Daniel L. Nielson obtained his BAdegree in international relations from BYU August 1988, receiving the distinctions of magna cum laude and university honors. He received his PhD degree in international affairs at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in 1997.
“I would say that most of my career has been related to my undergraduate degree,” Nielson stated, including his current position as assistant professor of political science at BYU. Other relevant projects he has pursued include: establishing the Journal of Environment & Development, a precedent publication; working as a research assistant; speaking as a visiting lecturer/scholar to universities in the United States and Mexico; and acting as an associate of international relations at the UCSD. Nielson has also received several academic honors and awards, and has authored and co-authored various publications.
Nielson’s research interests include international political economy and developing countries. These interests are evidenced in his current publication projects, which include books addressing: changes in the world bank related to the environment; trade in North America, mainly focused on the North American Free Trade Agreement; and incumbency in legislatures throughout the world.
Nielson stated that he has had several lasting experiences through his association with the Kennedy Center, during both his time as a student to his present research projects as an assistant professor. He was especially quick to cite examples of exemplary professors he learned “how to really think” from—naming Lamond Tullis, Ladd Hollist, and David Magleby. “These three professors opened my eyes to the different possibilities of learning and studying,” Nielson explained. In fact, Nielson’s occupational future was changed because of them. Nielson said, “I had never really considered academics as a career until I experienced their classes.”
Nielson is grateful for his experiences at the Kennedy Center. He has enjoyed the opportunity to return to BYU as a professor and plans to continue his work and research here in the future.