Nan Astone, a social demographer committed to improving the lives of youth and families, passed away June 15, 2018.
Nan made important contributions to the study of the transition to adulthood and the role of social capital in childbearing. She also published broadly on topics in adolescent health, reproductive health, the role of fathers, and family sociology, with over 75 manuscripts in journals covering a range of disciplines. Nan was equally adept at framing and drawing insights about questions with global or national scope as she was in illuminating the richness of local experience. In describing her motivation, she once said, “I do what I do so that all young people make the transition to adulthood as full of hope and confidence in the future as I did.”
Nan earned a PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1988 and then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an NICHD Population Studies Trainee. In 1989, she joined the faculty of the Department of Population Dynamics (later the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she worked as a professor for 24 years, inspiring generations of students, faculty and staff. In 1991 she was awarded the prestigious W.T. Grant Faculty Scholars award, which focused on adolescent parenthood and implications for racial differences in the dynamics of poverty for women and children in the US. While at Hopkins she served as a deputy editor for Demography. She also was an integral part of the team that worked on the National Survey of Adolescent Males (NSAM). In 2013 Nan retired from Hopkins and joined the Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population to focus her efforts on policy research at the federal level, in communities and internationally.
We remember Nan not only for her scholarly breadth, keen insight, cutting wit and many scientific contributions, but for her joy for living, passion for learning, and commitment to service in all aspects of her life. Nan challenged and inspired those fortunate to have been embraced by her friendship and mentorship to fulfill our own capacity to advance population health and social wellbeing.