September 25, 2022

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You are Your Only Limit

Student Commencement Stories: May 2022 | News

13 min read

Friday, May 13, will mark the end of a successful journey for more than 1,800 Mavericks as they make the transition from UNO student to UNO alumni during the May 2022 Commencement Ceremonies.

Each of our members of the Class of 2022 is a true Maverick in their own way. From the metro area to locations around the world, from certificate programs to terminal degrees, or from first-generation to multi-generation, our students carved their own path to reach their educational goals. Yet, they all have one thing in common: they are all Mavericks, and once a Maverick, always a Maverick.

About This Year’s Student Commencement Stories

Each story below features one of the May 2022 Commencement Student Marshals reading a letter to their younger self as they approach graduation.


Gustavo Angel Servin-Maciel

College of Arts and Sciences

Read Gustavo’s letter (PDF)

All About Gustavo

Learn more about Gustavo Angel Servin-Maciel, graduating from the UNO College of Arts and Sciences.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Omaha.

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

I attended Ashland Park-Robbins Elementary, Bryan Middle School, and Omaha Bryan High School before attending UNO.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

One support service/office that I used while at UNO was the Office of Multicultural Affairs. They were the first UNO office I was introduced to and have been extremely beneficial to my success at the institution. Their awesome staff and student associations helped make my experience much more enjoyable and helped me feel more connected to the UNO community.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

An event that sticks out to me from my time at UNO was a series of events known as Fiesta on the Plaza. They were annual events held during Hispanic Heritage Month where they had free food and played awesome music in the Milo Bail Plaza in celebration of the Hispanic Heritage. During my freshman year, the Fiesta on the Plaza was the first time I truly felt like I belonged in college. Feeling the energy and seeing the appreciation of my culture made me believe that UNO was the right institution for me.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

One thing that I love about UNO is the number of diverse communities and opportunities to meet people from various backgrounds and identities. UNO has a large and unique student body and hearing people’s stories throughout my time here has helped motivate me to learn more about our world and the people that inhabit it.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

It’s hard for me to say what’s next because never did I imagine to be in the position I am today in the past, so I cannot predict what comes next in my life. I am a person who enjoys the current moment and takes any positive risk that presents itself. What I can say is that I plan on interning for an environmental position, looking for opportunities in sustainability and/or environmental law. My dream job would be to work for the National Park Service as an environmental protection specialist.

Madison Tabor

College of Business Administration

Read Madison’s letter (PDF)

All About Madison

Learn more about Madison Tabor, graduating from the UNO College of Business Administration.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in the Lincoln area.

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

I graduated from Waverly High School before attending UNO.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

While at UNO, I used the CBA Career Center as a resource for preparing for my future career. I ended up working there for a little while before getting an internship, and I went back for more advice too.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

I went to Glow at UNO during Durango Days my first two years of college. This event included a DJ and glow in the dark paint that was sprayed out into the crowd. It’s different than anything else I’ve ever really done. It made it even better that I went with a roommate I had each time. It was a great way to have some fun together, which made living together even better. Unfortunately, due to worldly events, Glow at UNO was not option to go to [the last two years]. However, if it did take place, I would have definitely been there.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

One of my favorite things about UNO would be the professors. Throughout college I had probably around 30 professors (some multiple times). As a generalization, they were all supportive, clearly intelligent on their subject, and genuinely cared about the students learning the topic. I also have to add that most of them are pretty funny—something I appreciate to keep the classroom more lively. Of course, there are going to be assignments that make a little less sense or subjects that don’t click as well, but overall, I feel very lucky to have had the experience that I have had. I really couldn’t ask for much better.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

After graduation, I will be moving back to Lincoln and will be getting married this summer! My plan is to find a Human Resource position in the Lincoln area where I can utilize the knowledge I’ve gained through real-world experience. I think it would be really nice to start in a generalist-type position that gets to see and learn various areas of HR. After that, I should have a taste for what I like best and see how much I can learn about that area. My goal is to help people by making seemingly complicated things not so confusing. To me, that is a major role of HR professionals. Everyone knows someone (or is that someone) who curses the HR department at their work. While HR departments have to do some tough things, I want to be a part of the change in perception that HR is there to help, not just discipline.

