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Nancy Nelson Selected as Alumnus of the Year

Nancy Nelson Selected as Alumnus of the Year

The Jefferson College Faculty Senate recently selected Nancy M. Nelson of Imperial as Jefferson College’s 2017 Alumnus of the Year.  She was presented the award during the College’s annual Honors Recognition Ceremony.

Nelson is grateful to receive the Jefferson College Alumnus of the Year award, saying “Of all the community colleges and both universities that I’ve attended, Jefferson College was my clear favorite. The professors were just as qualified as at four year institutions, but the experiences were so much more personal and welcoming.”

She completed her Associate of Arts degree at Jefferson College in 2004 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in History degree in 2006 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She is in the process of completing a Master’s Degree in International Relations at Webster University.

Earlier this year, she retired from a total of 26 active and reserve duty years with the U.S. Navy, having reached the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer/E-8. She has served in Guam, the Persian Gulf, California, Ohio, Iraq, and St. Louis. Nelson followed proudly in the footsteps of several distinguished veteran family members and received many distinguished awards and citations during her time in the Navy. For the last several years, she was the only female Senior Chief in the Reserves in the St. Louis region. Having served in senior leadership positions since 2005, she gained expertise in the leadership of battalions, vessels, companies, and crews. 

Nelson currently works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as a Branch Chief in the Maritime Safety Office’s Southern Oceans section. After only two years’ employment with the federal government as a Marine Analyst, she was promoted to Branch Chief, which is a level that many do not achieve within an entire career at the NGA. As such, she supervises the production of navigational charts and products for the U.S. Navy. Additionally, she serves on their Veterans with Disabilities Council, and represents the United States as a representative to the International Hydrographic Commission (IHO) for the Northern Indian Ocean region. 

Nancy says she is honored to have been chosen Alumna of the Year and that she enjoyed her time at Jefferson College. “I liked it better than the university and other community colleges I attended,” she said. “Jefferson College fostered my educational successes. I’m now halfway through a master’s at Webster in International Relations, and I suspect it’s all due to the good start I received with Jefferson College!” 

Nelson has a 20 year old son and a 16 year old daughter. She is also active in the community, though she says she is “low key about her work with veterans.” In 2009, Governor Jay Nixon appointed her Commissioner to the Missouri Veterans Commission, which oversees service programs, cemeteries and nursing homes. She was the first female Commander of VFW Post 2593, and has served on their district and state levels also.

Alumnus of the Year Award recipients must have graduated from Jefferson College with a certificate or associate degree, achieved distinction in his/her chosen field of employment, been involved in community service; and not presently serve as a trustee or an employee of Jefferson College.