Dr. Donna Nelson is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma. She received her PhD from the University of Texas, Austin and completed her postdoctoral training at Purdue University before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma. Donna has received many awards and accolades during her career, including the Oklahoma Chemist Award, the American Chemical Society Stan Israel Award for Diversifying the Chemical Sciences, the American Chemical Society Ann Nalley Volunteerism Award, the NSF ADVANCE Leadership Award, the National Organization of Women Woman of Courage Award, and she was inducted to the Minority Health Professions Foundation Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Higher Education hall of Fame. She was also been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship as well as the Ford Fellowship, and has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Donna also served as the science advisor for the recent TV Show Breaking Bad. Donna is with us today to tell us about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Nelson’s research focuses on five areas related to organic chemistry and America’s Scientific Readiness. She studies (1) mechanistic patterns in alkene addition reactions, (2) Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube functionalization and analysis, (3) science education, which includes classroom innovations and correcting organic chemistry textbook inaccuracies, (4) ethnic and gender diversity among highly-ranked science departments of research universities, and (5) improving the presentation of science and images of scientists to the public.