Service to the Profession

Nelson - Compressed

My commitment to western history extends beyond my research and teaching. I have always been interested in engaging in the historical profession through various administrative positions.

National & Regional Service:
My service to the field of western history began my first semester as a Ph.D. student at the University of New Mexico when I started to work for the Executive Director of the Western History Association. I gained tremendous insight into the profession as the Graduate Assistant (and later Executive Assistant) for the WHA from 2004 to 2006. I enjoyed the work responsibilities and used my organization and management skills to run an efficient executive office at UNM and help plan the annual WHA conference meeting. My duties included close work with hotel and convention staff, program design, website administration, coordination of award committees, facilitation of conference registration staff and workers, and communication with and between the WHA Council, Nominating Committee, Program Committee, and other standing committees.


After the WHA
I continued to gain experience in diverse academic positions at the University of New Mexico through my work under the direction of Professor Virginia Scharff for the Center for the Southwest, Clark Whitehorn at the University of New Mexico Press, and Professor Paul Hutton for the Western Writers of America. During these final years of graduate school I engaged in academic employment outside the university classroom and learned the importance of working with members of the public. Exposure to these very different groups and non-profit organizations was valuable for me to understand the varied career options that are available to historians, and that public audiences are vital for historians to thrive. Today, this allows me to advise undergraduate and graduate students about the numerous opportunities that exist in the historical profession. These experiences also shape the way that I teach and mentor students and colleagues about the significance of public engagement.

Following graduation I remained active in the WHA as a member of the 2014 Program Committee and a participant in the Library of Congress/Teaching Primary Sources program. I participated in an award committee for the Western Association of Women Historians and joined the organization’s Executive Board in 2014. I also became more involved in the Coalition for Western Women’s History, first as part of the Membership Committee and later as the Recorder, Website Administrator, and Membership Committee Chair. More recently I was invited to join the Board of Directors of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society and the Council for the Northern Great Plains History Conference. I remain active in these organizations as I hope to continue to increase the interest and participation of graduate students and entry-level scholars in these important networks.

University and Local Service:
I have been very active in service responsibilities since I arrived at UNO in 2013. In addition to the History Department I am a faculty member of Women and Gender Studies and an affiliate faculty member of Native American Studies. I helped redesign the departmental website (Media Committee), and I participated in the Curriculum Committee, where I encouraged the discussion and integration of Public History and Digital Engagement programming for History majors and minors. I am currently the Coordinator of the History Intern Program, a dynamic course option that places students in positions of applied history at numerous institutions and organizations in Omaha and throughout the Great Plains region. This initiative encourages History undergraduate and graduate students to gain diverse career experiences in the historical profession. As the Coordinator I work to facilitate relationships with community partners and I administer internship contracts, assignments, and evaluations. Finally, I served the department as the Awards Committee Chair for two years. I took this opportunity to create the annual History Awards Ceremony for students and faculty to attend and celebrate student achievements at the end of each year. From 2017-2019 I will be the Coordinator for UNO’s annual Missouri Valley History Conference.

In the Omaha metropolitan area I have been a guest speaker for the Durham Museum, Rose Theater, Sump Memorial Library, Humanities Nebraska, and the Social Justice Education Network. I work closely with historians, archivists, and directors at the Durham Museum, Joslyn Castle, Union Pacific Railroad Museum, Douglas County Historical Society, and the Midwest Regional Office of the National Park Service to cultivate close working relationships between the students and faculty at UNO and these strong community partners.  While in Minnesota I was a board member of the State Historical Records Advisory Board for the Minnesota Historical Society, the faculty adviser for both the Morris Feminists and Phi Alpha Theta, and a faculty representative for the UMM Commission on Women.