I'm A Husker &
Yajaira Spanish and Latin American Studies · Crete, Nebraska
Hailing from a smaller town in Nebraska, Yajaira was overwhelmed when first stepping foot on campus. As she’s advanced in her college career, she began to create a family at the university, making this once seemingly huge campus not feel so large. Her time in Lincoln has taught her the importance of adaptability. From schedule changes to cultural shifts, she sees a need for everyone to develop this vital skill of flexibility. Yajaira has made it her mission to learn in hopes to help others. Though she’s pleased with the changes she’s seen on a university-wide scale since her freshman year, she believes action falls on all of us, not just administration and faculty, to make this campus more welcoming to all. Whether encouraging a high school student to pursue college or being more intentional in our inclusivity, we can all always get better.
“We can all always get better.”
Griffin communications and global studies · Kearney, Nebraska
From the day he stepped foot on campus for his New Student Enrollment day, Griffin felt welcome at Nebraska. A self-proclaimed “stark optimist,” he aims to make everyone he encounters feel just as welcomed at the university. His involvement on campus has allowed him to meet a vast amount of people from different backgrounds, providing him with new perspectives. Given multiple opportunities to travel throughout his life, Griffin quickly learned that there is far more to this world than Nebraska. “There are so many people here that have stories and experiences to expand and enlighten your mind,” he says, encouraging students to start up conversations with people they don’t know. He loves Nebraska for many reasons, but especially the chance this university provides students to tell their own story and pursue their own path. He reminds students, faculty and staff to embody “Nebraska Nice” and make others feel welcome.
“There are so many people here that have stories and experiences to expand and enlighten your mind”
Ceren Computer Science · Ankara, Turkey
Moving from Turkey to Nebraska with her family shortly before her freshman year of college, Ceren experienced a slightly different move than other international students. One of her favorite parts about Nebraska is being surrounded by nice people. The people she met after her move were open-minded and welcoming. This kindness is something Ceren also emulates to everyone she meets. Though she knew moving to a new country would present a lot of changes, she was surprised by how many friends she was able to make from all around the world. She knows her higher education experience in Turkey would be vastly different than her time at Nebraska, but she wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Kindness is something you can share with everyone you meet.”
Shayne Marketing · Grand Island, Nebraska
As an adopted, first-generation college student, Shayne has experienced many firsts throughout his life in college. His background sets him apart in the way he approaches his time at the university. He credits the skills he learned when preparing for college - leadership, integrity and work ethic - as the things that have carried him through and led him to success. The connections he’s made through classes and involvement have transformed his perception of his ability to benefit the campus community. He encourages his peers to “make a difference and put yourself out there…leave the university in a better place than when you got here.”
“Make a difference and put yourself out there…leave the university in a better place than when you got here.”
Jazmin Fisheries & Wildlife · South Sioux City, Nebraska
For many, attending college can be a culture shock. Hailing from Nebraska, Jazmin did not assume she would have this same experience at a university in Lincoln. Jazmin’s high school was predominately comprised of minority students, much different than this university. The tradition and pride she holds for her Mexican heritage has allowed her to connect with many people, especially international students. What started as a Facebook search for students with an interest in soccer has bloomed into friendships with people from across the state, nation and world. Throughout her time at NEBRASKA, she has made a concerted effort to be a better listener in an attempt to learn from others. These listening skills especially aided her during her research abroad, studying hyenas in Botswana. “You can’t enter their country with your perspective,” she warns, encouraging peers to be more open-minded both domestically and internationally.
“You can’t enter their [another] country with your perspective”
Rousol Architecture · Lincoln, Nebraska
Rousol’s college career has shown a progression of challenge and change. Every year, she learned to be a better person and a better citizen. The ambition and drive she’s aimed to demonstrate throughout college are also qualities she admires in many of her peers. The opportunities the university has afforded her have prepared her to be a global citizen. She’s noticed important changes on campus this year - from seeing more women in hijabs to the inclusive messaging from administration - she feels the university is creating a safe haven for all. To students, faculty and staff at the university, she reminds, “You impact us more than you know.”
“To students, faculty and staff at the university, she reminds, “You impact us more than you know.””
Donde Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer ·
From Texas to Tennessee to Nebraska, Donde Plowman has worked with thousands of students across the U.S. Her experiences as a mom of a Nigerian-born son and her work over the years with minority students have helped elevate her appreciation of diversity in all environments. Beginning her tenure at Nebraska as the dean of the College of Business Administration, Donde’s role as a female leader in a male-dominated field didn’t deter her from leading CBA to new accomplishments. She credits our welcoming and accepting citizens for helping her. In a new leadership job at the university, she continues to focus on excellence, community and impact, and she believes respectful interaction and interest in the viewpoints of others allow us all to do better.
“I believe respectful interaction and interest in the viewpoints of others allow us all to do better.”
Steven journalism, advertising and public relations · omaha, nebraska
Coming to the university with a set life plan in mind, Steven was thrown for a loop when he decided to change majors during his junior year. After confiding in academic advisors and friends, he realized his goals had shifted. This sense of depth in conversations is something he’s tried to implement throughout his time at the university. He noticed that many people he encountered had a shield up when conversing with others, and stayed comfortable with surface-level conversations. Steven, though, has aimed to dive right in and show his true self to everyone he meets quickly in their relationship. From bridging gaps between international and domestic students to facilitating conversations at new student enrollment, he thrives on the connections he builds with others on campus. Steven recognizes that in order to engage in diversity, you have to reach out. If you only stick with your friend group in your comfort zone, you’ll likely miss out on incredible friendships and lessons. “So say ‘hi’ and start a conversation…you’ll be surprised how many doors it opens for you.”
“Say ‘hi’ and start a conversation…you’ll be surprised how many doors it opens for you.”
Sydney Broadcasting, Advertising, and Public Relations · Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Walking on campus as a senior, Sydney is watching her college career come full circle. From entering campus knowing almost no one, to now, constantly recognizing acquaintances and friends on the sidewalk, she is appreciative of the situations that have put her where she is today. The growth and culture shock she was forced to face in adjusting to college life is something she willingly put herself through multiple times throughout college by interning abroad. She sees her eagerness to grow mirrored in many of her peers. As she puts it, “Everyone here is working toward a greater purpose.” As she pursues her larger destiny in life, she recognizes the importance of always learning and growing. She encourages everyone to ponder, “If you could strive to be better, what would that look like?” Campus can be a tough place; we might as well teach and encourage others to be better, to be more culturally sensitive and understanding to make all feel welcome.
“Everyone here is working toward a greater purpose.”
Nurik Finance · Khujand, Tajikistan
With a smile from ear to ear and infectious enthusiasm, Nurik is one to leave an impression on everyone he meets. Coming to the university as an international student, he saw himself as self-sufficient and was always helping others. In college, however, the tables turned - requiring Nurik to be the one asking for assistance. Whether questioning his domestic-student roommates why a joke was funny or having another set of eyes read over his paper in the writing center, he is very appreciative of the academic and social support he’s received in Lincoln. Originally, Nurik sought comfort in students similar to him, like in the Russian Club on campus. Soon, though, he realized the importance of immersing himself in the diversity of campus to strengthen his understanding of himself and American culture. As for most every student, freshman year was full of lessons about independence and growing up. Through it all, Nurik faces adversity with a smile on his face. The kindness he prides himself on demonstrating is what he feels connects him most to other Huskers. For all faculty, staff and students at the university, Nurik offers one piece of advice - “Smile more.”
“I realized the importance of immersing myself in the diversity of campus to strengthen my understanding of myself and American culture.”