Huckabee-Washington Reflects on Gilman Experience
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Cheryl Huckabee-Washington recently reflected on her experience in Barcelona after earning the study abroad opportunity through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program.
The Q&A below is part of the follow project report required by the interns in the Gilman program.
My responsibilities took on new and exciting directions. My duties mimicked a very fruitful collaboration with the CEO of a newly developed App to assist business with Executive Recruitments and Event Planning. I began with conducting a SWOT analysis which served as a roadmap to carefully craft various quality controls techniques which would help put the product in the marketplace a with greater success and minimal risk.
We conducted focus groups of the product’s viability and tweaked the App as needed for a more International functioning appeal and usage.
I found an assistant to train and help with the office Admin duties while the CEO was concentrating on outside marketing opportunities.
Worked on presentation to pitch App to the EU leaders and businesses.
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
I really enjoyed the energies of working within an incubator with such diverse and driven entrepreneurs. So my experiences transcended more than just my particular focus and objectives. There were opportunities to collectively interact with others in a collaborative manner since breaks are most common place in their work culture.
What advice would you have for others pursuing a Gilman scholarship or other study-abroad opportunities? Particularly for a non-traditional student?
The Gilman will provide an epic opportunity to the non-traditional students who maybe are retraining or retooling to keep pace with the current International competitive marketplaces. It can be a real game changer for one’s career directions.
The support from the Gilman Scholarship team is excellent. The fact that Gilman identifies and supports students from the diverse pool of our country’s citizens speaks volumes to the intent of facilitating the growth of our nation’s commitment to international collaboration both culturally and economically.
What was your impression of Barcelona? What did you enjoy most about the city? What was most challenging?
Barcelona is an exquisitely magical and beautiful city. The weather in the fall and winter was just great. Barcelona is on the Mediterranean coast. I lived only 2 blocks from the beach. The architecture just amazing — Antoni Gaudi impressive works are viewable around the city. Barcelona is very vibrate, alive with events, (I saw Madonna in concert), music and nightlife such as a Flamingo Dancer’s show, Tapas bars, oh how authentic. The art and culture there is full bodied, I went to museums and saw works from Picasso and Dali. I took a cooking class to learn how to make seafood paella which included shopping for the ingredients.
Health care was excellent and better structured in cost. Some of our prescription drugs are over the counter and much cheaper there, however, many were manufactured by the U.S. pharmaceutical companies I found that most interesting.
No personal firearms allowed — makes a difference in crimes which have hand guns. Downside is the many pickpockets; they have a certain acceptance which I found unacceptable.
What was your impression of the Barcelona/Spanish culture?
There are many types of people from various cultures around the world who are wonderful, inviting and accepting not just the Spanish or native Catalonians. So much universal acceptance of lifestyle choices, open displays of affection not in an offensive manner. Barcelona has very impressive environmental policies which all citizens gladly participates in so it is very clean. There are the Spanish culture and the Catalan culture which is more unique to Barcelona. The dynamics of the history and co-existing of the two nationalities are very interesting.
What were some of your biggest takeways from the experience? Did you make some business connections? Will you be going back or doing more traveling in general?
My greatest takeaway was how glad I was that I applied for the Gilman Scholarship and was selected. As a non-traditional student it took a tremendous effort to clear my scheduled at home, business, civic, and personal responsibilities to go. I was the only intern which still had course work to complete I was doing my Capstone class also working back at home remotely.
Yes, I did manage to secure some working partnership which I am fostering now that I am back for the future and I am so absolutely thrilled about the possibilities of continued working partnerships.
Yes, I will go back, my home placement also secured a great mutual friendship so I would want to visit her and my many other wonderful people who just open up their hearts, and homes to me. Also I have invited them to come to the U. S. and visit with my family and me.
Glad to be back?
Yes, there is no place like home, however, home can also be where one heart is and the heart can hold many special places for wonderful experiences past, present and future personally and professionally.
Thank you Gilman, Bellevue, and BarcelonaSAE
Stickalicious Pops: Keeping You Cool at the CWS
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Are you planning on taking in some College World Series action this week? With temperatures projected into the 90s, you’d better have a plan on keeping cool as well.
