What does it really mean to be a Husker? Take a look into the experience of our students, faculty and staff.
Mechanical Engineering · Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Kaleab’s drive for engineering comes from his hands-on experiences. As a member of the university’s Husker Motorsports Formula SAE (Formula) team, he builds Formula One-like vehicles that go head-to-head against other universities across the country.
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Kaleab has worked his way up from a general member to technical director of the group over the past four years. While thinking back on how Formula has helped him develop as an engineer, he noted that the organization has made a tremendous impact on him.
“Having Formula has developed very much every instinct that I have as an engineer,” Kaleab said. “Designing, basically understanding the mechanical components, knowing techniques and methods so that I can prove myself — basically building my arsenal.”
Building a car from scratch isn’t easy. The team must build a machine that is fast and sturdy, while also being safe, manufacturable and affordable. Then to even compete against other schools, Formula’s car must pass a lengthy inspection.
“We go through technical inspections before we can participate in the events, and it is extremely tough to even pass that technical inspection,” Kaleab said.
From testing and re-testing the final product, to painstakingly detailed audits of the design, to learning from past mistakes in previous years to build an even better model in the future — Formula gives Kaleab a place to put what he’s learned in the classroom into practice.
Formula has also helped Kaleab prepare for his career. As he started with the group as a first-year, he now has four years of ample experiential opportunities on his resume. He’s able to show employers the depth of his experiences, and how Formula has accelerated his engineering education.
Associate Professor of Entomology · Waverly, Nebraska
Everyone has something they're passionate about. For associate professor Tom Weissling, that something happens to be so small that most people don't even notice it during their day-to-day lives: bugs. Though he's now an associate professor of entomology, Tom didn't always have a keen interest in insects. In fact, during undergrad, he took his first entomology class only because he was interested in fly fishing. Three degrees in entomology later, Tom can thank his hobby for helping him find his passion. Most of Tom's appointment as a professor is focused on teaching. While he teaches higher-level entomology courses to students in the program, he's also taught introductory-level insect biology classes to students of all academic majors. In those courses, he uses his enthusiasm for the subject to show students all the great things insects can do, like pollinating and breaking down dead plant material. Many students start the course with an aversion to bugs, but by the end they leave it knowing all the good insects do. "Even if you just reach one person every now and then, that's a huge win for me."
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Director of the Women's Center · Lincoln
Jan has been the director of the Women's Center since 1998, but that's not where her NEBRASKA story began. She started her undergrad at Nebraska, but at the end of her freshman year, her mother suddenly passed away. When she came back the next fall, no one asked if she was okay. She kept it together for two more years, but eventually flunked her classes and dropped out. After three years, she came back to school and discovered the Women's Center. She felt completely welcomed, and the people there gave her resources and connections to cope with her loss. That experience has shaped how she directs the center today. Now, there are a lot more men interested in violence prevention work, and Jan has even created a men and masculinity class that's being offered this spring. More services have been created, too, like free confidential counseling, 6,000 gender-related books and outreach programs. These programs include UNL Prevent, a relationship violence peer education group that focuses on bystander intervention and sexual assault awareness, and Healthy Outlook Peer Educators, a group that focuses on body image and self esteem. When reflecting on her time so far, Jan is most proud of the alumni that took the center's philosophy of empowerment and collaboration to make real change in the world. One has gone on to be the director of the Women's Fund in Omaha, another works in Denver at a eating disorder recovery center and many more are making a positive impact in our community.
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