Graduation a Special Time for Alum’s Business
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
May and June are surely Fred Schall’s favorite time of year. While the weather in sunny Tamarac, Florida, Schall’s home town, is probably one reason, it’s graduation season that Schall enjoys the most. Graduation season means business is booming for Schall’s Diploma Plaque Laminators mail-order business.
“Business has grown each year since our business began in 2007,” said Schall, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from Bellevue University that year. “Of course, graduation time is a very busy time of the year for us. We have many repeat clients from all of the United States and Canada. We have medical doctors, attorneys, CPA’s, Masters, Ph.D.’s and all other professions sending us their diplomas and certificates as well new customers each day.”
Schall first became aware of Bellevue University through online research.
“I was attracted to the many courses offered and the ease in which I was able to work with the staff in completing my academic goals,” he said. “The entire experience was the best! The fact that I could take classes online was incredible. Professor Sheryl Okash was outstanding! I always say, ‘I wish my parents could have seen this’.”
Alumnus, Entrepreneur Unleashes OMG Monster
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Brad Nietfeldt wants to be a monster.
That’s evident from the Omaha Media Group’s logo, a company Nietfeldt helped found and where he holds president and CEO titles. The horned creature with one red eye and one blue eye lurks about the organization’s website.
“Our goal for Omaha Media Group is to become the largest mega-agency in the Midwest, if not the United States,” Nietfeldt said. “We’ll do that through our approach of how we treat our clients and how we’re able to integrate with our clients as an extension of their business.”
So a friendly, fluffy monster that works with you and your organization to take over the world.
World domination will come in the form of the design and development of intuitive web, mobile, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly applications that help companies take advantage of the power in social and business collaboration, cloud computing, mobile applications, and next-generation tools.
“I wanted to be creative for other people, to help people accomplish goals for whatever reason, business or personal” Nietfeldt said. “Omaha Media Group is a spinoff of what people traditionally think of as an advertising agency. We’re a creative management firm. That’s a term that I coined to be different than a traditional agency. What we do differently — we work as an extension of our clients business. Our clients actually feel like we’re a part of their own company.”
Nietfeldt’s inspiration is his own, but the confidence to unleash that inspiration comes from experience and education. Nietfeldt earned two degrees from Bellevue University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems in 2007 and followed that up with a Master of Science in Management of Information Systems in 2009.
Nietfeldt had collected an associate’s degree from ITT Technical Institute Omaha, Nebraska, but felt he needed a bachelor’s degree to add some oomph to his career path.
“I wanted a bachelor’s to climb the corporate ladders,” he said. “I didn’t really care about grades in high school. When I got to Bellevue it was completely different. All of a sudden I cared about my grades and I wanted to do a good job.
“Having a degree gives you the self-confidence that you need to be able to follow the path. For me it was all about ‘I’ve earned these degrees, I’ve earned this success, and I’ve paid the dues and my experience is legitimized. I do know what I’m talking about and this is why you should listen to me’.”
Nietfeldt’s motivations changed somewhat when it came to his master’s degree. “My MSCIS was literally for me,” he said. “Nobody in my family had really done it. It was really for me. Just to do it and have that accomplishment.”
Nietfeldt’s business experience comes from the ground floor in the early days of PayPal where in 2002 as a Support Coordinator and held several titles before departing in 2007. That time frame encompassed the PayPal merger with eBay. “When the company started there was a hand full of us there,” Nietfeldt said. “I could tell you who they were, what they did, and what their kids’ names were.”
Nietfeldt is paying that experience and education forward having served as an adjunct professor at his alma mater. “I enjoyed Bellevue so much that I wanted to remain a part of it not just from an alumni perspective, but I wanted to actually teach as well,” he said. “I wanted to give back to the students other people that might have been in the same situation or similar situation to what I was in in their overall life.”
Student Earns Gilman Scholarship
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Cheryl Huckabee-Washington will be packing her bags for Barcelona soon and Bellevue University helped make the trip possible. Huckabee-Washington was awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship this spring. She is the first Bellevue University student to receive the award.
The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
A married, mother of two, and a small e-commerce business owner, Huckabee-Washington is on online student from eastern Pennsylvania. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Logistics Management. The application process for the scholarship was quite an undertaking, she said.
“The application process took more than 12 hours during the course of a few weeks to complete,” she said. “It was approached like a project which was broken down into parts and edited for a cohesive final draft. However, it was thought provoking, succinct and a most collaborative process.”
As a non-traditional student, Huckabee-Washington didn’t fit into the same mold as most of the scholarship applicants.
