Nelson Colón

White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, Presidential Innovation Fellows


Dr. Colón received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Iowa. His research was mainly focused on Topological Quantum Field Theory. After receiving his Ph.D., he did a Data Science boot camp and went on to work as a Data Scientist in the field of cybersecurity. While in cybersecurity, he was also doing volunteer work in civic tech, and that inspired him to leave the private sector and join the government.

Dr. Colón was the first Latinx person to be named White House Presidential Innovation Fellow. He received a Special Act Award for a Machine Learning API he built that helps speed up benefit applications for veterans while also saving the Department of Veterans Affairs millions of dollars a year.

Some advice Dr. Colón has for students is: “Stay curious! Don't get caught up in your program. If it is possible, use your elective courses to learn about other subjects outside of your primary field of study. Don't just focus on the academics; if you can, do volunteer work, join the student senate, join a club. This will be great practice for when you graduate and find yourself surrounded by people from all sorts of professional backgrounds and walks of life.”

“Hispanic Heritage month is a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions our communityhas made–and will continue to make—to this country and the world.”