A Basil Lime or Simply Strawberry popsicle from Stickalicious Pops is a step in the right direction. The year-old business, owned by Jenna and David King of Missouri Valley, Iowa, will have a stand at the Omaha Baseball Village, 501 N. 13th Street, during the CWS, June 16-29. The couple splits duties with Jenna handling the sales and kitchen, while David, a 2015 Bellevue University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Logistics Management, handles inventory, purchasing, and event set-up.
Stickalicious Pops aren’t just any old popsicle though. The treats are made with local produce whenever possible including strawberries, apples, melons, and basil (other ingredients such as grapefruit, pineapple, and coconut aren’t grown locally).
“Right now, we don’t have a supply chain, in the sense that two links don’t make a chain,” said David, who also works as a Customer Account Specialist at Airlite Plastics, in their Fox Blocks division. “We work with farms to get local produce whenever possible. We research and negotiate with vendors to get the best prices. As Stickalicious Pops grows, this will develop into a more traditional supply chain, one that is more in line with my course work from Bellevue University.”
That growth is coming fast.
“We had a plan for slow sustainable growth. Now that we have been presented with so many amazing opportunities, we try to keep up,” David said. “We have dipped our toes into the entrepreneurial waters before, and it seemed cold and impossible. I guess when you find a good fit, you know. It also helps that Jenna and I are further along in our career development and better prepared to ride the wave rather than get off the beach.”
The Kings moved from New Jersey to the Midwest eight years ago in search of greener pastures.
“Simply put, jobs. More broadly, the dream of higher education, careers over jobs, home ownership, and business ownership seemed entirely impossible in a state with such a high cost of living,” David said. “Nebraska has been a great place to grow, and live the good life! About a year and a half ago, Jenna and I bought a home in Iowa, and Stickalicious is based there. Iowa has been phenomenal in helping with starting and building a small business.”
David brought an Associate’s degree in Secondary Education from Cumberland County Community College in Vineland, New Jersey with him and Bellevue University’s credit transfer policy made for an easy transition.
“The credit transfer process is the reason I attended Bellevue University,” David said. “There are many things that attracted me to Bellevue. I loved the convenience of online classes, but I wanted a physical university as well. Bellevue offers the best of both. The Kirkpatrick Series is life changing. I, of course, did not know that going into it, but I loved the concept. I knew that the University shared several of my core values. I also was impressed by the real world education concept. Classes teach more than a theory, they teach application. But credit transfer is why this was all possible. I was able to choose Bellevue University over less costly options because I had my AA, so I was halfway to my Bachelor’s degree.”
David cited a Business Finance class with Adjunct Professor Jane McGee as one of the highlights of his academic career.
“It was very fun and informative to deep dive into a company’s financial data and draw conclusions, predictions, and comparisons from what we found,” he said. “A very helpful class in learning how healthy businesses operate.”
Stickalicious Pops landed their prime CWS spot when organizers at the Omaha Baseball Village noticed David and Jenna’s charitable contributions.
“The organizers had an opening for a nondairy dessert and contacted us. They were impressed that we donate tips to Fit Girl Inc., a nonprofit that helps girls aged 9 to 14 learn to build healthy relationships, love themselves, and live a healthy lifestyle,” Jenna said. “The event is partnered with Camp Quality, a camp for children battling cancer and their siblings. We are proud to be participating in supporting them as well.”
So what to try at the stand? David favors Ditmar’s Mulled Apple Cider, a sweet and tangy pop made with Ditmar’s Apple Cider mulled with cinnamon.
“I could eat that year round, but sales on that trend toward the late summer and fall,” David said.
Jenna recommends Mango Madness.
“Mango Madness stands out because it is so fresh. Even as we make batch after batch of them for the CWS, the smell of fresh mango never gets old,” she said. “The other one that stands out is our Cookies and Dream pop. It is made with cookies from The Country Oven, a small partner bakery in Blair, NE that makes fabulous cookies and brownies.”
Sounds like you can’t go wrong. So stay cool and play ball!
Builders of Bellevue University-William V. “Bill” Brooks
By Bill Wax
As we celebrate Bellevue University’s 50th Anniversary, we take time to recognize a number of individuals and organizations that have helped to build the University into Nebraska’s largest private college or university. Bellevue University is celebrating its 50th Anniversary because of historic leaders like our very own Bill Brooks—founder and Builder of Bellevue University.
