Megan Friesen
SSS adviser, 308.865.8988

Six students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney received Outstanding Student or Pacesetter Awards during the Academic Success Awards and Recognition event.

“Our students work so hard throughout the semester, and 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,” said Megan Friesen, academic counselor in the UNK Academic Success office.

Academic Success is a collaboration of three offices that provide academic assistance to UNK students. Among the services available through UNK 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 a variety of additional services that support academic and life-long learning.

Services at UNK Academic Success also include the opportunity for students to become involved in Student Support Services, 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.

“The Outstanding Student Award was presented to two upper-level students who exemplify scholarship, leadership, and service to UNK and the community,” Friesen said.  “Award recipients epitomize a successful blend of ability, work ethic and spirit of the pursuit of excellence.”

The two Outstanding Student recipients were Mathew Day of Loup City and James Weese of Geneva

Day, who is a senior biology major with a minor in Spanish, has received numerous awards and honors including a nomination for UNK Homecoming Royalty and NRHH Student of the Month. He is a Deans’ List student and a member of the Honors Program. He was recently was accepted into medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Day has been a participant in Student Support Services for the past three years and has served as an Academic Mentor for one year. His campus activities include: community adviser, president of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, Loper Legion, the Health Science Club, UNK Rugby Club, and a participant in the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and Student Research Day.

“Matt (Day) is one of the most determined, hard-working and focused students,” Friesen said. “He strives for success in all his endeavors and is willing to take on opportunities to enhance his life.” 

Weese is a senior elementary education and secondary mathematics education 7 – 12 major. His activities include: Student Support Services volunteer peer mentor, Math 230/330 tutor for the Learning Commons and Student Education Association of Nebraska (SEAN). A Deans’ List student, Weese has participated in the National Student Exchange (NSE) through Florida International University.

“James (Weese) maintains a positive attitude and always takes advantage of the resources available to him,” Friesen said. “He has a remarkable ability to balance his academic responsibilities, two part-time jobs, extra activities and his own personal time. It has been fun to watch James grow throughout the years, and I have no doubt that he will be an incredible educator in the near future.”

The Student Support Services (SSS) Pacesetter Award was presented to four SSS freshmen who have demonstrated the necessary skills, habits and motivation to become successful students. The recipients include Eon Lemburg of Cairo, Geylin Mendez-Ceballos of Lexington, Marina Carranza of Lexington and Dustin Forrest of Yuma, Colo

Lemburg, a social science education 7 – 12 major, is currently a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and participates in intramural sports. In high school, he was involved in the National Honor Society, Student Council, DAFY, FBLA, football, basketball and track. Lemburg was the recipient of a number of honors in high school including being the team captain of his basketball and football teams, All District football, Academic All State for football and basketball, Army Academic, Athlete of the Year, Student Council vice president and class president for four years.

“Eon (Lemburg) is a very hard-working and motivated student,” Friesen said. “He demonstrates leadership skills, pursues academic excellence and takes advantage of the available opportunities in order to enhance his college education.”   

Mendez-Ceballos, a business administration major with an emphasis in management, is an active member in the Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority, Ladies Mix, Buddy Bowling, Student Support Services, and has helped with the Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference, raised funds for St. Jude and participated in the Pink Volleyball event for Breast Cancer Research.

“What impresses me most about Geylin (Mendez-Ceballos) is her positive attitude and drive to be incredibly successful,” Friesen said. “She is passionate about her work, strives for excellence in all she does and does not hesitate to ask questions. Geylin is truly living up to being what it means to be a Pacesetter student.”   

Carranza is involved with the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), Student Support Services, intramural sports and is a member of the Thompson Scholars Learning Community.

“Marina (Carranza) has embraced the college experience and is grateful for the opportunity the Buffett Foundation has provided,” said Rashawn Harvey, UNK Student Support Services assistant director. “She continues to make great decisions and is upward bound for success.” 

Forrest, wildlife biology major, participates in Student Support Services, intramural sports, the America Reads Tutoring Program, and is a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

“Dustin (Forrest) is a determined young man who is not letting any obstacles get in his way on the road to college success,” Harvey said. “He does a great job seeking out resources, plus he’s determined to be the first in his family to graduate from college.”

The event, which is held at the end of each fall and spring semester, took place at the UNK Alumni House.