By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Twin siblings Morgan and Trevor Daubert have a special connection with the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
It’s where their parents, Heather and Mike Daubert of Omaha, met at a sorority-fraternity social in August 1990 before earning the degrees that launched their careers in education.
Their grandparents, Kathy and Les Livingston of Kearney, are also UNK graduates who met on campus. Kathy enjoyed a 38-year career at the university, retiring in December 2017 as director of institutional research and assistant to the senior vice chancellor of academic and student affairs, and Les spent more than four decades as a teacher and coach at Kearney High School.
Les Livingston Sr., their late great-grandfather, was a faculty member and coach at UNK for nearly 30 years, leading the men’s basketball, golf and tennis teams and serving as an assistant for football. He was inducted into the Loper Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
It seems obvious that Morgan and Trevor would use the word “family” to describe UNK – they also have a first cousin studying here – but their love for the university extends well beyond bloodlines.
Initially, Trevor was hesitant to attend the same school as his twin sister while also following in his parents’ footsteps. He wanted to do his own thing – then he took a closer look at UNK and everything it offers.
“There really wasn’t a school that could rival UNK, especially in Nebraska, as far as quality of education, cost, opportunities, class sizes – the list goes on and on,” he said. “And the health sciences program is really good.”
Morgan, on the other hand, was destined to be a Loper. She made that decision in the eighth grade after setting her sights on a career in physical education.
“I wanted to come to UNK because of how hands-on that program is,” she said. “We started teaching in 100-level classes.”
UNK’s health and physical education program prepares future PK-12 instructors by creating opportunities for them to work directly with children, whether it’s through a program for home-school families, partnerships with Kearney Public Schools and Zion Lutheran School or the annual Nebraska Kids Fitness and Nutrition Day.
On average, a UNK health and physical education student will spend more than 100 contact hours with PK-12 children before they student teach.
“Everything is a cut above anything else in the state in this program,” said Morgan, who called the bonds she developed with advisers, faculty and peers “one of a kind.”
“I instantly felt like they wanted to know about me and what I wanted to do,” she said.
Mike Daubert would agree. He’s a physical education teacher at Kiewit Middle School, which is part of Millard Public Schools.
His wife Heather, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNK, is an assistant principal at Beadle Middle School in the same district, where their children graduated from Millard North High School.
Trevor is a biology major with a health sciences emphasis, but that pre-medicine track is about the only thing that differs between the siblings.
The 19-year-old sophomores are both Student Senate members, resident assistants and Undergraduate Research Fellows. He’s in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Delta health sciences honor society, and she’s in the Alpha Phi sorority and Kappa Delta Pi education honor society.
“Our parents always instilled in us that you need to be involved and you need to give back,” said Trevor, who is also part of the UNK Honors Program. “We’re not just paying for a diploma. It’s more than that.”
The siblings came to UNK to make a difference and leave their own mark on the university.
Morgan, who served as the undergraduate student representative on the search committee for UNK’s inaugural college of arts and sciences dean, is focused on building relationships with faculty, students and anyone else she interacts with on campus. She wants to be viewed as a mentor for underclassmen who inspires more students to get involved.
“It’s about preparing the next group of leaders,” she said. “Sometimes people forget that. You have to mentor and build because it won’t continue unless you have people to fill your shoes when you leave.”
Like three generations of their family before them, the Omaha siblings are enjoying life in Kearney. People are friendly, support is easy to find, and grandma’s cooking is only a short drive away.
“I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to come here,” Trevor said. “I know I’m definitely going to want to come back and/or give back to the university once I graduate because of everything it’s done for me.”