William V. “Bill” Brooks Saw a Need for College and Inspired the Community to Pursue It
After returning home from a distinguished career as a Marine fighter pilot in the South Pacific during World War II, the late William V. “Bill” Brooks started several successful Bellevue-area businesses, including a gasoline and auto service station.
“A lot of local kids came to my place to find work,” Brooks recalled years later. “My theory was, you have to be pretty darn smart to work in a gasoline station, and if you are going to succeed, you need to go ahead and get your college education.” But with the exception of Omaha University, which offered some night classes, there weren’t many alternatives for local working students seeking to advance their education in the 1960s.
Brooks saw a need, which prompted him to do some research and float the idea of starting a new college in Bellevue and presented the idea at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce’s dinner meeting in June 1965. “I asked for five minutes, and the enthusiasm of the crowd in the Chamber was so great that I suppose I was up there talking 30 minutes,” Brooks said. “The business people said, ‘Boy, this would be a terrific thing for Bellevue! It fills a need that some of our kids could find beneficial.’”
Brooks was one of five founding members of the Board of Directors of Bellevue College, which opened for classes in September 1966. In July 1967, Brooks himself became a member of the College’s first graduating class of 37 seniors. He had completed three years at Peru State College before the war interrupted his education and plans of becoming a teacher. So what better place to complete his education than the college he founded?
The first few start-up years included daunting challenges of various kinds: financial, academic, personnel, developing a campus, getting accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Sometimes, Brooks acknowledged, it was worrisome, but he had no regrets. His wife, Jayne, once asked him, “Why did you ever do that? Why did you ever go down there (Chamber) and suggest we start a college?” He responded by citing the comment of another founder of the College, the late Leonard Lawrence, who said, “Had we been men of good sound judgment, we never would have done it.”
“But I guess we weren’t,” Brooks quipped, “so we did.”
At the time of his passing in 2010, Brooks was one of the last surviving American pilots of the Battle of Midway in June 1942. He is fondly remembered for his quiet strength and unwavering support, involvement and leadership in his community, and as a member of the Board of Directors for most of Bellevue University’s 50-year history. The citation accompanying the honorary Doctor of Laws degree he received from Bellevue College in 1985 begins, “It is a trait of true leaders that, even in the middle of their own daily affairs, they are sources of vision and ideals.”
The founding Board of Directors of Bellevue College
Chadron’s Turman Adds MHA to Busy Schedule
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Already the Chief Information Officer at Chadron Community Hospital in northwest Nebraska, Anna Turman took on the responsibilities of Chief Operating Officer three years ago. That makes for a pretty hectic schedule already, but Turman is also in the midst of pursuing her Master of Healthcare Administration at Bellevue University. Turman was recently interviewed about her experiences in the MHA program so far, and what it takes to juggle work family and school.
What led you to pursue your MHA at Bellevue University?
I am an extremely driven person, and ultimately desire to be the most highly effective leader I can be. I am actively involved in the healthcare industry with many years of experience, but leading with experience alone I feel is a myopic approach. I felt there was tremendous opportunity for growth of my leadership skills through greater knowledge. Bellevue’s MHA Program aligned with my goals, making it the right fit, and here I am today.
What have you enjoyed most about the program thus far?
I have learned there is no perfect set of leadership skills; it is how one utilizes those skills and leadership style that adds value. I have most enjoyed the diversity of professors and students, and appreciate the different approaches and styles in every class. I learn something new from every committed and involved person from students to professors; you get out of it what you put into it. I also appreciate the extensive backgrounds of the professors; they add value when they teach from experience.
How do you juggle work and family responsibilities with school work?
It is tremendously helpful to have wonderful support mechanisms or team, the stronger the support from work, school, and family the easier it is. I just simply make sure I am giving 100% to all three commitments and it comes back three fold. It then becomes less of a juggling act worrying about dropping a ball, and more about a balancing act where team members support some weight. The only things I have let slide a bit, is my morning run (the dog has gained a lot of weight), and how often I make lunches for the kids to take to school. There will always be sacrifices, one just needs to prioritize what is ok to sacrifice, in this case an overweight dog, and more hot lunches seem like appropriate sacrifices.
Has anyone been particularly supportive during the process (family, professor, etc.)?
