By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Tanya Wasson can summarize her time at the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a single sentence.
“If you’re determined and willing to work hard, the opportunities are endless at UNK.”
She’s certainly proof of that.
Wasson graduates May 8 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in marketing/management. The 20-year-old completed the program in just three years, demonstrating her commitment to education.
She spent countless hours studying and signed up for summer classes the past two years to accomplish this feat.
“Even though the classes I took were challenging, it was time well spent because I wanted to keep going and I didn’t want to take a break,” she said.
Wasson, who speaks five different languages, has always been a dedicated student.
During high school, she completed a Chinese immersion program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was selected for the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council, which prepares Nebraska teens for leadership roles and gives them the opportunity to address issues impacting young people while engaging in the legislative process. She also took dual-credit and summer courses, and was an early entry student at UNK, allowing her to get a head start on college.
The Kearney High School graduate enrolled at UNK because she wanted to be on a smaller campus where she could easily interact with faculty and fellow students and receive one-on-one attention in the classroom.
“That’s what I really enjoy about UNK,” she said.
UNK also provided ample opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities. Wasson was active in numerous student organizations, including the Enactus business and entrepreneurship group, International Justice Mission, Young Americans for Liberty and UNK Leadership, Education and Development Series (LEADS), a program that prepares Lopers for their postgraduate careers by developing leadership qualities through a variety of activities, experiences and educational sessions.
Additionally, she worked part time and volunteered in the community.
Jeong Hoon Choi, an associate professor in UNK’s Department of Management, called her a courteous, professional and disciplined student with a strong work ethic.
“The faculty members and students who know her always praise her excellent performance and sincere attitude,” he said, noting that Wasson “showed an incredible desire to apply techniques and methods she learned in class to real-world business problems.”
Last summer, Wasson traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia – the city where she was born – to intern with a global food company. She worked on special projects for Gia Foods focusing on international products while gaining experience in areas such as marketing, supply chain management and finance.
“It was very valuable,” Wasson said of the summer internship. “As a student, it’s crucial to have that experience to relate what we learn in class to the real world.”
Wasson is currently working with other students from UNK and UNL on a business plan for a coffee and tea shop they hope to open in downtown Lincoln.
Entrepreneurship, though, is only a hobby for her.
A dean’s list student, Wasson plans to pursue Master of Business Administration and Master of Education degrees before attending law school. She wants to work for a government agency and “make a difference in the world.”
“I’m looking forward to the next phase of my life, and I want to thank all my family, friends and amazing professors for their endless support,” she said.
Her advice for current and future Lopers is to embrace all the opportunities UNK offers.
“You never know where they could lead you.”