Sophia Nelson: Journalist, Lawyer, and CNU Professor

Dr. Nelson shares her thoughts on Christopher Newport and our nation’s political climate

~Grace Griles, Staff Writer~

Sophia Nelson is an accomplished journalist, lawyer, and now a professor at Christopher Newport University. (She’s also an award winning author and renowned speaker.) Her successful background in journalism and as a lawyer may lead some to wonder what brought her to Christopher Newport seemingly out of the blue for this academic year. Her passion for politics and writing have defined her career, but Prof. Nelson’s passion for new projects is what continues to drive her already significant impact forward. Thankfully, joining CNU’s Philosophy Department was one of those new projects that caught her eye. 

“[CNU is] certainly one of our newer universities. It’s sixty years old or something like that. But in it’s short time it is doing really well and I think it has a great future. I love being a part of things that allow me to be a part of how something is shaped,” Prof. Nelson stated.

With Prof. Nelson’s extensive experience in law and writing there is no doubt that she will be a great addition to CNU’s staff. It was evident from her interview that she was excited to positively impact the next generation of students, and considering that there is an election coming up it seems like there’s no better time. It felt fitting to ask Prof. Nelson, a person who has diligently studied and discussed politics for years, if there was any advice she would give to young people today who are trying to form their own political opinions in such a charged climate, as well as what she thought of those who feel they “don’t care” about politics.

“If they care about the environment, [if] they care about [getting] a job, [if] they care about whether or not they can pay for their student loans and I can go on and on, but when you do care about those things you really do care about politics.”

Oftentimes, people may not be actively interested in politics, and yet still care deeply for the issues directly impacted by politics. Prof. Nelson established that politics is not a subject to be tossed to the side and forgotten about; it’s something that affects our daily lives and future in every way. She also admitted that the times we are living in may not be the most ideal conditions to form your political views as an eighteen year old. 

“People are maybe not in the normal space they would normally be in to think through things because of the impact of Covid and the impact of not being as social. I think it’s a tough time particularly for an eighteen year old,” Prof. Nelson said.

Anyone who takes a look around at the world we are living in today can agree with Prof. Nelson’s general statement that it is not an easy time for a young person to peacefully discover their political views. However, even still, there are plenty of young people who are eager and excited to jump into the fire and pursue politically-charged careers in which they can publicly share and defend their views. Prof. Nelson shared her thoughts on the current climate. These are the students Prof. Nelson seeks to inspire while at Christopher Newport. With so much turmoil, controversy, and injustice experienced in America today, one hopes that a new normal will form soon. However, until we reach that point, Prof. Nelson shared some advice that can be applied to today’s political climate.

“I think we have to get back to a place in our country where we look at policy as how we help people and how we come together across the political divide to make sure that hungry people are fed, people who don’t have health insurance have health insurance, and make sure that when it’s time for the elderly to retire they’ll have medicare and medicaid.” 

When you think of politics, you likely imagine two political parties or candidates on either side of the aisle in a perennial argument. Prof. Nelson imagines something different.

“Look at [politics] as public service. Look at it as something positive. Look at it as something where you can make a change.”

Forming opinions on politics should not be a source of annoyance and drudgery for people, and yet it is for so many Americans due to its argumentative nature. To create change in our nation, it’s every individual’s responsibility to be involved and protect the values of society. With professors like Sofia Nelson inspiring the new generation, it’s comforting to know that a new normal of a more productive political dialogue is likely in our future.

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