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Helen Fernando Nelson (Fed)

IT Security Officer for the Office of the Director

Mrs. Nelson is the IT Security Officer (ITSO) and Privacy Liaison for the Office of the NIST Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology. In these roles, she manages all IT security- and privacy-related activities in the NIST Director's Office to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer, business partner, employee, and NIST programmatic information in compliance with Federal IT security and privacy laws and regulations. In addition to these roles, she oversees the Embedded ITSO Program, which provides dedicated security officer support to NIST's critical and agency-wide services including human resources, facilities, property management, financial resource management, acquisitions, as well as national and highly visible programs and initiatives associated with the Creating Helpful Incentives for Producing Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act.

Prior to serving as ITSO for the NIST Director's Office, Mrs. Nelson was ITSO for the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, where she also assisted in the implementation of the Laboratory's quality management system in the role of Quality Manager. Working with other National Measurement Institutes (NMI) and helping to represent and promote NIST as the NMI of the United States both nationally and internationally, she served as Vice Chair for the Organizing Committee of the 2012 Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements (CPEM), an international and biennial event attended by scientists and engineers from metrology institutes, universities, industrial and governmental standards labs, and manufacturers of precision measurement instruments.

Mrs. Nelson has been recognized for her contributions and collaboration efforts with awards from both within and outside of NIST, including the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) National Interagency Partnership Award, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award — the Department’s highest honor.

Before joining NIST, Mrs. Nelson served as an IT Auditor-In-Charge at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of the Inspector General, directing a team performing IT audits and reviews of the efficiency, effectiveness, and security of GSA's IT programs and systems.

Mrs. Nelson received her undergraduate degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland College Park, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She holds industry-recognized credentials such as the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Created October 9, 2019, Updated May 6, 2024