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Cindy Nelson

Cindy Nelson Instructor


When I was a child, growing up on a small dairy farm in the heart of the Red River Valley, I didn’t consider my life very charmed. I was the fourth girl among six siblings, and I was blessed to be born to a no-nonsense, German-Russian mother and a singing, joking, Scandinavian father. Neither parent ever divided chores into “women’s work” and “men’s work.” We all worked hard and learned life skills that have proven invaluable to me in my personal and professional life. Although we spent most of our time together working on the farm, books, music, art, and education wove their way into our daily lives, and I now realize that teaching and working cooperatively with others was a natural course for me.

I chose to attend Bemidji State College in 1978 because I competed in a music contest held in Bangsberg Hall, and I remember looking out over the lake and falling in love with the campus! I earned a Bachelor of Science, English in 1982, and I taught high school English for 34 years in five schools in Minnesota. Besides teaching English full-time, I directed musicals, full-length plays, one-act plays, and competitive MSHL Speech, and coached students to compete in the national “Poetry Out Loud” event.

In 2001, I earned my Master of Science in English, and in 2004, I began teaching Public Speaking as an adjunct at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, Bemidji. I have taught Interpersonal Communication, Public Speaking, Composition, and College in the Classroom. Teaching night classes humbled me when I encountered many students who were parents, working full-time, and driving long distances to earn a degree.

Like myself, many students who attend BSU are first-generation college graduates. I am honored to have played a role in their educational journey. Teaching skills that prepare students for their professions is very rewarding. When I now encounter former students as teachers, managers, coaches, and nurses in leadership positions, it is especially gratifying to hear about their success and opportunities they have because of Bemidji State University.


M. S., 2001, Bemidji State University, English
Thesis: A study of the importance of teaching Hispanic literature and the storyteller as healer in the prose of Sandra Cisneros

B.S.Ed., 1982, Bemidji State University, English Education