Ana Bellinghausen

College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media

Read Ana’s letter (PDF)

All About Ana

Learn more about Ana Bellinghausen, graduating from the UNO College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media.

Where were you born?

Omaha

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

Elkhorn South High School.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

One office that’s been huge for me is the Financial Aid Assistance office. I’ve been lucky enough to receive scholarships and grants that have funded most of my education. It’s taken lots of stress off my process as a student and allowed me to continue in my career path further.

I’ve also leaned on the academic advising offices. Dr. (Andrea) Weare has been so helpful in piecing together my schedule for my last few semesters and answering every question I may have. She made the process so easy.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

The 2022 U.S. Curling Trials at Baxter Arena really sticks out to me because it was a full circle moment. My first professional reporting stint was with USA Curling my freshman year in December 2018 at the Curling World Cup, and then I worked with USA Curling again for the 2022 U.S. Olympic Curling Trials as a senior. There’s nothing like sending off athletes to fulfill their Olympic dreams, and to be a part of that right on campus was a special feeling. It was also the second Olympic Trials I covered in one year, with swimming in June 2021. It was a landmark moment for me.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

I love that UNO allows for so many opportunities. I’m rarely told “No” to an idea; no matter how big that idea may be. The professors truly care about the students and want to see them thrive. The campus and enrollment are the perfect size so you can fit in, but also stand out among your peers. UNO to me represents endless possibilities for growth and success. It’s a place where you can get out of your comfort zone and find your passion.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

I will continue sideline reporting for Nebraska Public Media and the Big Ten Network. I’m also ready to take on any gig that may come my way in the freelance world.

My dream job is to be the next Erin Andrews; she’s such a role model for me and someone I look up to. My goal is to be covering the biggest sporting events on the sidelines for ESPN, FOX Sports, etc… More importantly, I want to be a part of change for women in the sports industry and continue to show the world why women belong in the booth, on the sideline, in front offices and everywhere else.

Sidney Hanel

College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

Read Sidney’s letter (PDF)

All About Sidney

Learn more about Sidney Hanel, graduating from the UNO College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Where were you born?

Omaha

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

Omaha Central High School

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

One support service that I used while at UNO is Health Services. It was extremely convenient to have a UNMC affiliated office on campus. I utilized this service when I would get sick, and I received excellent care! It was also nice to not worry about having to pay a co-pay when I would visit since it was covered under my student fees.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

One event that I attended was the Open Skate at the Holland Ice Rink. When I lived on campus, my roommates and I would go to the late-night skating almost every week before COVID. We loved it!

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

I love that UNO is such a welcoming campus and it has a little something for everyone. I received immense support from faculty and professors during my time on campus. I switched my major halfway through my college experience and everyone was extremely encouraging, and they assisted me through the process. I was also able to find a group of people who had similar interests to me on campus and I have made some wonderful friends.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

I have accepted a job teaching High School Science at Bellevue East for the 2022-23 school year. I will also be teaching summer school at Bellevue East this year. I start my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at Peru State in June.

Lavanya Uppala

College of Information Science and Technology

Read Lavanya’s letter (PDF)

All About Lavanya

Learn more about Lavanya, graduating from the UNO College of Information Science & Technology.

Where were you born?

I was born in Geneva, Switzerland.

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

As an Omaha native, I came to UNO after graduating from Millard North High School.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

The Computer Science Learning Center was an incredible help during my freshman year at UNO. I learned how to look at problems from different angles, and the Center made me appreciate the tutors that were able to explain the problems so that I could better understand the content.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

I loved attending the various student involvement fairs and even had the opportunity to help run a booth for a student group that I am a part of, Mavericks for Change. It was terrific to meet so many different students, as well as to learn about the many interesting things that are always happening on campus.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

I love the incredible community that UNO fosters; I have been successful only due to the fantastic support of my mentors and peers. With all the connections that the university links you to in Omaha, there is no shortage of finding opportunities to take advantage of that both interest you and help you become a leader and global citizen.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

My dream is to one day become a doctor! I’ll be taking one step closer to realizing this goal by attending Creighton University School of Medicine in the fall to earn my MD.

