Dr. Nielson is a historical musicologist with a specialization in women’s studies. Since 2011, she has had the honor of being the first Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. Her classes focus on the mission of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards of fostering cultural tolerance and diversity as well as her own research. They include a class on the courtesan, gender segregation and the harem, comparative slavery, and a class dedicated solely to the Anisfield-Wolf book awards.
In 2017, Dr. Nielson was named the director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women at CWRU. While at the university, Dr. Nielson has received several undergraduate teaching awards. She received the Richard A. Bloom, MD Award for Distinguished Teaching in the SAGES Program in 2012, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2014, and the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring in 2016. In spring 2017 she received the Faculty Prism Award from the LGBT Center, awarded at the annual Lavender Graduation celebration. The following semester, she received the Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award by Greek Life and was selected as an honorary initiate for the Order of Omega.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Nielson regularly presents at national and international conferences. She was a recipient of a Balzan International Musicology Visitorship and spent the summer of 2016 conducting research at the national Library of Israel in Jerusalem, Israel. As part of the grant, she convened a panel as well as presented the preliminary findings of that project at a seminar at Oxford University in November 2016. Her book, Music and Musicians in the Medieval Islamic World: A Social History, published in 2021 from IB Tauris.