Donna J. Nelson
Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Oklahoma


Perhaps it was her training as a chemist that led Donna Nelson to insist on filling out every space in her table for identifying the gender and ethnicity of each person in the top 50 departments nationwide for 14 academic disciplines. Or, maybe it was her Native American heritage, which emphasizes visual ways of perceiving patterns and understanding the world. Either way, her thoroughness brought some key information to light, proving that women and minorities are dramatically underrepresented on the science faculties of some of the most prestigious schools in the country.

"The remarkable thing Donna did was simply collect the simplest data ... to answer a very simple and very important question ... . When people saw [her results] they were shocked," said Nancy Hopkins, a professor of biology...

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