UNK Students And Alumni Share Mentoring Experience In Gold Torch Society

Michelle Widger
UNK Alumni Association, 308.865.8474

The Gold Torch Society, a group of alumni women who mentor undergraduate women at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, meet recently on the campus. 

Through The Gold Torch Society, the alumni lend their guidance, encouragement and career experience to UNK students, according to Michelle Widger, assistant director of alumni services. The meetings featured sessions covering topics including balancing career and family, leadership, financial planning, networking and taking the leap into the workforce after graduation. Alumni and students also spent time networking and establishing mentoring relationships. 

Sponsored by the UNK Alumni Association, The Gold Torch Society provides alumni the opportunity to return to campus and share a weekend of activities and special events with a select group of UNK undergraduate women. 

“The society’s alumni members are strong, successful women from a variety of backgrounds including education, politics, medicine, business and journalism,” said Jim Rundstrom, executive director of the UNK Alumni Association. “It is wonderful to see the relationships that have formed because of the Gold Torch Society.” 

Alumni are nominated for a three-year membership in the society while student membership is for one year and is by application only. 

Twenty-four UNK alumnae are participating this year. Listed alphabetically by community, along with the year they graduated from UNK, they include: 


Chapman –
 Maureen Nickels, 1974 
Grand Island –
 Katie Shada Ramsey, 985 
Kearney –
Wendy Welsh Clark, 1990; Stacie Pearson, 1996; Jenn Riggs-Slack, 1995; Tammie Stump Blaha,  1984; Sandy Rosse, 1993; Catherine Luebbe Sanchez, 1999; Susan Brown Gierhan, 1989; Lisa Hibberd, 1993; Dee Dee Schutte Kitzelman, 1990; Marsha Rodehorst-Wilkerson, 1990; Renae Riddle Zimmer, 1991; Amy Kempf Graham, 1993; Tammy Adelson Hayden, 1990 
Lincoln –
 Laure Smith, 1995 
Minden –
 Franny Hauver Madsen, 1983 
Omaha –
 Barbara Schroeder, 1974; Jeanette Keller Wojtalewicz, 1984 
Papillion –
Kendra Stahl Sibbernsen, 1989 
Wayne –
 Kathy Mohlfeld, 1991 

     Bettendorf –
 Holly Nikels – 1993 

       Jenks – Lauren Sedlacek Petersen – 2002 

       Dallas – Candy Fernau – 1996 

There are 24 student members of the society. Listed alphabetically by hometown, they include: 

       Butte – Megan Reiman 
       Curtis – Lisa Elson 
       Geneva – Brittany Reman 
       Giltner – Morgan Kellogg 
       Grand Island – Kailey Rock, Audrey Rowley 
       Hastings – Brittany Davidson 
       Indianola – Jaime Coolidge 
       Kearney – Dana Gillespie 
       Martell – Bridget Egger 
       McCook – Deonne Hinz 
       Morrill – Hope Marsh 
       North Platte – Ashley Amber Stillwell 
       Omaha – Ciara Benson, Laura Ceron, Kristin Nielson 
       Ogallala – Sara Chu Brady 
       Ralston – Natalie Peterson 
       Sidney – Amber Davis 
       Wood River – Jennifer Foster 
       York – Kylee Gardner 
       Valentine – Jami Hockenbary 

       Aurora –
 Lindsay Tanis 

       Cachan –
 Faouza Yasmin Abdallah