I'm A Husker &
Daffnie Art · Lexington, Nebraska
Daffnie always doodled as a kid, but she never pursued art until college. Her minimal training didn't stop her from working hard to catch up with other students. Last fall, though, an unexpected hurdle appeared: she began losing feeling in both her legs. She now has pain throughout most of her body. During daily flair ups, her legs will start to tingle and eventually go numb. Sometimes it's manageable, but other times she's unable to leave the house. She's seen many doctors and neurologists, but they have yet to pinpoint the issue. Initially, Daffnie was very self-conscious when losing an ability that she's had for 20 years, but she's learning to embrace it. She uses her condition as an artistic influence. When she couldn't move at all, she created a painting series featuring things around her home, from a portrait of herself slumped over on the couch to a 6 foot by 6 foot painting of her ceiling fan. She had to lie down while creating the series, and her roommates helped turn the canvas when she finished painting different sections. Beyond personal work, Daffnie is the president of the UNL Art League, a group that explores galleries together, and an illustrator for the Daily Nebraskan.
“ Initially, Daffnie was very self-conscious when losing an ability that she's had for 20 years, but she's learning to embrace it.”
Arthur Architecture · Bellevue, Nebraska
After Arthur's parents fled Vietnam and came to the U.S. as refugees, they were determined to create a new, better life for themselves and their family. Naturally, there was pressure on Arthur to satisfy the parents that sacrificed so much for him. He graduated high school at 16 and studied in the College of Engineering based at UNO's Scott Campus, a decision he didn't have much control of as a minor. As soon as he turned 19, he boldly transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study architecture, develop his photography skills and make his own success. When he arrived in Lincoln, he really wanted to shoot a Husker football game but didn't have any way to get a photo pass. This didn't stop him from capturing the atmosphere around the stadium, uploading the compilation video to YouTube and soon after, being hired by the digital communications team as their only student videographer. Now he has free rein to shoot whatever he wants on game day. While at UNO, he briefly worked for the student paper, and they will occasionally bring him back to shoot events, such as Barack Obama landing in Omaha. When asked why he got into photography, Arthur says it was the people. He doesn't see the point in having a lot of followers or recognition if it's not backed by meaningful relationships. He wants to show others the best of themselves.
“I want to show others the best of themselves.”
Lindsey Psychology · Lincoln, Nebraska
Most students come to college after graduating high school and leaving their parent's house, but that's not the case for Lindsey. After having a kid and separating from her husband, she wanted to prove to herself and her daughter that it was possible to still get a degree. She quickly became involved on campus, especially with the Women's Center, and she's currently the student parent coordinator. There are particular struggles these nontraditional students face, such as class scheduling. It's very difficult to enroll in classes outside of 9 to 3 when there's a child to take care of before and after school. Lindsey has submitted a proposal to ASUN to make priority registration for student parents more accessible. In 2015, she founded the Student Parent Association as a space where parents can come together to support each other, create family-friendly programming and find campus resources. They've hosted a student parent welcome during Big Red Welcome week as a more relaxed and comfortable environment for students and their families to have fun. Lindsey wants other student parents to know that they're not alone, and if they'd like to get involved to email email@example.com.
“She wanted to prove to herself and her daughter that it was possible to still get a degree.”
Erasme Integrated Science · Rwanda
When Erasme came to NEBRASKA, he did not expect to have such a warm welcome. He found that the people here are friendly and approachable, especially when he gets lost on a campus that's 8,000 miles away from home. Erasme is here through the Rwandan Scholarship Program, an experience that offers Rwandan students an opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in integrated science at CASNR. As of this year, there are 105 students currently on campus through this program. These scholars have committed to return to Rwanda upon graduation to serve in critical areas across research, extension and training. They represent the talent needed to advance agriculture in Rwanda. Erasme has three concentrations in water and soil management, leadership and entrepreneurship and food safety. Rwanda has a high population with little land, so learning to manage that land and feed its people through agriculture is crucial. Erasme also appreciates learning how to better his communication skills to bring people together and figure out important solutions to these issues.
“"The people here are friendly and approachable."”
Alexis Fashion Merchandising and Apparel · Omaha, Nebraska
Alexis has always loved clothes, from creating miniature pieces for her Barbies to designing her own fashion line, LAME Eccentrics. You can see some of her latest work at lameeccentrics.com. She loves standing out and expressing herself through her appearance and art. She has a design studio in The Creative's Lounge, a new space downtown for local artists, and she has displayed her pieces at First Friday shows. She hopes to expand her shows to include live models and her creation process during the exhibit. After just turning 20, Alexis doesn't think she's too young to start a fashion collection. She believes that if you love something, start as early as possible and grow with your passion. If you know what you want to do, you should go for it. When she's not working on her art, she's taking Taekwando classes at the Rec or attending meetings for the Afrikan People's Union.
