Shelly Steward

Shelly Steward serves as director of the Future of Work Initiative, a part of the Economic Opportunities Program. Her team strives to identify challenges faced by workers today and develop policy-based solutions to address those challenges and build a more equitable economy. Shelly is an economic sociologist and applied scholar who has studied the changing nature of work for more than ten years. She is an expert on nonstandard work arrangements and the gig economy and is lead author of the Gig Economy Data Hub in collaboration with Cornell University’s ILR School. She is also a research associate with the Fairwork Project based at the Oxford Internet Institute, which assesses the working conditions of gig economy platforms around the world, and teaches courses on technology and tech policy for the University of California’s Washington Program. Her academic interests center on how people understand their position in the labor market and how they navigate increasing insecurity. She has studied work in the tech and oil and gas industries in depth, examining how people make sense of and internalize the rising risk and uncertainty of these sectors. She has written for both academic and popular publications, including the Washington Post, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and the Journal of Consumer Culture, and has been quoted in major outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and NPR, among others. Shelly received her doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in sociology from Harvard. Prior to graduate school, she was a middle school science teacher in South Dakota through Teach for America. Outside of work, she volunteers at the National Zoo and enjoys swimming, sewing, and cookies.

Authored by Shelly