Dr. Kristin Nelson always knew she wanted to teach. From classrooms of dolls and teddy bears as a child to lecturing on psychology in schools all over the country, Nelson says she was born a teacher.
“I really enjoy bringing new and exciting research into the classroom,” she says. “I want my students to see how it affects their daily lives and relationships.”
She began her college education interested in philosophy and linguistics, but her curiosity soon led her to other academic pursuits. As an Art History major, she found herself becoming interested in the architecture and history of Cambridge, and why it looked so different from the New York and New Jersey towns where she grew up. This led her to investigate the social and economic structure of the city, and put her on the path to earning her Ph.D. in economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nelson describes herself as the type of person who is interested in knowing more about almost everything. While pursuing her first Ph.D., she found herself reading up on a variety of subjects such as economic theory, feminism, and Marxist theory. Her interest in psychology began when she reached the theories of Sigmund Freud. She became fascinated with his theories on irrational behavior, and how they might be applied to the gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic oppression so important in shaping city structure.
From that point, she began her second career, enrolling in the psychology doctoral program at Stanford University. Collaborating with faculty from linguistics and clinical psychology, she earned her second Ph.D. for research on a linguistic method for studying people’s coping mechanisms when recalling traumatic memories. After pursuing research for several years in California, she moved back to the east coast to teach as a visiting instructor of psychology in Maryland. She joined the faculty of County College of Morris in 2011 and continues to enjoy educating young minds.
“I enjoy the diversity of the students, from high school students to returning students, from many different cultures,” says Nelson. “It’s exciting to be around people beginning their own journeys.”