Assistant Dean and Chief of Staff

Assistant: Austin Braun

In February 2017, Phil Larson was appointed as assistant dean and chief of staff at the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Larson previously was senior advisor in the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, focusing primarily on issues pertaining to the U.S. space program. Most recently, he was part of Elon Musk's SpaceX team, supporting communications efforts as well as managing corporate projects.

During his time at the White House, Larson worked closely with Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor, on the nation’s science, technology, and innovation priorities. Larson coordinated policy rollouts and strategic communications across multiple federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, and Energy. He also spent time in the White House Office of Management and Budget helping to craft NASA's budget and policy priorities.

At SpaceX, Larson was part of the company’s strategic communications efforts and led the overall digital strategy. He led major communications rollouts, including a university student STEM competition, and a first-of-its-kind Mars partnership with NASA. He also collaborated with the FAA, NASA, Department of Defense, U.S. industry, and foreign entities on SpaceX launch campaigns.

Larson is on the board of The Space Foundation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Commercial Space Operations advisory board, and the Science and Entertainment Exchange at the National Academy of Sciences. He received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace studies, with minors in space studies, psychology, human factors, and communications, from Embry-Riddle. He completed graduate coursework in science and technology policy from The George Washington University before taking a job in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2009.