Murray State alum and doctoral student discusses her 17-year career at Verizon

By Claire Layne | Apr 15, 2024

Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson

MURRAY, Ky. – In the heart of telecommunications, there are unsung heroes working tirelessly to ensure connectivity, especially in times of crisis. One such individual is Katie Nelson, a seasoned professional at Verizon, whose journey to the forefront of telecommunications has been diverse and ever-evolving.

She carries an impressive academic background, showcasing her dedication to continuous learning in various fields. She is currently working on her dissertation for a Doctor of Education in P-20 and Community Leadership from Murray State University, emphasizing STEM specialization.

Additionally, she earned a Master of Arts in Women's Leadership from Mississippi University for Women and a master’s degree in Human Development and Leadership from Murray State. Her commitment to safety and security is evident through her Master of Science in Safety, Security and Emergency Management from Eastern Kentucky University, complemented by certificates in Emergency Management, Emergency Management and Disaster Resilience, Fire and Emergency Services, and Homeland Security. Nelson's proficiency extends to data analytics, with a Master of Science in Data Analytics from Southern New Hampshire University. She received a master’s degree in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Bethel University. Katie's diverse educational background underscores her multifaceted expertise.

Joining Verizon, Nelson found herself immersed in a dynamic industry, where the learning curve was steep but growing. She describes telecommunications as a tight-knit community, often comprising individuals with familial ties to the field. At Verizon, she emphasizes the critical role of satellite technology in bolstering communication during disasters, ensuring that essential services such as emergency responders can maintain connectivity even in the face of natural calamities.

Nelson manages Verizon's response efforts on both local and national scales, utilizing advanced technologies such as drones to swiftly and safely assess and address emergency situations. Through remote technology such as drones, Verizon's teams have minimized the need for cell tower climbers sent for routine inspection and maintenance tasks, significantly reducing injuries and fatalities and improving efficiency.

Beyond her technical expertise, Nelson emphasizes compassion, recognizing the importance of the human element in her line of work. With a background in human development, she aims to teach with a focus on empathy and understanding to her interactions, particularly when aiding disaster survivors. Her commitment to inclusivity extends beyond her professional endeavors; she champions STEM education for women and formally served as President for the Society of Women Engineers in Nashville Chapter from 2018-2019. As Nelson continues her academic pursuits, working toward her doctorate under the mentorship of the Ed.D. in P-20 Program Director Dr. Randal Wilson, her dedication to excellence and innovation remains unwavering. With more than 17 years of service at Verizon, Nelson has learned to adapt to the continuous changes in telecommunications as technology improves and grows.

To learn more about the Ed.D. in P-20 & Community Leadership program, contact Program Director Dr. Randal H. Wilson at

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