NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday he is taking additional steps forward to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) at the agency. Nelson named Steve Shih to serve in a new position as the agencys first Diversity Ambassador and selected Elaine Ho as the next associate administrator for the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters in Washington, effective immediately.
Now, more than ever, NASA is leading all of humanity on an unprecedented journey of discovery, exploration and innovation, Nelson said. To be successful in our missions, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility must continue to be at the forefront. Steve and Elaines leadership will help NASA continue to ensure our workforce reflects all of America and to inspire partners throughout our nation for the benefit of all humanity.
As diversity ambassador, Shih will further NASAs DEIA initiatives by building key strategic alliances with external partners, enabling NASA to continue being a model agency and leader for DEIA. In this role, Shih will engage NASAs partners including across the government, private sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations to learn and promote best practices for NASA to recruit, hire, engage, and retain the most talented individuals from all backgrounds and life experiences.With his experience leading the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity since 2017, Shih will build on his three decades of federal expertise and help NASA continue to enable everyone to contribute inclusively to NASA and to the United States.
As Shih transitions to the role of diversity ambassador, Ho will bring extensive DEIA expertise to the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. She most recently has served as the deputy associate administrator for NASAs Office of STEM Engagement, leading a wide-ranging portfolio of projects benefiting students, universities, and educational institutions across the country to inspire, engage, and educate the Artemis Generation.
Ho previously served as the chief diversity officer for the Department of Agriculture and Internal Revenue Service, as well as currently serving as a senior advisor for DEIA as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve. Ho also has held several leadership roles in the White House, including senior policy advisor for former First Lady Michelle Obamas Let Girls Learn initiative, chief of staff of the United States Digital Service, and deputy chief of staff in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She recently returned to NASA from the Office of the Vice Presidents National Space Council, where she served as director of space STEM policy.