Kristen Larsen
Academic Success mentor coordinator, 308.865.8988

Five freshmen at the University of Nebraska at Kearney were recently named recipients of Pacesetter Awards from the UNK Office of Academic Success.

According to UNK Academic Success, the Pacesetter Awards are presented to freshmen in Student Support Services (SSS) who have “demonstrated that they are developing the necessary skills, habits and motivation to become very successful students.”
The Pacesetter Awards were presented at the Academic Success Fall 2006 Awards and Recognition Social held last week on the campus.
Pacesetter Award honorees include Kayla Webb, a nursing major from Arapahoe; Dove Messersmith, an elementary education major from HayesCenter; Lynda Tran, a biology and pre-optometry major from Lincoln; Crystal Bonin, a biology major from Oak; and Cody Jorgensen, a graphic design major from St. Paul; Webb,  who plans to become an L.P.N. and R.N., said SSS tutors have guided her through her first year in college, and she encourages other freshmen to take advantage of SSS services.
“Take advantage of the tutors. Don’t set yourself up for failure by taking on more the than you can handle, and just because you don’t have a class every day doesn’t mean you don’t need to study every day,” Webb said.
An aspiring medical researcher, Bonin  plans to attend medical school after earning her undergraduate degree. She said students should take harder classes in college to maximize their potential, and they should get involved in student organizations.

“Don’t be scared to take challenging classes, otherwise you will be bored,” Bonin said.

Bonin also said the SSS staff has been helpful in aiding her through her first year of college.

SSS staff encourages their students, and shows them how to go about pursuing their dreams, Bonin said.
During his high school years, Jorgensen was a member of the National Honor Society as well as the National Honor Roll. He held various offices in his extracurricular activities, and received awards as a participant of 4-H in areas such as judging and artwork. He was also listed in “Who’s Who Among American High School Students” and placed second at the State FFA Horse Judging, qualifying him to judge at the National AQHYA World Show.
Jorgensen said incoming freshmen should try various activities in college to see what suits them best. He said his involvement in SSS has helped him adjust to college life and succeed in the classroom.
Messersmith said her goals after graduating include traveling to all 50 states and teaching. She also said that freshmen students should not be afraid of college life.

“No matter how scared you are about coming to college and how many questions you have, someone is always going to be there to help you along the way,” Messersmith said.

Messersmith said SSS has helped her achieve her academic goals by answering questions she has had and encouraging her to get know her professors. While in high school, Tran was inducted into the National Scholars Honor Society and the National Honor Society, listed on the Honor Roll, and ranked in the top three percent of her senior class. In addition, Tran received several other honors including the Dream Scholar, Chancellor’s Scholar, Multicultural Community Service Scholar and the Junior Achievement Most Valuable Achiever Award.
Tran’s goals for her collegiate career include graduating with at least a 3.5 GPA and attending graduate school.  

Tran said SSS tutoring sessions and staff have been crucial in helping her achieve her academic goals. She said freshmen should not be afraid to seek help from others in college.

“Make sure you study and review often, plus get help. Help is out there – you just need to ask for it,” Tran said.