National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

Mary Ellen O’Connell

2020 Engage Jury 2020 Engage Jury Science Engagement (Falling Walls Engage)

Mary Ellen O’Connell is the executive director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies). She has had a variety of DBASSE leadership roles, including Deputy Executive Director, and as Senior Program Officer leading studies on a wide range of topics related to children and youth, human factors, and behavioral science.

Before joining the National Academies, O’Connell developed  policy initiatives for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services. At the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, she co-led an initiative to develop homeless management information systems and a dialogue on research to practice.

As the Director of Field Services for the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, she managed statewide homeless services. Early in her career, she was selected as an Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy, based at York University in the United Kingdom. O’Connell received a B.A. in psychology with distinction from Cornell University and a Master in the Management of Human Services from the Heller Graduate School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

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