Ron Nelson '11


Name: Ron Nelson ’11

Hometown: Sumter, South Carolina

Scholarship: McNair Scholars Program

When Ron Nelson ’11 began at Winthrop, he quickly realized that having no high school experience in a chemistry classroom, due to funding issues at his high school, put him at a disadvantage. However, the Winthrop chemistry program’s small class sizes, dedicated faculty mentors and impressive chemistry labs helped him to catch up and then to excel in his coursework. Recognizing his propensity for research, Nelson’s academic advisor Takita Sumter recommended him for the McNair Scholars Program, which shaped his future.

“The completion of the McNair Scholars Program, along with my incredible research experience with Dr. Sumter, gave me the additional confidence and ability needed to pursue a professional career in biomedical science,” Nelson said.

After graduating from Winthrop in 2011, Nelson completed his Ph.D. at Wake Forest in 2017. Today Nelson is a project manager with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. There he works closely with various federal government agencies to help the nation’s wounded warriors.

“Specifically, I work with the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO) to advance the field of regenerative medicine and clinical manufacturing,” Nelson said. “Not only do I get to learn from top scientists how to bioengineer human organs and tissues, I get to conduct clinical studies and collaborate with a team of individuals with business acumen to work the product towards commercialization.”

Nelson and his wife, fellow Winthrop alumna Ashton Brock, currently live in Tempe, Arizona. Both Brock and Nelson were in the inaugural class of the McNair Scholars program, and were the first two McNair Scholars to complete their Ph.Ds. “To say that we both will be forever grateful for our individual, and shared, Winthrop experience is an understatement,” Nelson said.