Adena Williams Loston serves as Director of Education for the National Aeronautics Space Administration at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Formerly, Loston served as Chief Education Officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She assumed the role of Associate Administrator for Education on October 28, 2002, and began her career with NASA in September 2002 as the Administrator’s Senior Education Advisor. She is responsible for structuring the Office of Education, providing executive leadership, policy direction, functional management, and guidance in coordinating the agency’s overall efforts to organize and enhance its education programs.
Prior to her appointment, Loston served as president of San Jacinto College South in Houston for five years. She served as the second president of San Jacinto College and as the first African-American president in the district.
Loston possesses more than 30 years of higher education experience. She has served as the Campus CEO for both the Transmountain and Valle Verde campuses in the El Paso County Community College District; Dean of Professional Programs and Dean of Vocational Education, Budgets, and Facilities at Santa Monica College in California; and Supervisor of the Office Occupations Programs at Houston Community College. She has taught as an associate professor at Georgia State University and an instructor at Arkansas State University and Houston Community College. She also taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Houston-Downtown and Texas Southern University.
Loston is the product of a historically black college, Alcorn State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1973. She received her Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Bowling Green State University in 1974 and 1979, respectively. She also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University in 1996; the Oxford Roundtable at Oxford University in 2001; and the Wharton School of Business in 2005.
Loston is active in numerous professional organizations and associations and has received many awards during her career. Her recognitions include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Exceptional Achievement Award and Group Achievement Awards for the Educator Astronaut Program, the NASA Explorer School Program, and the Centennial of Flight Team, April 2005; Recognition for Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility, March 2004; and the Outstanding Leadership Medal, July 2003.
Other awards and recognitions include an Honorary Doctor of Science from Wiley College, May 2005; the NAACP Daisy Bates Education Advocacy Award, May 2005; the Accomplished Graduate Award from Bowling Green State University, April 2004; the Strong-Turner Alumni Chapter and Arkansas State University Award for Outstanding Leadership, February 2004; the Education Technology Think Tank (ET3) Tec Champion Award, September 2003; the Distinguished Alumni Award in Higher Education from Alcorn State University; Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Shirley B. Gordon International Presidential Award of Distinction; and the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education Presidential Award.
Loston is a member of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Workforce Development and the Tiger Team and Math Science Initiative, both with the Department of Education and National Science Foundation. She is a member of the National Air and Space Museum’s Education Advisory Committee.