PhD in Sociology

Olivia Blackmon, 2015

Olivia Blackmon

Olivia M. Blackmon, BA Sociology '99, MA '11, PhD '15, boasts an impressive background with more than 20 years of professional experience in critical infrastructure, regional innovation, partnership development and business operations.  

She earned her doctoral and master’s degrees in sociology with a concentration in education and statistics from George Mason University and was an Education Writers Association fellow for education policy at Harvard University.   
Blackmon is currently the director for Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) STEM Accelerator where she oversees the mobilization of partners to conduct research and development, drive technical solutions, and inform federal, state and local policy focused on critical infrastructures (energy, water, and health), advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity.  In addition, her role is to ensure that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are embedded in the fabric of our national education systems and provide guidance on workforce solutions to ensure the competitiveness of the United States STEM ecosystem.    
Prior to joining ORAU, Blackmon directed a $30 million United States Agency of International Development (USAID) program for DAI, Inc., to enable the digital transformation of the Western Balkans, Black Sea Region, and South Caucasus by working with the national governments, critical infrastructure operators, private sector partners, academia, and oversight bodies to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities across critical infrastructure sectors. Her work included developing partnerships to address the necessary legal, workforce, and investment gaps needed to support critical infrastructure resilience and document lessons learned.   
Blackmon led the mobilization of over 1,000 partnerships to support MITRE’s COVID-19 Coalition, a major initiative supported by more than 20 U.S. Federal Agencies and the White House.  This private sector led response gathered healthcare organizations, technology firms, nonprofits, and academia impacting over 19 programs to include vaccine distribution, contact tracing, digital health innovation, access to health in rural areas, and other programs.    
Over the last decade Blackmon has successfully built and managed programs totaling more than $130 million with multiple federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of State, National Science Foundation, USAID, Department of Health Services and National Institute of Standards and Technology.