This past summer she served as a lab assistant for Dr. Steve Norton (Centralia College biology professor) during the annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy for high school students. “I was going to pay to attend. Instead, I had the privilege of working at the event, helping Dr. Norton run his chick respiration lab and his heart anatomy/electrical conduction lab. I was very humbled to have been asked by Dr. Norton to assist him.”
Dr. Norton inspired her focus on biology. She said she was fascinated by his expertise and his passion for biology. “He motivated me to learn more about cellular biology. He’s a great professor who makes me want to dig deeper, to see what is going on,” Nelson said.
No doubt she is motivated. “I’ve always had a passion for science,” she said. “My mother and father instilled a love of learning in me. I have always loved to read and am constantly asking questions to learn more about the way the world works,” Nelson said. She plans to transfer to Central Washington University after she receives her high school diploma and two-year college degree this June.
Her goal is to earn a doctorate and to share her passion for learning. She isn’t certain what she will do once her education is complete but she is considering a college-level teaching career. “I am also thinking about cancer research. I want to investigate nanotechnology, which will be important in curing cancer,” Nelson said.
Nelson said she chose to attend Centralia College through the Running Start program. “It was an amazing opportunity. Not only would attending a community college…help me pay for my first two years,” Nelson said, “I would also be able to challenge myself in a way my high school classes were unable to do.”
A resource she found helpful when first coming to Centralia Collge was the introductory class, CC 101. “Coming to college was scary for me at first but CC 101 helped me get comfortable. The class decreases the stress incoming students have. I learned where things were and where to go for help. Plus, everyone was so friendly. That was very important,” Nelson said. Last year’s CC 101 experience was so influential that she became an event leader this year. “I’ve found that people really care and the professors truly care about their students’ education,” Nelson said.