“If you know what you want to do, you should go for it.”
Carter Film and New Media · Lincoln, Nebraska
Carter came to UNL for many reasons. He's from Lincoln, his family is full of alumni and he has many friends on campus. Most importantly, though, was the film program. Being a part of a Midwest film school is a bit unusual, considering most are along the coasts. Although the program is small, the quality of education is phenomenal, and it's one of the best in the region. His love of cinematography evolved from his initial interest in photography. With videos, though, the story runs deeper. He could study it for his whole life and never quite grasp everything. It's a whole new level of technicality and creativity. Luckily, he has a ton of learning opportunities, whether it be class activities, competing in film competitions put on by Cinema 16 or his own projects. He even filmed a music video for Salt Creek, a Lincoln-based band.
“Although our film program is small, the quality of education is phenomenal.”
Abla Assistant Professor of Practice of Arabic Language and Culture · Syria
As a hijabi Muslim woman in the middle of the United States, Abla really hasn't felt much different. She and her family have been graciously welcomed into the hearts, homes, churches and temples of the Lincoln community. Being away from Syria for 10 years, she's still surprised when people go out of their way to greet her with "salam alycom," which means "hi" in Arabic, or more specifically, "peace be with you." Efforts as small as these speak volumes to her. Half of her 10 years in Nebraska have been spent teaching at the university. She absolutely loves it, and she created a minor in Arabic studies that offers students three years of language and a new cultural experience. A couple of her courses are Love and Sexuality in the History of Arabic Culture and Women in the Qur'an, bringing Arabic culture to the classroom through media, authentic videos, poetry, music, dancing and food.
“"Efforts as small as saying 'hello' in Arabic speak volumes to me."”
Jessee Computer Science · Omaha, Nebraska
After visiting the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, Jessee fell in love. After coming to NEBRASKA, he filled his time with any opportunity available. He claims his life is just like his dining hall habits: he puts a lot on his plate. He's a part of the aerospace club, a manager for the school's capstone design studio, works remotely for IBM, is working on an app and, surprisingly, is a part of the ballroom dancing club. Even more surprising is students from the Raikes School make up a large chunk of the members. He realized that he should fill his time with more than just work, so he turned to dancing after a couple friends encouraged him to join. He's a member of the competitive segment of the club, but there are casual classes on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. in the Union's ballroom. He's glad he joined, and he encourages students to "take risks and explore new opportunities. Change happens outside of your comfort zone."
“Change happens outside of your comfort zone.”
Brooke Advertising · Lincoln, Nebraska
Brooke is not a collector of trinkets, stamps or coins but of people, ideas and connections. Her passion for people runs so deep that she invites guests into her home once a month for her long table gathering, Dwell Dinner. The idea for Dwell Dinner came together in late 2016 through her interests in cooking, food photography and beautiful lifestyle publications. Although she's not the first to create a long table gathering, she is determined to keep her dinner accessible and affordable. To attend the gathering, guests sign up online and fill out a questionnaire about themselves. Brooke goes through the responses to create conversation starters for the group along with a dinner theme, whether it be "inspire," "minimal" or "nourish." Her gathering has become so popular that it's not rare for all the guests to be complete strangers. She loves bringing people together to learn from each other in a unique atmosphere. Although the dinners can be stressful, by the end of the evening her efforts are rewarded through the meaningful connections made.
“I love bringing people together to learn from each other in a unique atmosphere.”
Michael Advertising/Public Relations and Art · Des Moines, Iowa
When Michael came to Lincoln for school, she did not expect it to be much different from her hometown, Des Moines, but she quickly grew to love the university, city, and particularly, the local art scene. As a sophomore, she discovered the Tugboat Art Gallery and dreamed of being a featured artist some day. A few years later, it became a reality. Although Michael has been a part of multiple shows, one of her favorites was "Chew on This," an interactive piece inspired by a cow tongue from an earlier project. She had a bizarrely personal moment when thinking about the cow's tongue, and it made her reflect on the responsibility and helplessness she feels about being environmentally conscious. Installation visitors were given instructions to chew on wheat grass while interacting with the tongue and discussing their thoughts and experience with the people around them.
Michael is thankful for Lincoln's welcoming art community and her opportunities to grow as an artist and learn even more off campus.
Michael Johnson is a senior majoring in ADPR and art from Des Moines, Iowa.
“The art scene has been really fantastic. It's been a great place to grow as an artist and a person.”