J. Celeste Lay has been with Tulane since 2004 and joined NTC in 2019. As the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Celeste oversees several units that introduce students to academic opportunities and support historically marginalized and minority communities on Tulane’s campus. Academic Affairs strives to help all Tulane undergraduate students on their academic journeys by creating and guiding students on multiple pathways that allow them to discover and deepen their academic and co-curricular interests, strengths and passions.
As a first-generation student, Celeste cares deeply about issues of educational equity. She published a book in 2022 on the democratic effects of the radical transformation of the New Orleans school system. She is a Professor of Political Science, researching and teaching classes on elections, public policy, and the politics of education. When she’s not at work, she’s bringing her kids to dance practice or playing with her dog.