My family takes the biggest brunt, and has been the biggest supporters. My kids do their homework with me after school, they read to me at night while I am doing homework, they help make breakfast while I am doing homework, and they snuggle on the couch with me while I am doing homework. They have even let me work on homework on the sidelines between wrestling, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and football games. All of this and I have never once heard a complaint that I am too busy for them. My kids and husband are more amazing than I am, they are my own personal cheerleaders, and teammates in my pursuit for a MHA.
From Bellevue perspective I have had great experiences with professors especially Dr. (Mike) Freel who encourage, understand, and support my goals of success, I especially appreciate when they weave themselves throughout the healthcare community, their commitment to presenting or attending organizational forums, conferences, and meetings validates that they are committed to developing and supporting the future leaders of healthcare.
What has it been like to interact in the online classroom with other healthcare professionals from around the country?
It is very different than the previous experience of earning my bachelor’s degree, but different is good. Life is different than it was the last time I went to school. Life is fast paced and busy, and for someone who is balancing family, work, and school like me, they will find advantage in the agility and flexibility of Bellevue’s MHA program. The program is much more interactive than I would have actually expected, and I appreciate the diversity of fellow students from all across the country. I sometimes even forget that another student I am talking to is from a completely different state, or organization. The ability to network and connect with each other removes the factor of distance as a barrier. I feel that In today’s culture of immediate gratification Bellevue’s MHA program is successful at providing responsive and conducive interaction.
What are some of your responsibilities as COO and CIO at Chadron Community Hospital?
My responsibilities are along a very broad spectrum especially in a small rural organization where employees where many hats. The most important responsibility is leading, empowering, engaging, and believing in the most valuable of all assets, the employees. It is a team effort to accomplish any goals operationally. My team is made up of incredibly hardworking people with pioneering attitudes that have helped provide access to high quality care efficiently and effectively for our community.
What led you to take on the role of COO three years ago?
A Chief Information’s officer is a business partner in an organization, who aligns the IT department’s goals and objectives with the organizations strategic goals. Having the vernacular and experience of technology added value to what seemed a natural and logical move to Chief Operations Officer, managing operations in the technologically savvy world today often requires leveraging technology to improve processes and quality, in effort to achieve goals. Based on my leadership experience and technological vernacular, it was the right fit and move for both the organization and myself.
What do you enjoy most about your job? What are some of the biggest challenges?
I enjoy the people, especially taking a group of diverse individuals with different beliefs, opinions, ideas, strengths, and weaknesses and connecting them to meet there fullest potential to ultimately attain success as a team. It is an awesome thing as a leader when there is synergy.
Robino-West is At Ease With Lutheran Family Services
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Sharon Robino-West, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in Leadership through Bellevue University, recently had a written piece, Into the Unknown, read by actress Alfre Woodard during the Writers Guild Initiative in New York City. Robino-West, a military veteran, is the Program Director for At Ease with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska. Robino-West was recently interviewed and spoke about the WGI event, her University experience and her work with Lutheran Family Services and the At Ease program.
Regarding the Writers Guild event in New York City, what was it like to have Alfre Woodard read your work? Were you able to attend the event? What was that experience like?
After recovering from the shock of hearing that my piece was selected and that Alfre Woodard would be reading it, I felt quite humbled and honored. I was able to attend the event, but I got word only about nine days before the fact, so I had to scramble to get there. I decided to Crowdrise to raise the money to go to the event. I did this for two reasons: because it is hard to come up with the money for something like this on short notice but more importantly, to show people that when there’s a will there’s a way. I was able to come up with the needed money for expenses due to some very generous friends and supporters, for which I am eternally grateful. The Crowdrise experience was a really fun part of the entire event, too. The event itself in NYC was amazing! It was very glamorous. I got to meet several of the actors who were reading, but more importantly got to meet several of the other veteran writers that I had not met previously. We had all written in different veteran and caregiver writing workshops, so I enjoyed getting to know a few of them better.
What are some of the key elements of the piece?
The title of the piece was called Into the Unknown. My favorite thing about writing the piece was that I did something unconventional for me in past writing. I began with the end in mind. I wrote the last paragraph, and then worked backward from there. I think it felt that the strength of the writing was in making a statement about not fearing to move into the unknown, and to draw from the things you’d already overcome in your life. It is a piece about resilience. “Go for the long shot, like they say in football, and marathons. Go for the thing you fear the most…”
What role does writing play in your life?
