From 2011-2012 Nell traveled to seven countries to study how names shape identity and how people, in turn, shape names.

Supported by a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, she spent a year outside of the United States conducting interviews and doing research into how names are both defined by the individuals who bear them and their cultural and historical contexts. She found the process of naming a child varies around the world and is shaped by a variety of considerations including religious traditions, governmental restrictions, family history, and cultural icons.

Her findings (and travels) are described here.  

She has presented her work to students and scholars of all ages in Rabat, Brussels, Amherst, Swarthmore and Appleton.  To contact her about this work and inquire about her speaking availability, email