About Laura

Laura Katz Olson, a professor of political science, has taught at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since 1974. She received her bachelor's degree from the City College of New York and her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among her several courses, she teaches U.S. Health Care Policies, the Politics of health Care and the American Presidency at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also directs the political science department’s internship program.

Laura has published eight books on caring for the elderly. She also has written widely in the field of aging, health care and women’s studies, addressing such topics as Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care of the elderly, private pensions and the Social Security System. In 2009, she received the Charles A. McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Political Science section of the American Political Science Association and, in 2012, Lehigh University’s Williamson Award in Social Research for her book The Politics of Medicaid.

She has been a Scholar at the Social Security Administration, a Gerontological Fellow and a Fulbright recipient. Laura has lectured throughout Pennsylvania on Social Security, Medicare and Long-term Care policies, funded by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Aging Studies and New Political Science.

Laura enjoys running, bicycling, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, playing the guitar and gardening. In 2004, she published her first novel, Heart Sounds.  

Her daughter, Alix, is a performance poet, PhD Candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts and mother of her adored grandson, Zinn. She also takes pleasure in grandchildren, Josh and Ellie. Laura lives with her husband George, a blue grass musician and luthier.

She still visits her mother every day at Gracedale Nursing Home. Dottie will be 93 in May, 2016.