Writing has always been an important part of my life, more so as I work as a caregiver. I have always kept diaries and journals off and on, and entered poetry contests from time to time. I had a nonfiction short story published in a Military Experience and the Arts publication last May. I am also part of a Veteran Writing Workshop called Nebraska Warrior Writers. I find that writing, whether it is about my military experiences or other topics tends to keep me centered and requires the mindfulness that things like yoga or martial arts provide for other veterans and caregivers. Writing and photography. When you are working on developing a character in your writing or setting up a shot with a camera, you can’t do anything but focus on that moment and that task. It helps you forget other struggles or anxieties. It promotes mindfulness for sure.
How has earning your Bellevue University degrees impacted your career?
Earning my degrees at Bellevue has been very important. It’s funny, but I think you don’t really realize how important the impact is until you get further down the road after graduating. When you see career success due to your degree, and skills success based on things you were taught, you realize what a good investment in yourself that a degree really is. I take pride in my decision to earn two degrees at Bellevue.
What did you enjoy the most about your Bellevue University experience?
I enjoyed all of my classes during my Marketing undergrad. I just love anything to do with the topic. Passionate persuasion about veterans is in my blood, and marketing skills serve me well in that passion. I did enjoy the Kirkpatrick Series, although not everyone does. I liked the chance to do the projects and debate different topics. I also enjoyed all of the people and networking relationships that I developed at Bellevue.
How difficult was it to juggle your school work and other responsibilities?
For me it really wasn’t that difficult. You have to be disciplined and work out a system that is realistic for you. I always worked at least one job and went to school as a single mom. That was just my routine until I graduated with both degrees. I didn’t know that I couldn’t do it. My mind was made up and my instructors worked with me as long as I let them know that I needed their assistance.
What is your role at Lutheran Family Services? What do you enjoy most about it?
My role at LFS is the Program Manager for the At Ease Program. We provide therapeutic support for active duty, veterans and their loved ones. I oversee the program, work on grants and grant reporting, talk to the public on a daily basis, supervise an amazing team of peer specialists, clinicians and volunteers and get to be part of innovative programs for veterans, such as the new Veterans Block at the Douglas County Department of Corrections. I get to see miracles happen on a daily basis with our military members and their families and with those who support our military, like some of the translators who are now part of our community along with their families. Seeing everyone working together to heal each other and serving those who have served us most is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of the job for me. It allows me to continue my military service even today.
What are your interests outside of work?
My interests outside of work are traveling with my husband and sons, doing crazy things like sky diving and road trips, photography and of course my writing. You can usually find me anywhere that isn’t too far from water or the outdoors.
WWII Veteran Wentz Awarded Honorary Degree
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Chief Master Sergeant Ken Wentz (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), was presented with an honorary Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree, Saturday, May 21, at the University’s Military-Veterans Services Center.
“In recognition of Mr. Kenneth Wentz considerably achievements to our service, our communities, and our families, we want to present him with an honorary bachelor of science in commerce degree from the University,” said Matt Davis, Chief Operating Officer at the University, who spoke at the ceremony.
The 94-year-old Wentz is a World War II veteran who served in the Pacific. He was a ball-turret gunner in the 392 Heavy Bombardment Squadron, 30th Bomb Group, in the Seventh Air Force. He completed 30 bombing missions and logged 329 combat hours.
At the end of the war, Wentz moved to Ottumwa, Iowa to work at the Ottumwa Electric Company before reenlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1948. He retired from the Air Force in after 20 years at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.
The honorary degree process was set in motion by Wentz’s son, Ken Wentz II, a 1971 graduate of the University and longtime contributor.
“When my son told me I thought it was for him. When I realized it was for me… Unbelievable,” The elder Wentz said.
Student Speaker Patocka Ready to Take on Life
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
While Student Speaker Elle Patocka recently completed her bachelor’s in Communication Arts, she has no intention of slowing down.
Her degree should come in handy when she delivers her commencement address entitled Continue Having the Time of Your Life. She wants to encourage her fellow graduates to continue to enjoy life post-commencement.