David (Jake) Wohlers

College of Public Affairs and Community Service

Read Jake’s letter (PDF)

All About Jake

Learn more about Jake Wohlers, graduating from the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service.

Where were you born?

On a farm in Beebeetown, Iowa.

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

Tri-Center High School.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

The Writing Center in the Arts and Sciences Hall (ASH).

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

Memorable event I Attended: UNO men’s soccer’s penalty shootout win vs. Denver in the Summit League Championship to advance to the NCAA tournament. Memorable event I participated in: the Flight Team national competition in Madison, Wisconsin.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

The opportunities to meet new people from all over the country and the world, which I mostly did through playing soccer on campus and participating in the club soccer team.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

I have a job working as a Fleet Optimization Specialist at Jet Linx Aviation here in Omaha. I don’t really have a dream job, but I would like to one day write or implement new policies within the aviation industry.

Tomohiro Ide

Graduate College and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences

Read Tomohiro’s letter (PDF)

All About Tomohiro

Learn more about Tomohiro Ide, graduating from the UNO Graduate College and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

Where were you born?

Nagano, Japan

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

Niigata University, Japan

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

UNO’s International Programs office, the Financial Support and Scholarships, and IPC.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

As an athletic training student, I had opportunities to work with the Omaha Women’s Basketball, Women’s Soccer, Baseball, Softball, and Swimming & Diving teams. I really enjoyed supporting them.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

What I love about UNO is the people who I have met: Friends, professors, coaches, and athletes. They all are so kind and enthusiastic, and I have been influenced by them and have really matured over the past two years because of them.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

I will be seeking a Ph.D. in Biomechanics after graduation. I’m not sure about my ultimate goal yet, but I want to be an athletic trainer who can integrate evidence and provide the best possible healthcare with knowledge and skills of athletic training and biomechanics to patients/athletes.

Josephine Hazelton-Boyle

Graduate College and the College of Public Affairs and Community Service

Read Josephine’s letter (PDF)

All About Josephine

Learn more about Josephine Hazelton-Boyle, graduating from the UNO Graduate College and the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Turlock, California

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

I received my BA in Political Science and Master of Public Administration from California State University, Stanislaus.

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

The library was vital to my success at UNO. I am grateful for the many librarians who shared their expertise with me.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

The UNO Center for Public Affairs Research puts on several awesome events annually and I enjoyed participating in several of them.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

I love how well UNO is integrated within the Omaha community.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to prepare future public servants to be leaders in our democratic society and to continue conducting research on social equity in public administration. I’ll be starting as an Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Montana this summer where I’ll get to do just that!

Makayla Thompson

UNL College of Engineering

Read Makayla’s letter (PDF)

All About Makayla Thompson

Learn more about Makayla Thompson, graduating from the UNL College of Engineering.

Where were you born?

Pella, Iowa

What was your previous school before coming to UNO?

Pella High School

What is one support service/office you used while at UNO?

During my freshman year, I utilized the Math & Science Learning Center (MSLC) in Durham for all my chem and calc questions.

What is one event you attended or participated in that sticks out to you from your time at UNO?

The Durham School Career Fair sticks out to me from my time at UNO. It is something that I have attended all four years, and it’s been a place where I’ve found many unique opportunities for employment. More than that, I’ve also enjoyed my interactions with employers there because of the connections I had already formed with industry through AE and Durham School mentorships and events.

What is one thing that you love about UNO?

UNO has allowed me to find pockets of community, whether that was in the engineering student organizations, college bible studies with Salt Company, or dorm life within the Scott Scholar community.

Now that you are graduating, what is next? What’s your dream job?

I will continue my education and complete my degree for Master of Architectural Engineering through UNL, at UNO, in May 2023. I will intern this summer at HDR in Omaha, and following my graduation next year, I intend to continue my career in designing electrical and lighting systems in buildings at an engineering design firm with plans to become a P.E.

 

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