Career Fair, A BETTER TECH

Dr. Alondra Nelson in front of a bookcase

Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Director for Science and Society for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. Credit: Dan Komoda

BROOKLYN, New York, Tuesday, October 12, 2021 – New York University will host a first-of-its-kind event in the U.S., A BETTER TECH: The 2021 NYU Public Interest Technology (PIT) Convention and Career Fair, on October 14 and 15, 2021, featuring a keynote conversation between NYU Alumna Alondra Nelson (Ph.D., American Studies, 2003), Deputy Director for Science and Society for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, and Charlton McIlwain, Vice Provost,  Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, and the author of Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, From the Afronet to Black Lives Matter

The two-day virtual event, led by Professor Mona Sloane of the NYU Center for Responsible AI at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and Professor Matt Statler of the NYU Stern School of Business, will convene the country’s leading researchers, and most talented students, along with organizations and companies that are at the forefront of creating responsible and accountable technology that serves the public interest. 

In an A BETTER TECH keynote conversation with Dr. McIlwain, Dr. Nelson will discuss the question how we can make technology more equitable. The Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, is a scholar of science, technology, medicine, and social inequality. An NYU alumna, she is the author, most recently, of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. Her books also include Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination; Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History; and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life. She is also editor of Afrofuturism.

“Dr. Nelson's longstanding commitment to equitable public interest technology has helped elevate these issues to the highest level of the federal government, and we cannot imagine a more appropriate leader to kick off this groundbreaking event,” said Professor Sloane, a Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor at NYU Tandon, and a Fellow at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge.

Vice Provost Mcllwain’s work investigates the intersections of race and computing technology. He has served as an expert witness in landmark U.S. Federal Court cases on reverse redlining/racial targeting in mortgage lending, and recently testified before Congress about the impacts of automation and artificial intelligence on the financial services industry. McIlwain is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU Steinhardt, founded the Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies and heads NYU’s Alliance for Public Interest Technology.

A BETTER TECH seeks to pioneer new collaborations and career paths in public interest technology for students across STEM, business, social science, law, and the humanities. Developed by Professors Sloane and Statler, it is funded by the New America Public Interest Technology University Network.

“My students at NYU Stern are keen to leverage their technology skills and their business acumen to help create a more sustainable future,” said Professor Statler, the Richman Family Director of Business Ethics and Social Impact Programming at NYU Stern. “We've created this event to boost them and other students around the country.”

A BETTER TECH, open to the public and free to all, also features: 

  • Fifteen keynote speakers, including Rumman Chowdhury of Twitter, Freada Kapor Klein of the Kapor Center, and Vivian Schiller of the Aspen Institute, plus 80 other speakers from business, government, and nonprofit sectors
  • Two-day hackathon organized in partnership with Democracy Lab
  • Book talks with seven authors on data, privacy and big tech, and public interest tech
  • Such topics as: algorithmic bias in clinical care, inclusive design, dismantling surveillance norms, the decentralized web, social justice informatics, the intersection of libraries and the tech sector, the ethics of tech financing, and how to register Gen Z voters
  • A career fair including more than 30 employers, free and open to thousands of students from across the 43 PIT-UN member schools
  • University partners include: Stanford University, University of Washington, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, University of Virginia, and University of Michigan
  • Collaborating partners include: Democracy Lab, All Tech is Human, Partnership for Public Service, The Bridge
  • NYU Supporters include: NYU Tandon Center for Responsible AI, NYU Stern Business & Society Program, NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology, The GovLab

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences as part of a global university, with close connections to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. NYU Tandon is rooted in a vibrant tradition of entrepreneurship, intellectual curiosity, and innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing global challenges. Research at Tandon focuses on vital intersections between communications/IT, cybersecurity, and data science/AI/robotics systems and tools and critical areas of society that they influence, including emerging media, health, sustainability, and urban living. We believe diversity is integral to excellence, and are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.


About New York University Stern School of Business 
New York University Stern School of Business, located in the heart of Greenwich Village and deeply connected with the City for which it is named, is one of the nation’s premier management education schools and research centers. NYU Stern offers a broad portfolio of transformational programs at the graduate, undergraduate, and executive levels, all of them enriched by the dynamism and deep resources of one of the world’s business capitals. NYU Stern is a welcoming community that inspires its members to embrace and lead change in a rapidly transforming world. Visit www.stern.nyu.edu.