Patocka is a graduate of Omaha Bryan High School where she served as a commencement speaker as well. After picking up credits at Metro Community College, she elected to continue her education at Bellevue University.
After visiting campus and speaking with an advisor she knew she had found the right place.
“It fit what I was used to: smaller class sizes, ability to have one-on-one with professors and community feeling. I was also awarded a scholarship that proved to help immensely,” she said.
A diverse learning experience was one of the highlights of Patocka’s time at Bellevue University.
“I had a class where I was sandwiched by a soccer player from England, a baseball player from California, and a Veteran mother from my home state- all ranged in age from right out of high school, to having grown children of their own,” she said. “The experience we all had in common was wanting to receive a quality education at an affordable price — which we all received.”
Patocka praised all of the faculty members she encountered, but saved some special praise for Psychology Professor Dr. Roxanne Sullivan and her American Vision and Values instructor Professor Rick Galusha.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere she created for us students,” Patocka said of Sullivan, while Galusha was “insanely great teaching history, politics and music in the Kirkpatrick Signature Series.”
So how will Patocka continue having the time of her life?
“I would love to work in public relations or radio,” she said. “However, earning a degree also opened the doors for me to apply to Teach for America and the Peace Corps, so those two programs are on my horizon.”
Science Lab Renovations To Expand Opportunities
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
“I would be willing to bet that we’ll be the best equipped small science department in the state.”
–Dr. Scott Pinkerton, Assistant Professor
That’s the goal of planned renovations and upgrades to the science lab area of the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center.
The renovations will increase the functionality of the lab area and enhance safety as well.
Science faculty members Pinkerton, Dr. John Kyndt, and Dr. Tyler Moore developed a plan that outlined how upgrades could impact the educational opportunities by solidifying current degree offerings as well as expanding possibilities for new programs.
“It will give us the capability of moving out into degree areas that we are not capable of moving into right now,” Pinkerton said. “If we have dedicated research areas, that means we might be able to look at research-based graduate degrees. We’ve talked about a master’s in biotechnology. This would give us that capability.”
Amongst the new equipment being considered are:
Spectrophotometers — an instrument that measures the amount of photons (the intensity of light) absorbed after it passes through sample solution.
“I’ve been able to order some sample equipment already,” Pinkerton said. “The students already are being exposed to it and fighting over who gets to use it.”
Compound microscopes – a microscope which uses a lens close to the object being viewed to collect light (called the objective lens) which focuses a real image of the object inside the microscope. That image is then magnified by a second lens or group of lenses (called the eyepiece) that gives the viewer an enlarged inverted virtual image of the object.
“The compound microscopes are going to be really cool. They actually have a built-in tablet on top of them a seven-inch tablet,” Pinkerton said. “Not only do you have the eyepiece, but you will also be able to display the image on the tablet. We’re talking about having Apple TV on monitors. You should be able to take the image from the microscope and throw it up on the monitor.”
DNA sequencer — used to determine the order of the four bases: G (guanine), C (cytosine), A (adenine) and T (thymine). This is then reported as a text string, called a read. Some DNA sequencers can be also considered optical instruments as they analyze light signals originating from fluorochromes attached tonucleotides.
“Some of the other equipment will be spaced out a bit. The University is actively going out and seeking donations,” Pinkerton said.
The new equipment and renovations won’t be locked away behind closed doors either. It will be on display with glass walls running down one side of the labs.
“We have a focus on the science on display,” Kyndt said. “This will allow us to showcase it more. You’ll be able to see what’s happening in the labs.”
Degrees directly impacted by the improvement will include Biology, Health and Human Performance, Health Science, Sustainability Management, and the Master of Science in Professional Sciences. Others programs that would benefit include Psychology. The upgrades should also benefit the teacher-education program.
“This will also support when secondary education comes in because biology is one of the emphasis areas, and chemistry is going to be one of the emphasis areas,” Pinkerton said. “You’ll have people who are coming in and training on this equipment. Knowing what this equipment is, know how to operate, know how to do this research and when they go out into the high schools and talking to kids and trying to get kids interested in science as a career path.
“We will have capability like a small research university, but we’ll have class sizes and experience like small teaching university. That will give us a differentiator.”
