Laura De Olden

Associate Director of Graduate Student Life and Diversity Initiatives in the School of Public and International Affairs

Laura De Olden is the Associate Director for Graduate Student Life and Diversity Initiatives and Director of Princeton’s Junior Summer Institute (JSI).  Her strong commitment to advancing diversity 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 public service. Laura is passionate about building more inclusive 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 University’s Senior Diversity Practitioners Group, and co-leads the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standing Committee at SPIA.  She also participates in the activities of Princeton’s Women of Color Network, and Latino Princetonians. Laura serves as a Board Member in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) program and has participated in the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE).  At SPIA, Laura serves as advisor for all student groups and organizations including Princeton University Policy Student Government (PUPSG), Students and Alumni of Color (SAOC), First-Generation Low-Income Students (FIRST), Women in Politics (WIP), Asian Pacific and Islander Students (API), LatinX Students, SPIA Muslim Students, Religious Life, Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA), and Students for Educational Equity (SEED).  Laura has been a Lecturer in Public and International Affairs in the MPA program. She 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 Behavior.