GradImpact: Inspiring Generations of Students to Solve Real World Problems

    Alyson Nelson has been teaching science to high school students for more than a decade and believes setting lofty expectations rather than underestimating them will help her students achieve even loftier goals. After completing her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, Nelson began working at Mauldin High School in South Carolina and simultaneously pursued her master’s degree in educational technology and a graduate certificate in school technology coordination at Boise State University. Now she teaches biomedical engineering at the Nikola Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, WA.


    Hired in 2013 to develop a signature STEM Lab at the recently opened school, Nelson says people are surprised to hear high school students are taking biomedical engineering courses. Her students are 17-18 years old and developing prosthetics, trying to better understand pandemic infections, and looking for ways to care for and cure patients. “My students are really open to whatever they want to pursue. When the project is relevant to them, they are so much more confident in what they are doing, and they’re so much more passionate about really finding a solution,” said Nelson.


    Ms. Nelson was recently named a Paul Allen Distinguished Educator, which “recognizes and rewards teachers who ‘break the mold’ of traditional schooling to provide students with opportunities to become thinkers, makers, and creators through computer science, engineering, and entrepreneurship.” To learn more about Alyson’s work visit the Boise State University website and her webpage on the Allen Distinguished Educators website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.



    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
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