Julie Scelfo | PDA Speaker

Julie Scelfo

Journalist, Author and Justice Advocate

Former New York Times and Newsweek journalist Julie Scelfo engages audiences with her vast historical knowledge inspiring dynamic conversation while never losing listeners in the facts or figures. Scelfo’s stories about society and human behavior reframe popular ideas and ask us to rethink basic assumptions.

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Full Bio

Julie Scelfo is a Journalist, Author and Justice Advocate who helps people discover the forces that shape human thinking. Scelfo’s recent TedTalk on the navigating the media landscape gives listeners a way to sift through information, glean the facts and make meaning in an era of information overload. Scelfo offers critical tools to encourage people to get #mediasavvy.

Scelfo is most popularly known as the author of The Women Who Made New York a collection of intersectional biographies that reveal how it was women—and not just men—who built one of the world’s greatest cities. Irin Carmon described the book as “both a public service and a pleasure;” Kirkus called it “lively and fun;” and the Village Voice deemed it “Best of NYC.”

A former staff writer for the New York Times, Scelfo’s articles often ended up on the Times’s most-emailed list. Before joining the Times in 2007, Scelfo was a Correspondent at Newsweek where she covered breaking news, including the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Scelfo earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a Master’s degree in Media Ecology from New York University. In 2017, she received NYU’s Dorothy Height Distinguished Alumni Award, named for the pioneering civil rights and women’s rights activist.

Today, Scelfo lives with her family in New York City, where she rides a push-scooter to ease travel back and forth between neighborhoods. She is a member of PEN America, a supporter of Narrative 4, and believes radical empathy is where it’s at. More of her work can be found at

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    How Women Made NYC—And Changed The World Is Everyone Racist?

    He_ She or Ze? What’s The Fuss About Pronouns_and Why They Matter

    Assimilation versus Tradition: Can we have both?


    Julie Scelfo: How do humans make true meaning?

    Julie Scelfo, Author - "The Women Who Made New York" | One to One


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