She’d sat through countless hours of lectures on the path to a PhD. Her parents are university professors, so she had plenty of perspective from which to draw.
“I thought about, what did I expect as a student, and what did I not get?” Nielson said. “More than anything, it was to be treated like an adult and not ‘just a student.’”
That respectful approach—and a sincere commitment to her students—earned Nielson a 2014 Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
“I’m still kind of processing it,” she said. “I feel like I’m a good teacher, but there are lots of great teachers [here]. To be singled out like this is incredibly humbling.”