I'm A Husker &
Ryan International Business · Sacramento, California
After playing rugby for six years, Ryan has braved many opponents. When returning to Sacramento after his freshman year of college, though, he had no idea that an unexpected challenge would arise: leukemia. He was hospitalized for a month, and although it was tough, he had many friends come visit in support. After weeks of intense chemo treatments, Ryan can now proudly say he's been cancer-free for a year. In an odd way, he was thankful to be home, despite the illness. He was able to see a new stadium open, spend time with his family and help coach high school rugby with the coaches that shaped him. He even received a supportive phone call from Carlin Isles, a member of the United States rugby team who has been touted as the fastest player in the world. Getting back into the game hasn't been an easy battle, but when he's on the field, Ryan's focus cuts through the fatigue. After beating something so big, he feels like he can take on any challenge, and he doesn't lose hope when facing obstacles. As games start up again this spring, he wants students to know that anyone is welcome to check out joining the UNL rugby team.
“After beating something so big, Ryan feels like he can take on any challenge, and he doesn't lose hope when facing obstacles.”
Jewel Entrepreneurship & Innovation · Omaha, Nebraska
Jewel Rogers is many things. She is a community builder for South of Downtown, a writer, a TEDxLincoln speaker, a management entrepreneurship major and a performer. But, above all, she is a revolutionary. She sees a revolutionary as someone who is simply an agent for change. Change does not mean something abrupt, intimidating or scary, but rather just movement forward. Jewel is particularly interested in revolutionizing urban development. While initially pursuing architecture, she thought that change was laid in the designs of structures, but she realized that what was more important was directly helping the lives that would be in them. Jewel dreams of creating the largest urban cooperative in America, leveraging collective economics to rebuild gentrified or dilapidated areas. She wants the people's needs in these areas to be taken into heavy consideration with any architect's design. In the mean time, Jewel performs spoken word at events, volunteers with youth at the F Street Recreation Center and is creating a documentary that features local change-makers. She wants to show people how attainable it is to make an impact at a small scale. If she makes even one person realize their potential, then she's made a difference.
“Jewel dreams of creating the largest urban cooperative in America, leveraging collective economics to rebuild gentrified or dilapidated areas.”
Eric Environmental Economics · Grand Island, Nebraska
Sustainability is something Eric has always been interested in, but after taking a geology course freshman year, his passion was ignited. Now an environmental economics major, he gets involved with anything and everything that impacts sustainability. He's been a part of Sustain UNL for several years, an environmental student organization that puts on popular events such as Earthstock and brings in community leaders to talk about environmental solutions. Off campus, Eric's currently working with Gene Hanlon, the recycling coordinator for Lincoln, to help educate residents about the cardboard landfill ban that will go into effect this April. Looking back, he realizes that his childhood shaped him into an environmentalist. Seeing his mother reuse food containers and getting clothes from his brother taught him that it's important to reuse and recycle. Eric doesn't believe sustainability is a partisan issue. We all share this earth, and we should use any resource as effectively as possible. Whether it's to cut down economic costs, preserve resources or help people, sustainability is important to everyone in some way. In fact, Nebraska recognizes this and gives students the opportunity to apply to the UNL Green Fund, a fund that helps students turn their green ideas into reality. Eric encourages students who want to make a change to get involved and seek out projects that spark a fire in them.
“We all share this earth, and we should use any resource as effectively as possible.”
Matthew Vocal Performance · Kearney, Nebraska
In high school, Matthew was a math and science guy. There was always an answer to a problem with a fairly strict binary between right and wrong. Outside of class, though, he regularly participated in plays, and once he began college, he knew music had to be a part of his life. With any music major, things aren't always cut and dried, and that's something Matthew has learned to embrace. Originally, he intended to minor in vocal performance, but during his audition, the faculty insisted he declare it as a major. Now in his sophomore year, he's been a part of eight shows, with the next being Avenue Q, a comedic, puppet-based musical with adult themes debuting March 2. In class, he's training his brain with music theory, his ear with aural skills and his voice with diction courses. While most of his classmates will go on to get their masters and doctorate to teach, Matthew is determined to be a musical theater performer. He loves performing because it allows him to explore a part of himself that he doesn't always show, letting loose with his emotions. He's willing to go anywhere in his career, as long as he's inspiring people and being inspired by them through art. For now, he's not getting caught up with future plans and appreciating the time he's spending at Nebraska.
“Matthew's willing to go anywhere in his career, as long as he's inspiring people and being inspired by them through art.”
Carolyn Curator of Collections · Omaha, Nebraska
Carolyn has traveled around the world gathering the textiles we often take for granted: quilts. She's been able to visit top artists in their studios across the globe, which allows her to better understand broader influences and see how much passion artists have for their work. She's currently celebrating her 20th year as the curator of collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, a state-of-the-art building that boasts over 4,000 quilts on Nebraska's East Campus. The Quilt Center collects thinly across a very broad range of quilts. Pieces range from unconventional materials, such as paper or electricity, to traditional patchwork. Carolyn loves the intimacy of quilts, because you can learn personal, social, cultural and technical issues. She believes quilters are just as much artists as painters or sculptors, and she's ready to put that debate behind us. Quilters are consciously involved in a creative act and making decisions with color and line. Although quilts may be stereotyped as something grandmothers make, there's a young, active quilting guild in the Lincoln and Omaha area. Carolyn's excited to see a younger audience bring in new perspectives, styles and colors to the art. The museum is free for students and their families, and if you're not in the mood to browse the exhibits, there's free WiFi and seating areas for studying.
“Carolyn loves the intimacy of quilts, because you can learn personal, social, cultural and technical issues.”