“I’m pioneering some unchartered waters here. I think this opportunity is very overlooked by non-traditional students like me,” she said.
Huckabee-Washington praised the efforts of Emily Krueger, the University’s Study Abroad Representative, Dr. Ed Haynes, the director of the Supply Chain and Logistics Management program, her Academic Advisor Suzy Christiansen, and Doug Henely, the Assistant Director of Financial Aid, for assisting with the process.
“It took the Bellevue University village to bring the application process together,” she said. “I was kept in the loop as they met with each other while collaborating and formulating this mass into a cohesive final application. I could not have been more supported or hope for a better team.”
The collaborative process was a highlight for Krueger as well.
“As soon as I told Cheryl about the Gilman Scholarship, she was determined to win,” Krueger said. “That final week before she submitted everything, I was with our program that took place in the UK this past spring. Each night in my hotel room I’d have a new edit from Cheryl, and I’d look it over with my suggestions and send it back, until we both felt satisfied that her application essays were the best they could be and that her personality shone through. It was a significant investment of time on her part- but it certainly paid off! I’m so excited for her to head to Spain this fall.”
Huckabee-Washington’s internship will be arranged through BarcelonaSAE and begin on October 5, 2015. BarcelonaSAE is one of several international internship providers that partners with the Study Abroad Office.
“I’m looking forward to great experiences participating in the first of what I hope will be many opportunities to conduct business with the European Union countries,” Huckabee-Washington said.
Huckabee-Washington had already earned an associate’s degree before enrolling at Bellevue University.“I honestly don’t know how I happened to stumble across Bellevue. I looked at other colleges, but they did not meet my requirements in terms of transfer credits, cost, and the specific degree I was looking for, she said. “I guess it could have been divine intervention because I set a specific intention of what I wanted, and here we are.”
Huckabee-Washington said her experience at the University overall has been consistent with her experience pursuing the Gilman scholarship.
“The true diamonds at Bellevue University are the faculty and staff, be it the class experience or the administrative assistance to the students,” she said. “People make the product great and people need to be affirmed for the great jobs they do. I’m sure President Hawkins deserves to be acknowledged for cultivating the wonderful programs and staff that made this possible for me.”
Eaglesham’s Advice: Keep Grinding
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
From the pitch to the podium, Graeme Eaglesham has had a successful stint as a Bellevue University student-athlete. After scoring 28 goals for the University’s men’s soccer team, Eaglesham capped his career by earning his bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance. He was also selected as the student speaker for the 2015 Spring Commencement ceremony.
“I am hoping that my fellow students can take motivation in my story of reaching graduation and to believe that anything can be achieved if we put our minds to it,” Eaglesham said. “It means the world to me. My mother always wanted me to graduate and to finally do so and make her proud is a great feeling.”
Eaglesham hails from Maidens, Scotland and made the leap across the pond after getting an offer from the Bruins.
“I received a phone call from the men’s soccer coach, Matt Briggs, asking if I wished to play for the team, one month later I flew from Scotland to Omaha Nebraska!” he said. “It was a great experience for me getting to travel across the country with the soccer team. They have become like my second family.”
Eaglesham earned Midland Collegiate Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year honors in 2009. He was first team All-MCAC in 2009 and 2011 and second team All-MCAC in 2012.
Juggling school, soccer, and other responsibilities required a certain amount of focus, Eaglesham said.
“I think it really becomes second nature. You have certain goals in your mind and you just need to have tunnel vision. You need to carry out small tasks one at a time until you reach those goals.”
He is already on to his next assignment as Sports Education Manager for the Pacific Soccer Academy Royals in San Jose, California.
“It is just a tremendous honor to be able to address everyone at the commencement. I just want people to know that anything is possible,” Eaglesham said. “I come from a small town in Scotland and over the past two years I have been a grave digger, mail man, unemployed, but now I am moving to California for my dream job. No matter what you are going through, keep grinding.”
OPD Officer Orozco was Bellevue University Alumnus
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Omaha police officer and Bellevue University alum Kerrie (Holtz) Orozco was laid to rest on May 26. Orozco was killed in the line of duty on May 20. Hundreds filled St. John’s Church on the campus of Creighton University for the funeral and thousands lined the streets during the funeral procession.
“Kerrie’s murder was one of the saddest and most frustrating events I have had in 35 years of law enforcement. She was a capable and promising student and police officer,” said Conboy, a former Omaha city prosecutor. “I remember her as being supportive and thoughtful in her comments, and setting a good standard for the class. She was a promising law enforcement professional.”
Orozco was eulogized by Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, who has also served as an adjunct instructor at the University.
