KEARNEY – Neli Morales-Garcia has a lot to say about the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
She’ll tell you about the academic and career services that help students prepare for an exam or land an internship, organizations that provide leadership and social opportunities while giving back to the community and professors who genuinely care about their students and know them by name.
“I want to let other students know about all the great things UNK has to offer,” Morales-Garcia said.
The family studies major is spreading the word through a new student ambassadors program launched last semester by UNK’s College of Business and Technology. Morales-Garcia, a senior from Hastings, is one of eight students currently participating in the program designed to promote UNK and the College of Business and Technology and boost enrollment.
The group, led by recruitment specialist Whitney Cave, visited 10 area high schools last semester to meet with students and teachers, and several more stops are planned this semester.
Bree Dority, an associate professor of accounting and finance and associate dean for the College of Business and Technology, said the intent isn’t to deliver a prepared pitch that sounds like it’s coming from an admissions office. They want students to have informal, interactive conversations with high schoolers that address their questions about UNK and the transition to college, covering topics such as scholarships and financial aid, job shadowing and campus living.
Many high schoolers are already having these conversations with their parents, teachers or guidance counselors, Cave said, “but to hear it from someone just a couple years older than them makes a big difference.”
The student ambassadors also talk about what led them to UNK and their experiences as a Loper.
“They really learn what to expect out of college,” said Morales-Garcia, a first-generation college student who admits UNK “wasn’t on her radar” early in her high school career.
“I think I would have really benefited from having a college student come and talk to me,” she said.
In addition to the high school visits, student ambassadors have the opportunity to serve on College of Business and Technology committees and network with the Kearney business community. They also assist at a variety of events, including career and job fairs, new student orientation and Loper Preview Day.
“This is definitely a resume-building activity,” said Dority, adding that the program gives motivated, successful students a chance to further develop their leadership skills.
The student ambassadors program is open to sophomores through seniors from any program within the College of Business and Technology. Participants receive a stipend each semester, but the money had nothing to do with Morales-Garcia’s decision to sign up.
“UNK has done so much for me, so why not give back by giving some of my time to promote UNK?” she said. “It’s such a great university that’s helped me grow so much as a person.”
CBT STUDENT AMBASSADORS
The following students, listed by hometown, are currently serving as College of Business and Technology student ambassadors:
Arcadia – Lindsey Trotter, industrial distribution
Hastings – Neli Morales-Garcia, family studies
Juniata – Nate Kiolbasa, information technology
Kearney – Jessica Temoshek, business administration, health care management emphasis
Lexington – Jessica De La Torre, family studies
North Platte – Austin Chitty, construction management and military science
O’Neill – Andrew Burival, supply chain management
Seward – Kelsey Sloup, accounting