Laura Olson Elected President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion

Laura Olson, J. Strom Thurmond Professor of Political Science at Clemson University in South Carolina, has been elected president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR). The society is the leading scholarly organization for social scientists who study religion. Dr. Olson will serve as president from fall 2019 to fall 2020.

Dr. Olson has been a professor at Clemson since 1996. She focuses her research on contemporary religion, civic engagement, and American politics. In the past, she has served on the board of directors of the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as on the American Academy of Religion’s Committee for the Public Understanding of Religion. Additionally, she spent five years as editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, which is published by the SSSR.

“The presidency of SSSR is an elected office, so it is an especially meaningful honor to be recognized by my peers in this way,” Dr. Olson said. “Moreover, the roster of past presidents includes generations of the leading scholars in my area of expertise. It is very humbling to have my name included alongside theirs.”

Dr. Olson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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