Academic Success Office Recognizes UNK Student Achievment

UNK– The University of Nebraska at Kearney Office of Academic Success and Student Support Services recently recognized outstanding students at an awards and recognition event at the UNK Alumni House.

“The Academic Success Awards and Recognition Social is held at the end of each fall and spring semester,” said Megan Friesen, UNK Academic Success counselor. “Our students work so hard throughout the semester that this is an opportunity for us to recognize students for their outstanding academic achievements, celebrate their success and commitment to quality and service, and bring light to their overall significant contributions to the UNK community.”

The Office of Academic Success is a collaboration of three offices that provide academic assistance. Among the services available through Academic Success are college transition and study skills classes, a certified peer tutoring program, a computer learning lab, make-up testing for students, services for students with disabilities and other services that support academic and life-long learning.

In addition, services include the opportunity for students to become involved in Student Support Services (SSS), which is a federally funded TRIO program that serves students who meet criteria for participation by being a first generation college student, income-eligible or a student with a disability. Participation is limited to students who work actively with the program that is mandated to enhance academic performance, persistence and graduation.

Awards presented included Outstanding Student, Student Support Services Pacesetter’s Award and MOKANNE (Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska) scholarship recipients.

The Outstanding Student Award was presented to two upper-level students who exemplify scholarship, leadership, and service to UNK and to the community. The two are Brittany Schmidt of Waco and Crystal Bonin of Oak.

Schmidt, a senior who is majoring in psychology with a minor in social work, is a member of the UNK Honors Program, Sigma Xi the Scientific Research Society, Psi Chi psychology honor society, Gold Torch Society and a Deans’ List student. She has been a participant in SSS since her first semester at UNK and has been a Peer Mentor for the last three years. Schmidt has presented her psychology research at conferences around the country and has been published in professional psychology publications.

“Brittany’s determination to be successful, and her willingness to take advantage of all available opportunities, make her an ideal recipient of the Outstanding Student Award,” Friesen said. “She strives for excellence and does not settle for second best.”

Crystal Bonin, a business administration major, is a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies. As a freshman, she received the SSS Pacesetter Award.

“I am very proud of Crystal’s accomplishments and determination to succeed,” said Bridgette Swenson, SSS counselor.  “She is on her way to a successful future.”

The Pacesetter Award was presented to five SSS freshmen who have demonstrated that they are developing the necessary skills, habits and motivation to become successful students, Swenson said. Recipients include: Brittany Pofahl of Grant, Matthew Spotanski of Loup City, Cody Karr of Blue Hill, Diyen Bahena of Omaha and Jessica Telford of Kearney.

“Brittany (Pofahl) is a very organized and motivated student,” Swenson said. “She knows what she wants, and she goes after it. She doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her goals.” According to Swenson, Pofahl, an elementary education and special education major, has set three goals–keep high grades, get a degree and get a good job.

About Spotanski, Swenson said: “Matt is very motivated and a positive student. He is on his way to a successful college career and future.” Swenson describes Spotanski, a computer science major, as “…a proactive student in academics.” Spotanski advises future freshmen, “Listen to the advice your teachers give you, go to class every day and turn in your homework.”

Karr, a special education, physical education and math education major, is currently a member of the UNK football team, the ARC of Buffalo County and SSS. He was named to the Academic Dean’s List during his first semester at UNK for his commitment to academic achievement.

Friesen described Karr as “…a very self-motivated and hardworking student. He demonstrates leadership skills, has a commitment to excellence, and takes advantage of the opportunities presented to him in order to gain the most of his college experience.”

Bahena, a pre-med major, is active in the Thompson Scholars Learning Community. During her first semester at UNK, she earned a 3.6 GPA. She has been selected to be a Resident Adviser in the fall.

Rashawn Harvey, SSS assistant director, described Bahena as “…a young lady who is focused and truly wants to be the first person in her family to graduate from college. With the steps and connections she is making, she will accomplish her goal of earning a medical degree.”

Telford, a business administration and accounting major, is active in SSS and Phi Eta Sigma national honor society. She has been named on the Academic Dean’s List for an exceptional GPA. In addition to her academic achievements, Telford has won four Grand Champions and one Reserve Champion in 4-H dog shows, and has won the Silver Spurs Award from the American Paint Horse Association. In addition to receiving the Pacesetter Award, Telford received the$500 MOKANNE Board of Directors Scholarship.

“Jessica (Telford) is very deserving of this scholarship,” Friesen said. “She consistently puts forth her best effort and strives for high academic honors. She serves as an influential role model for her peers and carries out the ideals of TRIO.”