Audrey Nelson Ph.D., knows what it means to have a dream and lack the financial means to make it real. Now, thirty years after a student in her class suggested she apply for a BPW scholarship, she remembers that scholarship as just the boost she needed to finish her education.
“It gave me an extra incentive, it was a motivator, and it was an affirmation,” says Audrey, who lives in Boulder. Thanks in part to the financial aid and the vote of confidence she felt comes with it; she is an internationally known author and lecturer on gender communication.
The scholarship was a windfall at a time when she had exhausted her resources. Her mother, widowed when Audrey was a college freshman, had never been employed and had younger children to provide for. Financially on her own but determined and passionate about her education, Audrey held down a job with long hours. Against the odds, she went on to earn a Ph.D. degree in communications, graduating with honors and distinction.
Audrey joined BPW and won Boulder BPW’s “Woman of the Year” award in 1986. Her book, You Don’t Say: Navigating nonverbal communication between the sexes has been published in five languages. Her forthcoming book delves into all the other communication between women and men. “It’s about breaking the gender communication code–from the boardroom to the bedroom. It’s about how men and women communicate by e-mail, how we use words differently, how we handle conflict differently, how we use humor differently,” she explains.
Having achieved her own success, she is passing down what she’s learned to others. Her daughter has worked for shelters for abused and homeless women and plans to earn a Ph.D. degree in psychology. Her son, an undergraduate university student, also plans to complete a Ph.D. program. Through the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, Audrey mentors a 12-year-old girl with the intention of seeing her enter college.
Her experience with BPW: “It’s been nothing but good.”