Lawrence Educational Psychology · Tampa, Florida
Lawrence Chatters doesn't have the phrase "slow down" in his vocabulary. He's currently working on his PhD after getting his masters degree in educational psychology, which some would consider a full-time job. But that's just the start for Lawrence. Throughout his years at Nebraska, he's worked at the Multicultural Center, the Women's Center and, currently, the athletic department as a diversity consultant. At the core of his job, he makes sure that student athletes from all walks of life are being seen as a whole person through inclusive programming and outreach. During his three years with the athletic department, he has helped establish the Nebraska Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Summit, a yearly event that brings together student athletes, staff, administrators and coaches to focus on inclusion, turn inward and better understand themselves to create better teams. Outside of his campus work, Lawrence started the Goldwin Foundation, which provides funding for national children's hospitals to purchase equipment outside of their budget and champion underfunded research. He's also an international DJ, owner of an energy drink company, a husband and a father. To Lawrence, all this work is connected because he's serving people, whether it's creating a special event through his music or sitting in on a board meeting at a hospital. He advises people to never underestimate their own potential. Giving yourself the opportunity to experience a multitude of things makes you a well-rounded, better person.
“To Lawrence, all his work is connected because he's serving people, whether it's creating a special event through his music or sitting in on a board meeting at a hospital.”
Tina Secondary English Education · Lincoln, Nebraska
Tina discovered her passion for English and education when her one of her high school teachers, a Nebraska alum, showed her the power that writing has in reclaiming words, standing up for yourself and empowering others. Now, in her junior year of college, she's determined to impact middle and high school students in the same way. Although most people think she's crazy for wanting to work with those age groups, she thinks they're brilliant and have unrealized potential. She currently coaches slam poetry at Waverly and Northstar High School, and it's been one of the most encouraging and motivating things she's ever done. When she's not in class or at school, she's around other kids at The BAY, a local coffee shop/music venue/skate park that provides a safe space for at-risk youth to be themselves. As a barista, she loves meeting new, diverse people every day. In January, she's starting an open mic night to give locals the opportunity to share their work. Next year, The BAY will be opening a new digital art space with computers, recording equipment and other technology that will let kids explore their passions and learn new skills. Tina got involved simply by showing up to events and getting to know people, and she encourages everyone to take risks and do things that are uncomfortable. That's where new opportunities present themselves.
“I encourage everyone to take risks and do things that are uncomfortable. That's where new opportunities present themselves.”
Vic English and History · Norfolk, Nebraska
If there's one underlying theme in Vic's life, it's that he works relentlessly to help others. He's an English and History major, but his interests have led him into politics, too. He currently interns at Nebraska Appleseed, a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all Nebraskans. Specifically, Vic works in the child welfare branch, producing a podcast that focuses on the voices of LGBT youth in foster care and highlighting the discrimination they may face in the system. Over the summer, Vic also interned for senator Tammy Baldwin in Washington, D.C., through the Victory Institute, an organization that empowers young LGBT people to become elected officials. After college, Vic wants to be a social worker for a few years to know what it's like on the ground level. He doesn't feel like he's cut out to inform policy without experiencing it personally. With almost 30% of kids in foster care identifying as LGBT, he believes it's important to have people working with them that they can relate to and trust. Although some would call Vic an overachiever, he wants people to know that he has battled with mental health throughout college, and he's proud of that. He's thankful for the university having a great support system and professors who have worked with him, not against him, throughout his four years.
“I'm thankful for the university having a great support system and professors who have worked with me, not against me, throughout my four years.”
Shana Secondary English Education · Niobrara, Nebraska
In high school, Shana knew that the power of education could take her anywhere. After studying hard and receiving scholarships to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she wanted to empower others to do the same. Shana is pursuing a degree in secondary English language arts education, which will allow her to teach in small towns or reservations and, eventually, get a masters degree in counseling to directly guide Native high school students. She believes that high school is an imperative time to encourage and educate students about how important a diploma is in broadening their world and helping their community. In college, Shana worries that Native students struggle because of their lack of preparation on how to thrive in higher education. Luckily, she has revived an organization that offers support for Native students, UNITE. They work to break stereotypes and celebrate Native culture. As the president for the past few years, she has seen the impact it has made on both herself and other students. It's helped her feel at home being around others that understand where she comes from. Each spring, the organization hosts a spring powwow on the green that features vendors and a drum circle. Normally, the powwow honors graduates from the group, but since there aren't any this year, they're bringing in Native students from Lincoln Public Schools to honor their high school graduation, showing how proud they are of something that many people take for granted.
“High school is an imperative time to encourage and educate students about how important a diploma is in broadening their world and helping their community.”
Shadid Biochemistry · Morelos, Mexico
In 2006, Shadid's family came to Lincoln from Morelos, Mexico for her father to pursue a doctorate in genetics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When it came time for her to think about college, she knew that Nebraska was exactly where she wanted to go. Influenced by her father's studies, she was naturally attracted to science, declaring biochemistry as her major. She is one of the few women and students of color in her classes, but she absolutely loves what she does. You can find her outside of class in the biological systems engineering department as an undergraduate researcher working with bio fuels. In the future, she plans to go into the research and development of cosmetic science. Although Shadid's life is packed with her research and studies, this doesn't stop her from pursuing other interests. She's currently a part of the Lambda Theta Nu multicultural sorority, the Cuddle Raptors frisbee team and, of course, the Cornhusker Marching Band as a rank leader in the piccolo section. The electric feeling of performing in front of 90,000+ people every game day is incomparable. As her last year in the band comes to an end, she's thankful to have played alongside such a dedicated, hardworking group.
“The electric feeling of performing in front of 90,000+ people every game day is incomparable.”