Brenda Nelson, Ph.D.(she/her/hers)
associate director of Diversity Equity, Inclusion & Belonging for Culinary Services
Student Life & Engagement
Brenda Nelson, MA is the Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging for Culinary Services at Michigan State University. Brenda is currently a fifth-year doctoral candidate in Higher Adult Learning Education at Michigan State University with an emphasis in belonging, persistence, retention, and leadership. Brenda uses servant leadership principles to create a positive environment that promotes academic, personal, and professional success. She has supported and encouraged student and staff professional development at every level and constantly works to create a culture of love, compassion, and commitment. Brenda has delivered a multitude of moving presentations to encourage and motivate students and staff to define who they are and what passions drive them. The focus of her talks has been the concept of discovering and defining your authentic self.
Brenda was awarded in 2018 the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award in the Professional Advancement category by the MSU Center for Gender in Global Context. She was awarded in 2018 the Equity and Inclusion Award from the Michigan chapter of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA-MI). She was also awarded the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award based on her commitment to excellence in 2014. Nelson has been recognized for her upstanding moral character on multiple occasions, including in 2004 with the recognition of the Dorothy Millbrook Staff Award sponsored by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities for her commitment to fair and equal treatment of all employees. Nelson has served on various committees and panels, has presented at many different conferences.