Role: First-year student at Chapman University
Bio: Born in Irvine, Nelsen attended Irvine Unified School District campuses until middle school, when he switched to Tustin Unified. He’s now studying political science and economics and plays as a guard on the basketball team. He lives on campus in Orange.
Why he is an influencer: Nelsen graduated from Tustin High School this year with $282,900 in scholarships and turned down a full ride to USC to attend Chapman so he could stay close to the Orange County philanthropies he helps. An Eagle Scout, he also earned all 134 available merit badges and was featured on National Geographic’s “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?” reality TV show. He has helped friends apply for college and scholarships and younger Scouts earn merit badges.
Biggest challenge: Nelsen didn’t talk until he was 3, and had a speech impediment through middle school. He used to tell other kids that he had an accent because he was from Finland.
Work philosophy: Nelsen’s life goal is to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
Thoughts on the Armed Forces: He holds a lot of respect and gratitude for the Armed Forces for protecting the freedoms that he and others enjoy. His parents say he loves to argue, and he said law seems like the right fit for him to be able to help other people.
Inspiration: His dad for helping him with scholarships, school and basketball, and his mom for how hard she works as a first-grade teacher in Santa Ana. Tim Cochran, a troop master, helped motivate Nelsen to earn all the merit badges and helped him get into ROTC after scouting.
Can’t do without: iPhone.
What’s next: He plans to attend law school, so he can become a Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney.
Quote: “I want to serve my country. I think it’s so important to have people that sacrifice their lives for our country in order for all of us to be happy. Without the Armed Forces, we wouldn’t be in the situation that we are in today.”
(By the Orange County Register. The Boy Scouts of America Communications Department was not involved in the creation of this content.)