- PhD in Communications, 1997, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- MA in Journalism and Mass Communication, 1991, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- BS in English, 1989, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Associate Dean for Research and Creative Endeavor
- Professor, Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising
- Institute of Communications Research
- Affiliate Faculty, Family Resiliency Center
Nelson has taught a variety of small and large-lecture courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- ADV199 Advertising & Identity in a Globalized World (Fall 2009)
- ADV283 Advertising and Brand Strategy (Spring 2017)
- ADV399 Global Advertising Studies (Spring on campus; ADV399 Summer Rome, Italy; 2011)
- ADV393 Advertising & Society (Spring 2016)
- ADV476 Global Advertising (Fall 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
- ADV481 Advertising Research Methods (Spring 2007)
- ADV482 Qualitative Analysis in Advertising (Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
- ADV483 Audience Analysis (Fall 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010; Spring 2008)
- ADV491 Advertising Management Planning (Spring 2007, Spring 2012)
- ADV582 Qualitative Research Methods in Advertising (Fall 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- ADV585 Advertising Planning and Decision Making (Spring 2015)
- ADV587 Graduate Seminar: Theory (Spring 2009)
- ADV588 Graduate Seminar II (Spring 2012)
- ADV597 Proseminar in Advertising (Fall 2013)
- ADV598 Professional Project (Fall-Summer 2012; Fall 2013; Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
Nelson studies and teaches advertising and consumer research. She has published nearly 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is associate editor of the International Journal of Advertising. She has worked, researched, or taught in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, United States, and Jamaica.
Nelson’s early research examined individual differences with respect to persuasion and consumer behavior (e.g., gender, culture). However, she is probably best known for her research on brands in entertainment (e.g., games, movies). While investigating the prevalence and response to branded messages, Nelson became interested in consumers’ media literacy or persuasion knowledge about these so-called hidden brand techniques. As a result, Nelson’s current research and public engagement endeavors focus on advertising/media literacy. For example, Nelson is pursuing longitudinal ethnographic work with parents and pre-school children to understand the development of consumer literacy. At the same time, Nelson is interested in assessing advertising/consumer literacy among adults and understanding how literacy influences the persuasion process and marketplace behaviors. She is currently involved in an international research project (funded by NIH) related to culture, health, and advertising in Jamaica.
In addition, Nelson has a continued research interest and fascination with new technology, branding, and media. She is pursuing research with a team of students and faculty related to virtual reality mediated experiences.