Melissa Nelson is the faculty advisor to undergraduate majors in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Texas. In 2001, she received a B.S. from Emory University in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, an interdisciplinary degree that combined anthropology, biology, psychology, and neuroscience. In 2004, she earned an M.A. with Distinction in Anthropology at the University of Manchester (UK). Her thesis analyzed the commodification of authenticity of the Scottish kilt fueled by diasporic negotiations over identity. Her second M.A. was awarded in 2008 at the University of Virginia where she also garnered recognition for her teaching from the Seven Society. At UVa, her research on the return migration experience of Greek women again brought into question the politics of negotiated identities. Questions over how identity is defined, claimed, and contested connect her research with her personal experiences as part of the Nicaraguan and Mexican diasporas in the U.S. In her approach to teaching, she strives to bring complexity to how we see ourselves and others. She was the recipient of the 2021 Adjunct Award for Teaching Excellence, the 2022 UCAN Award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor at the University of North Texas, and the 2023 NACADA Excellence in Advising award in the Faculty Advisor role for Region 7. Since 2014 she has taught undergraduate classes at UNT on a diversity of topics ranging from ethnographic field methods to Foucault and social media culture.
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PADAWAN Society, Since 2018
Anthropology CLASS Ambassadors, Since 2018
Anthropology Undergraduate Community Coordinator (UCC), Since 2023
BIPOC Collective, Since 2022
Beginning Conversational Greek