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Dawn L. Oliver

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

2024 fellow

Dawn L. Oliver is an accomplished lawyer, servant leader, and mentor who has made a significant impact in helping the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) accomplish its mission. She has advised on a myriad of complex, highly visible commercial, procurement and general law matters impacting the nation’s space program. She is currently the acting Deputy Chief Counsel and Lead Attorney for Commercial Partnerships at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as well as the Board Executive of the NASA Office of the General Counsel’s Legal Leadership Board.

In her current position, Ms. Oliver oversees the daily operation and workflow of the nation’s premier human spaceflight center legal office staff. She leads senior attorneys in the review of complex, strategic, and mission-essential priorities enabling programs and projects to meet the NASA mission. Her leadership philosophy is “to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly,” a statement from one of her favorite Bible verses.

In her new role as a White House Leadership Development Program Fellow, Ms. Oliver will serve in the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Federal Financial Management. She hopes to become a more effective and impactful leader as a result of her participation in the program.

Previously in her career, Ms. Oliver was instrumental in the acquisition of the legal enterprise document and knowledge management system; the establishment of collaborative agreements with Texas universities (including Historically Black Colleges and Universities), for joint-interest research and technology development, advancing human spaceflight and exploration; and supported the establishment of three innovatively funded Space Act Agreements. The funded agreements, with a combined value of $415.6 million, contribute to the development and designs of commercially owned and operated low-Earth orbit space stations from which various customers, including private entities, public institutions, NASA, and foreign governments, can purchase services. The agreements ensure an uninterrupted U.S. presence in low-Earth orbit and enables a robust human spaceflight commercial economy.

Ms. Oliver has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Auburn University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. Her accolades include the NASA Office of the General Counsel Attorney of the Year, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Johnson Space Center Director’s Commendation Award, and Directorate Lead Counsel for the NASA Science Mission Directorate and NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

She is very passionate about inspiring the next generation of explorers through outreach and looks forward “to serving our Nation by cultivating enterprise leadership, right at the center of government, with the overarching goal of improving lives everywhere.”

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