The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association will present the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award to Bridget and Jeff Nelson at an Aug. 5 luncheon and ceremony in conjunction with summer commencement. Bridget (O'Connor) Nelson and Jeff Nelson will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award, which acknowledges special achievements and great promise of alumni who are within 15 years of their graduation from UW-Eau Claire.
Bridget and Jeff Nelson met at the UW-Eau Claire Leadership Institute as undergraduates and completed their bachelor of arts degrees at UW-Eau Claire. Jeff graduated with a degree in political science in 1995 and Bridget completed a degree in social work in 1996. They married in the summer of 1996.
Both Jeff and Bridget have been active in peace and social justice issues since graduating. They became very active with the peace community in Detroit, Michigan working with coalitions to raise awareness on various justice issues, which included a trip in 1999 by Jeff to Iraq as part of a humanitarian delegation.
Bridget earned a master's degree in social work at Wayne State University in community practice and advocacy in 2000. Following graduate school, Bridget spent several years as an advocacy and education coordinator for the Hunger Action Coalition of Michigan. Jeff worked as a community organizer for Groundwork for a Just World and then obtained his master's of divinity degree from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois in 2004. He is currently an associate pastor for the First United Methodist Church of Birmingham in Michigan.
Jeff is particularly proud of his leadership with a youth project that is collecting one penny for every person on the continent of Africa who is infected with HIV/AIDS - for a total of 23 million pennies.
Bridget is a self-employed social worker doing a variety of work for various agencies including Bread for the World, Young Neighbors in Action and Alternatives for Girls.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau