September 2013


Dr. Priscilla Nelson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, originally joined the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2005 and served a term as Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs. Prior to that, Professor Nelson had spent 11 years at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) including serving as Senior Advisor to the Director. She was a Professor in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin from 1983 to 1996.

Professor Nelson has an international reputation in geological and rock engineering, and the particular application of underground construction. She also has worked in the areas of critical infrastructure, emergency response and disaster recovery. Dr. Nelson has published more than 120 technical and scientific publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), former president of the Geo-Institute of ASCE, a lifetime member and first president and Fellow of the American Rock Mechanics Association, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was elected Chair of the Division of Engineering of AAAS in 2007. In addition to these positions, she has many other professional affiliations including: Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, the American Underground-Construction Association, the Association of Engineering Geologists, the International Tunneling Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

Dr. Nelson has received many honors and awards, including teaching awards at The University of Texas at Austin (1985-1987), the Case Studies Award and the Basic Research Award from the US National Committee for Rock Mechanics (NAE), election to The Moles - an association of the heavy construction industry (1995), and induction into Tau Beta Pi as an Eminent Engineer (2007). In 2008 she received the Kenneth Andrew Roe Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES), and she will be the 2011 recipient of the ASCE Henry L. Michel Award that recognizes and acknowledges leaders of the design and construction industry whose dedication and aggressive vision have provided cornerstones for improving the quality of people's lives around the world through research in the design and construction industry. She is currently a member of the Advisory Group to the Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society of the US National Academy of Engineering (2008- present), and was elected Chair of the Faculty Council of NJIT in 2012.

Dr. Nelson has been a part of several major construction projects, including field engineering responsibilities during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and serving as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Texas for the Superconducting Super Collider project. She received Presidential appointments to the U. S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in 1997 and 2001.

Dr. Nelson received her BS degree in geological sciences from the University of Rochester (1970) and two master's degrees in geology (Indiana University, 1976) and structural engineering (University of Oklahoma, 1979). In 1983, she received her PhD degree in geotechnical engineering from Cornell University.