Ask an Antelope: UNK alumna Eileen Jahn thankful for career at her alma mater

Eileen Jahn was part of the first University of Nebraska at Kearney freshman class in August 1991, after Kearney State College joined the NU System.

The Red Cloud/Davenport native joined the Nebraskats show choir and studied music and math before graduating in 1996.

Now, she is the first outreach coordinator for the UNK Honors Program.

Jahn began working part time for the Honors Program in November 2021 and transitioned to full time in June 2023. As outreach coordinator, she communicates with current and prospective Lopers and works with the Admissions Office to recruit students to the program. She also plays a part in student retention and oversees the program’s publicity, event planning and communications.

Previously, Jahn worked as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, teaching classes such as music appreciation and leading vocal lessons from 2001-23. She directed the Nebraskats for 12 years.

Jahn earned a master’s degree in vocal performance from Kansas State University in 1999 and later obtained a K-12 vocal/instrumental music teaching certification through UNK.

Why did you choose this career path?
I don’t know that I actively chose my career path. I think in many ways it chose me. Throughout my adult life, opportunities have come my way that have suited my abilities well and that I have enjoyed immensely. I am fortunate to have been able to carve out a career while raising my family.

How does the Honors Program prepare students for their careers?
To complete the Honors Program requirements, students must show initiative and creativity in choosing their honors-option projects. They also must work with supervising professors or professionals in their career fields, and they have to work toward their proposed outcomes in accordance with the contracts they create. By encouraging them to go above and beyond basic requirements, we’re preparing them to be leaders in whatever they do in life.

Are you still involved with music?
I’ll always be involved with music somehow. I teach private voice lessons and I sing for various events in the community. I haven’t been in any productions recently, but I enjoy participating in shows with Crane River Theater, Kearney Community Theatre and Minden Community Players. I also hope to have time to sing with the Platte River Singers again soon.

What do you love most about UNK?
I love the people here, and I’m proud of how the faculty and staff care about our students. This is a safe, welcoming place where students can spread their wings by interacting with people from across the state, throughout the Midwest, across the country and all over the world. This is a wonderful institution to get a quality undergraduate education at a reasonable cost. To paraphrase a neighbor of mine, the USA is the best country in the world, Nebraska is the best state in the Union, and Kearney is the best city in Nebraska.

Share a fun fact about yourself:
I’ve been teaching group exercise classes at the Kearney Family YMCA since 2009. I was the only person in my family to attend UNK until my daughter came here in fall 2023.