Your Gifts Bring Student Dreams to Life
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is filled with amazing students working toward their dreams. Through the UNO Fund, you can help them get there. Here are a few stories from incredible students who have benefitted from the generous donations of alumni like you to the UNO Fund:
Kassandra Selene Rodriguez Hernandez
Major: Business Administration — Entrepreneurship, College of Business Administration
Kassandra knew she wanted to go to UNO after falling in love with the campus while still in high school. The Bryan High graduate grew up in South Omaha, which is where she hopes to open her own business after earning her bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship from UNO's College of Business Administration.
In order to make her dream a reality, Kassandra works at her dad's car dealership part-time while going to school. However, because she is so committed to giving back to her community, she makes sure to set aside time to help groups like Project Achieve, using her own experience to help students like herself get through college.
Aarjav Chauhan '16
Major: Computer Science — College of Information Science & Technology
Aarjav is one of the more than 2,000 students at UNO that come from outside the United States; however, he hopes to continue to call Omaha his home. He came to Omaha from Shimla, India, which is 7,400 miles away. Luckily he was able to help pay for his tuition through the UNO Advantage Scholarship, which is able to help pay the difference between resident and non-resident for undergraduate students who are not Nebraska residents.
"It definitely helped me and my family financially since tuition costs for international students is higher than regular students," he says. "The scholarships allowed me to save money and enjoy the city of Omaha." While at UNO Aarjav became involved in the International Student Association, created his own video game development club, and also played intramural soccer. He has also given back to Omaha through UNO's Seven Days of Service and was able to work alongside his peers creating websites as part of UNO's Attic program, which hires 15-20 student workers each year.
"All of these experiences helped me meet wonderful people and learn more about different cultures," he says. "I believe working in groups emulates professional work as we work in teams where everyone has different responsibilities. These experiences at UNO allowed me to be better prepared when I got my first job after graduating." Today, Aarjav has a job as a business analyst for American Title, Inc., but he hopes to return to UNO soon to earn a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems.
Rebekah Kuhfal '16
Major: Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences
Rebekah is a native of Neligh, Nebraska and a graduate of Neligh-Oakdale High
School. After a stint at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, she found her niche at UNO where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. She plans on getting her masters as well, but is currently putting her degree to use by teaching math at Clearwater-Orchard Public Schools.
During her time at UNO Rebekah worked at the UNO TV Station on the production crew in addition to her academic studies. She was also a campus ambassador, a student assistant at the Creative Production Lab in the Criss Library, and was also involved in the Thompson Learning Community. Rebekah was always busy (she volunteered at Open Door Mission, too), but that's the way she likes it.
"I loved being able to be involved and meet people."
Major: Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences
Bryce came to UNO all the way from Alaska, where he attended Ketchikan High. The political science major is a work study student in Student Involvement, and he has an internship with the Douglas County Department of Corrections. Bryce is the first in his family to attend college and it is because of the financial aid and support he has received that he has been able to commit himself to his studies and be involved in campus activities and community engagement events.
His favorite thing about his education is giving back to the community through all of the volunteering opportunities offered at UNO. Bryce helped stimulate interest in student service at Metro Community College, specifically targeting hunger and homelessness in Omaha. He also serves as secretary for Students Against Hunger, a student organization at UNO.
Major: General Studies, College of Public Affairs and Community Service
Brittany Juhnke's path to UNO wasn't exactly straightforward, but it has certainly been rewarding.
A native of Columbus, Nebraska, Brittany had taken classes at three different colleges before a chance encounter with an old friend, who spoke highly of UNO's online degree programs, began her journey as a Maverick.
Brittany enrolled in UNO's nationally-ranked Bachelor of General Studies online degree program in 2015 and is set to graduate from the College of Public Affairs and Community Service in May 2017 -- all while working a full 40-hour work week at Mutual of Omaha.
Brittany says she couldn't have done it without the help of grant funding and the support of her advisors.
Her dream job is to work for the International Justice Mission to combat human trafficking, but in the meantime, as a member of the Student Inclusion Council, she hopes to develop programs for nontraditional students to participate in service projects.
Raquel Sophia Allen
Major: General Studies, College of Public Affairs and Community Service
Raquel wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps, so she became a Maverick. A native of Chicago, she is a candidate for the Bachelor of General Studies with areas of emphasis in general administration, health education, and psychology.
Her mother, Brenda Allen, returned to college at UNO after being on dialysis for 15 years. In July 2012, Raquel donated a kidney to her mother and then enrolled at UNO herself the following semester.
"(My mother's) tenacity inspired me to rekindle the fire of my academic dreams," she said.
Raquel works full-time as a senior legal assistant at a government agency, and she plans to continue her education after graduation.
Major: Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Bryan grew up in El Salvador and graduated from Bryan High School in Omaha. He's a biology major and he also works at UNO's Outdoor Venture Center. After receiving a full scholarship from the Thompson Learning Community, he chose to follow in his brother and sister's footsteps by attending UNO.
In addition to being part of the Thompson Learning Community, Bryan is also involved with Project Achieve and the UNO Office of Latino/Latin American Studies. He plans to volunteer in the medical field after graduation to better his candidacy for the University of Nebraska Medical Center physician assistant program.
"UNO is helping prepare me for the future by exposing me to new ideas and ways of thinking that will help me decide my ideal career path."
Major: Studio Art — Graphic Design, College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media
Gloria Bautista chose UNO for its Art/Design program and to get out of her comfort zone. After working on her public speaking and participating in service learning projects, she has done exactly that.
"UNO has helped me tremendously with my communication skills and improved my ability to try new things," she said.
Bautista is a studio art major and graduate of Omaha North High Magnet School. She also puts her degree to use when she works at the Creative Production Lab in the Criss Library every week.
One of Bautista's most memorable experiences was in her color theory class, where the class partnered with students at Blackburn Elementary to create a mural inside the Learning Community Center of North Omaha.
Major: Physical Education — Exercise Science, College of Education
As a former member of the Air Force, Jordan is familiar with moving around a lot, but it wasn't until he came to UNO that he found a home.
With an interest in fitness and service, Jordan was able to find a way to marry his passions with his education in pursuit of a degree in Physical Education and a certificate in Gerontology.
"Personally, I have always felt that if my passion and education could intersect that is where I would be the most useful," he says. "By way of many sincere faculty and cutting edge curriculum, UNO as a whole supplied the wherewithal for said junction."
Thanks to financial assistance from both the Veterans Association and scholarships, Jordan has been able to pursue his education without worrying how he was going to pay for it.
Instead, Jordan is able to both work and learn as a student worker in UNO's Biomechanics Research Building and give back as a volunteer providing a free exercise class to international senior citizens.
Jordan hopes to "live out his purpose" after graduation as a wellness advocate in the Omaha community.
"Three years ago I was walking through campus as an Air Force vet, without one friend. Now, I am a Maverick first and veteran second and the experiences I've encountered have assuredly prepared me for the future."
Major: Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
Zhomontee is a North Omaha native and a 2014 graduate of Benson High School. A psychology major, she plans to continue her education into graduate school and obtain a masters in counseling. She already has her eyes set on a few places for employment, including Boys Town and Nebraska Collaborative.
Zhomontee received a Buffett Scholarship out of high school, which she said took a huge financial burden off of her family's shoulders. She works at the UNO Bookstore and is the President of the UNO Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Zhomontee is also on the UNO Concert Choir. Her favorite part about UNO, however, is the diversity of the people on campus, all of whom have been supportive and inspired her to achieve her goals.
"From the janitors to my professors, they push me to do well. It's hard not to be motivated on this campus."
The UNO Fund makes tories like these possible every day at UNO. See the options below to make your gift to the UNO Fund today.