Education Powers Velazquez’s Drive
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Jorge Velazquez is on the right track. The product of Omaha Central High School first completed his associate’s degree through Metro Community College before earning his Bachelor of Science in Business through Bellevue University in 2015. Velazquez plans to use the knowledge he picked up throughout his educational career to continue moving up the ladder.
What led you to select Bellevue University to pursue your Business degree? How did you first hear about Bellevue University? Gina Ponce (Director of the University’s South Omaha Outreach Program) was the reason I went to Bellevue University. She worked with me by encouraging me to pursue my education.
What did you enjoy most about your Bellevue University experience? The instructors were very helpful when teaching different ideas related to business. I enjoyed being able to go through classes with the same people. That really helped when doing projects.
Was there a particular professor or class that stood out for you? The Kirkpatrick Signature Series was very challenging. I really liked the different concepts that series offered. It taught me to see different points of view.
Where did you get the most support for your academic endeavors when you were in school? Valeria Henderson (Student Experience Specialist) worked with me. She made herself available anytime I had questions and was very supportive of me as a person. I also want to thank my family, especially my son Brandon, for helping me through this.
I understand you went to Metro before coming to Bellevue University. What was the transfer process like? The transfer process was very easy. All my classes at Metro transferred to Bellevue which allowed me to finish my degree at Bellevue in a short amount of time.
What did you enjoy most about your experience at Metro? Metro really encouraged me to explore various educational paths and career opportunities. The instructors work very hard to provide real world examples and encourage students to actively participate in class discussions. The college classes are very challenging for a community college.
What are your career goals? I want the opportunity to make a difference and contribute to the success of an organization. As I grow my career as a manager, I want to be able to share my knowledge and experience with future work generations in a way that will help them learn and grow with the company.
What would you tell someone that was interested in attending Bellevue University?
I tell people that the experience is worth the time and effort. The programs provide real world situations and the hours work for busy working adults.
Miller Grows at Bellevue, Behlen
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
What do Behlen Manufacturing and Bellevue University have in common? They’re both about facilitating growth — and they’ve both played key roles for Jen Miller.
Miller, who earned both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration of Technical Studies as well as a Master of Business Administration at Bellevue University, has worked at Behlen, a farm and ranch equipment manufacturer located in Columbus, Nebraska, for close to 20 years and is the General Manager for the Behlen Country Business Unit.
“Being a General Manager at Behlen comes with a lot of responsibility like setting monthly goals for the teams as well as evaluating the performance of the business,” Miller said. “Making good decisions helps ensure our 900 Partners in Progress have job security as well as the opportunity for growth. I enjoy working with multiple different teams on projects that benefit our customers across country.”
Miller graduated from Boys Town High School in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995 before heading for Central Community College in Columbus where she earned an Associate’s degree in Business Administration and Management.
“Central Community College is a local college, and one that my employer is partnered with. Due to this partnership and the Behlen Mfg. Co. tuition reimbursement program this was a great fit for me,” Miller said.
Affordability and accessibility were two of the main factors in Miller’s decision to attend Bellevue University.
“Continuing your education is important in this ever-changing business environment. Making the active decision to continue my education at Bellevue University has helped to open up opportunities to learn more about the business I love,” Miller said. “Bellevue offered me a program where I could still maintain working full-time as well as being a parent to my boys. The online atmosphere was inviting, and created an active, engaged learning environment. There was always access to others in the class as well as the Professor.”
A strong support system is important in every aspect of life and pursuing your degree is no different. Miller’s husband, Mike, filled that position admirably, she said.
“Not only did he take the lead with our boys, but he was always there to support me through the late nights and long weekends of homework and projects,” she said.
Miller didn’t stop with her bachelor’s degree, continuing on to earn her MBA as well.
“It was an easy transition from the Bachelor’s program to the MBA program. I was used to the schedule and knew if I maintained I would be able to obtain that much desired MBA,” she said. “My mentors at work had MBAs and so I felt that was the right move for me and my career.
“Bellevue University offers a great learning environment for both traditional and non-traditional students. The campus is easy to manage and the on-line atmosphere is engaging. I would recommend Bellevue because they care for their students and want to see them succeed. The professors prompted engagement which helped to keep my classes as well as my degree path on track. Together with my advisor we set a path at the beginning, and I was able to stay with it, knowing what classes would come next.”