Shaneá Morrison Nelson, Ph.D. is a native of Scott, LA. and earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a two-time graduate of Louisiana State University with a Master of Public Administration degree and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Having worked in the non-profit, higher education, and workforce development for the last 14 years, Dr. Nelson has worked diligently to increase engagement and awareness of services and resources available to communities of need. Dr. Nelson previously served as the Director of Workforce Development Services at South Louisiana Community College. Under her leadership, Dr. Nelson spearheaded and chaired the first Workforce Subcommittee under the Acadiana Volunteers Active in Disaster in the wake of COVID-19. She also led the planning of the very first virtual job fair in the Acadiana region, featuring 29 local employers and nearly 300 jobseekers. Under Dr. Nelson’s former leadership, the Lafayette Consolidated Government Department of Community Development has implemented an Annual Community Development Week, coordinated and facilitated local Community Reinvestment Act and Small Business outreach events in collaboration with the FDIC and OCC, and hosted Grant-writing/Capacity-Building Trainings for local and statewide agencies. Dr. Nelson has applied for and been awarded a variety of new grant opportunities, including providing guidance to the Holy Rosary Redevelopment Board to secure a $450,000 National Park Service African American Civil Rights grant award for the restoration of Holy Rosary Institute, which led to matching state capital outlay funds.
Dr. Nelson’s awards and recognition include scholarship awardee and graduate of the Community Development Institute, the Daily Advertiser/705 Top 20 under 40 Leadership Award, a graduate of the 30th Leadership Lafayette Class, and SLCC Faculty & Staff Distinguished Achiever Award and Everyday Excellence Award nominee. Dr. Nelson has served on the University of Louisiana Diversity Advisory Council, is currently an elected member of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Council, and serves as Co-Vice Chair of the Christiana Smith African American Alumni Association Events & Fundraising Committee.
Dr. Nelson is also an advocate for maternal and child health equity, which was prompted by the premature births and NICU stays of both of her daughters. This lived experience has fueled Dr. Nelson’s passion for supporting expectant mothers and NICU families by sharing her experience, connecting them to helpful community resources, and simply offering a listening ear. Dr. Nelson currently serves as Peer Mentor for NICU families for Saul’s Light Foundation. She is also a former board member for the Family Tree of Acadiana and was actively involved in the efforts of the Healthy Start Program serving the Acadiana area, particularly focused on maternal mortality and premature births. Dr. Nelson has also worked closely with the March of Dimes as a March for Babies Team Captain and as a member of the March of Dimes Southwest Region Advocacy and Government Relations Advisory Council. She has served as a panelist for a number of maternal and child health equity forums and seminars and shared her personal testimony in honor of the Maternal Mortality Summit hosted by the Family Tree of Acadiana. She is married to her wonderful husband, Terry Nelson, Jr. (T.J.) and they are the parents of two beautiful daughters, Mary Grace Elizabeth and Emerie Frances.