By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney students have incredible opportunities to learn outside the classroom.
From study abroad to internships to hands-on research and much more, Lopers are experiencing new things every day while preparing for their future careers.
These opportunities, and the positive impact they make, are the focus of a new podcast featuring real stories from UNK students participating in real-world learning.
“The Loper Experience,” which is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and other popular platforms, spotlights UNK’s experiential learning opportunities through interviews with the students themselves.
“As students, we learn a lot in the classroom, but that’s not everything college offers,” said UNK sophomore Jon Dockweiler of Central City. “This podcast highlights the many ways a student can learn other valuable skills and lessons while attending UNK.”
Dockweiler, who is studying business administration with a marketing emphasis, hosts “The Loper Experience” as a student assistant for UNK Communications and Marketing. This provides an authentic viewpoint for listeners.
“Jon is doing the lead work of connecting with students and finding these stories,” said Kyle Means, director of marketing at UNK. “The result is a compelling discussion among student peers that is both entertaining and informational.”
In the debut episode of “The Loper Experience,” Dockweiler interviews UNK junior Emma Porter, a Unadilla native who spent an unforgettable semester in Seoul, South Korea.
During the fall 2019 trip, Porter studied at Seoul National University and immersed herself in the Korean culture, including its cuisine and night life. She also reconnected with friends who previously attended UNK as international students. Those relationships led to a number of “special experiences” during her time in South Korea.
“Make international friends. It pays off in the end,” Porter says in the podcast. “Trust me on that.”
The social work major offers this advice for anyone thinking about studying abroad: “Just do it. It’s so worth it.”
“Don’t psych yourself out,” Porter says. “If you think it’s going to be too expensive, if you think you’re not going to be able to understand the culture or the language, you don’t know until you try it. You’re in college, get out there. Live your best life. This is the time in your life to really check off that bucket list and network with people around the world.”
Dockweiler describes “The Loper Experience” as “conversations I get to have with students who are making the most of their time in college.”
It’s also a way to promote recent changes to UNK’s experiential learning program.
“Now part of every degree, experiential learning continues to be a main feature of the UNK educational experience,” Means said. “Students can choose to participate in our ‘Beyond the Books’ programming, as well as our ‘Create Your Own Adventure’ pathways to help boost those soft skills employers find desirable.”
At UNK, hands-on learning opportunities are “around every corner,” according to Dockweiler.
“These learning opportunities are so valuable for students who are serious about growing in college,” he said. “I like to look at experiential learning as one way to set myself apart from my peers.”
Of course, hosting “The Loper Experience” podcast is a valuable learning opportunity in itself.
“Maybe in the last episode I will have to interview myself,” Dockweiler said with a smile.