They’re Outstanding! Five UNK seniors recognized by Alumni Association

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alumni Association has selected five Outstanding Senior award recipients for 2022. The honor recognizes seniors for excellence in scholarship and leadership, as well as involvement and dedication to UNK and the Kearney community. Students were selected by a panel of UNK alumni.

DJ Hardwick
Nate Grimm

Nate Grimm of Fremont graduates in May with a psychology degree and minor in coaching. He will be attending Minnesota State University Mankato in the sport, exercise and performance psychology master’s program this fall. Grimm served as coordinator of Chancellor’s Ambassadors and was Interfraternity Council vice president of community service and philanthropy. He was in the Honors Program, Mortar Board Honor Society, Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society and Order of Omega. Grimm was also an undergraduate research fellow, active in Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, psychology club, Greeks Advocating for Healthy Lifestyles, a Loper Leader and Kearney TOPSoccer volunteer. He is currently the Department of Psychology’s human subjects coordinator, a Learning Commons psychology subjects tutor and Welcome Desk assistant, and he serves as an assistant girls track and field coach for Kearney High School.

DJ Hardwick of Benkelman graduates in May with a general studies degree. He will be attending Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration. While at UNK, Hardwick served as the First Year Experience Coordinator for the UNK Office of Student and Family Transitions. He was also a new student enrollment team leader, resident assistant, student ambassador for the College of Business & Technology, Title IX process adviser, chief justice of the UNK Student Court, served on the UNK First Generation Leadership Board, was active in Phi Beta Lambda both collegiately and nationally and was the 2021 UNK homecoming king. He received numerous awards for his involvement at UNK, including the Golden Loper Award, First-Generation Trailblazer Award, Student Employee Rookie of the Year, Teamwork Excellence Award and “Make Like a Duck” Award.

Holly Rockenbach
Jazmin Matias Trejo

Jazmin Matias Trejo of Wood River will graduate in May with a degree in family science and minor in criminal justice. She will be attending UNK to pursue a master’s degree in secondary school counseling. At UNK, Matias Trejo was in the Mortar Board Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, Order of Omega and was on the Dean’s List. Jazmin served as a resident assistant, campus visit assistant, new student enrollment leader and student leader for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Additionally, she was a peer mentor in the Thompson Scholar Learning Community, was active in UNK Dreamers, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and assisted with the Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference. Matias Trejo completed an internship with Kearney Public Schools and has served as an interpreter for Wood River Rural High School. She received numerous awards at UNK, including the First-Generation Trailblazer Award, Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Student of the Year, Outstanding Student Award First-Year and Second-Year Thompson Scholar and a Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation recipient.

Holly Rockenbach of York will graduate in May with a degree in communication disorders and minor in special education. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in the speech/language pathology program at UNK. During her time at UNK, Rockenbach was in the Honors Program, Mortar Board Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Educational Honor Society, Order of Omega and National Residence Hall Honorary. She was active in the Kearney Student Speech Language Hearing Association, National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, Special Musicians, Conversation Tables, the Friends Program and Catholic Newman Center. Rockenbach was the 2021 UNK homecoming queen and a UNK Alumni Association Gold Torch Society mentee. She served as a UNK Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center classroom teacher, undergraduate research fellow, resident assistant, new student enrollment leader, student diplomat and was a registered behavior technician at the Spectrum Center for Autism.

Austin Truex

Austin Truex of Norfolk graduates in August with a degree in organizational and relational communication with an emphasis in business administration and tourism and events, along with a minor in history. Following his graduation, he plans to open an escape room in Norfolk. While at UNK, Truex served as student manager of the College of Business and Technology Career Closet, was in the Honors Program, and was an undergraduate research fellow. He was also active in the Cultivate student organization, Christian Student Fellowship, and he participated in the Leadership Education and Development Series and International Food and Culture Festival. He completed internships with Growing Together Northeast Nebraska, the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Norfolk Area Community Foundation Fund, and he worked for News Channel Nebraska and UNK Residence Life as a desk assistant and operations assistant. Truex has also volunteered with the Trails & Rails Museum in Kearney and Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau.