A nationally recognized expert on father-daughter relationships, Dr. Nielsen has been teaching, researching and writing about adolescents and father-daughter relationships since 1970. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the outstanding graduate's award in teacher education from the University of Tennessee in 1969, she taught high school for several years before earning a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling. As a professor of adolescent and educational psychology, she began teaching at Wake Forest University in 1974. Among her honors are: the Outstanding Article Award in 1980 from the U.S. Center for Women Scholars, a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women, and an American Bar Association award for establishing an internship program to provide legal aid to victims of domestic violence. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, National Council on Family Relationships, Council on Contemporary Families, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts .
Her research and advice on father-daughter relationships have been featured on a PBS documentary and on NPR with Frank Stasio as well as in newspapers, magazines and radio shows nationwide, including The Wall Street Journal, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Military Families, and the national PTA Magazine. Her work has been featured on many national organizations' web sites, including the National Center for Fathering, the Center for Successful Fathering, and the American Coalition for Fathers & Children.
Dr. Nielsen has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Wake Forest for 36 years: Fathers and Daughters, Adolescent Psychology, Children of Divorce, Statistics, Research Methods, Educational Psychology, Psychology of Learning, and Introduction to Women's Studies.
Since 1991 she has been teaching her "Fathers & Daughters" course – the only college course in the country that focuses exclusively on father-daughter relationships. Her current research focuses on father-daughter relationships and shared residential parenting in divorced families. In addition to having written numerous research articles for scholarly journals such as the Harvard Educational Review, Dr. Nielsen has written five books on adolescence and father-daughter relationships.