A Creek woman born in Eufala, Oklahoma, Nelson studied at University of Oklahoma and University of Texas
Performed diversity studies that measured the representation of women and minorities in chemistry, physics, mathematics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, political science, sociology, economics, biological sciences and psychology. Her studies are widely used and cited.
Invented a technique that garners information on the mechanism of an addition attack in chemistry. The technique has helped determine mechanisms of important addition reactions of alkenes.
She works as a fact-checker for Breaking Bad, making sure they don’t misrepresent chemistry.