“Through all of our pain and emotions, and there has been a ton these last few days, we are truly blessed for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Kerrie’s life and how she truly lived,” Schmaderer said according to local media accounts. “It’s been a pleasure. Minus the tragic circumstances, I’m proud the entire nation got to know Kerrie.”
Orozco is survived by husband Hector Orozco; and children Olivia Ruth, Natalia Rose and Santiago Manuel Orozco among others. Orozco was scheduled to begin maternity leave on May 21 when three-month old Olivia Ruth came home from the hospital for the first time following her premature birth.
“The thing I can’t help thinking about our students, and the law enforcement professionals we encounter, is that they all have so much to offer, and have lives and families that, like Kerrie, make them such wonderful people,” Conboy said. “Her loss is a reminder to appreciate the students and police officers that Bellevue University serves.”
Donations to Orozco’s family can be made via the Omaha Police Foundation.
SMBA Seeks to Hone Strategic Skills
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Strategy – a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.
Bellevue University recently unveiled its Strategic Master of Business Administration (SMBA) program, a collaboration between the College of Business and the Institute for Advanced Professional Programs (iAPP). While the University’s traditional MBA builds foundational skills in areas such as marketing, accounting, and finance, the Strategic MBA emphasizes business and organization value creation.
“The SMBA is most appropriate for students who have a solid business background and want to understand business from a strategic or integrated perspective not just a foundational or functional perspective,” explained Rod Hewlett, vice president of iAPP.
Hewlett said the goal was to create something distinctive for a group of students with a particular set of needs.
“We wanted to create a unique opportunity and offering,” he said. “These students want to know ‘how do I discuss strategy? How do I implement strategy and how do I use strategy from a foundational standpoint to apply it and move an organization strategically?’”
Potential students can contact the Graduate Admissions department to help determine which MBA will best meet their needs.
“Counselors have an in-depth discussion to determine which MBA program is best suited for a student. They ask probing questions about the length and type of the student’s experience in the business world,” said Julie Hamilton, manager of the graduate admissions department. “The SMBA is designed for students who have a solid command of the major functional areas of business and who are ready to advance their careers. Students who are nearer the beginning of their business careers and who perhaps have not already mastered all the major functional areas within business will find the Performance MBA to be the vehicle to help them grow their careers either from the individual contributor level to the manager level, or higher up in the organization in an individual, specialized role.”
The SMBA is offered exclusively online with monthly program starts. The degree uses a synergistic approach, developing a strategic outlook and framework from which to investigate and solve business problems. The SMBA is designed to enhance individual students’ abilities to move beyond the tactical and operational level to the deployment of strategic-based outcomes that will enhance organizational growth and human capital, and development of economic growth at the industry, state and local levels.
“The SMBA program provides additional competencies beyond a traditional MBA by focusing on the dynamic capacities that leaders need in a rapidly changing business climate,” said Dr. Greg Ashley, a professor teaching within the program. “Examples of foci include but are not limited to self-regulation, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. The SMBA moves beyond static-stock views of resource management with the understanding that today’s success factors may not work tomorrow.”
The program kicks off with SMBA 600 Analytical and Creative Problem Solving in Business and runs through SMBA 680 Changing a Business: Entrance, Innovation, and Exit Strategies. Students will then proceed to their chosen area of concentration: Analytics, Creativity, or Organizational Development.
“The Strategic MBA curriculum is providing a fortified and enriching foundation of the strategic elements for the business leader of tomorrow. Trends would indicate that the e-commerce and global supply chain processes will continue to evolve at alarming rates,” said Dr. Billy Powers, an adjunct professor teaching in the program. “This program is equipping our students with the skills and attributes required to maintain and drive keen competitive advantage. The work that our students are producing demonstrates their commitment to meet business trends from a more concentrated and strategic paradigm.”
With the first cohort already over halfway through the program, feedback has been positive and has helped polish the program even further.
“We’ve learned a great deal from them. The first cohort through has been very helpful and we’ve listened to them,” Hewlett said. “We figure out what students need. We go to the marketplace, they give us the insights, and we build it to their needs. We get it right for the student.”
To learn more about the SMBA program visit www.bellevue.edu/degrees/master/strategic-mba/.
Three Mohr Graduates at Winter Commencement
By Bill Wax, Director of Communications
Earning a Bellevue University degree is a family thing for Chris Mohr, a Student Financial Counselor in the University’s Student Financial Services department. Mohr, his wife, Shanna, and his brother, Jacob, all participated in winter commencement exercises in January.
Work has always been important to Mohr, an Iowa native who grew up in South Omaha. He took a part-time job at First National Bank in 2001, while he was still in high school. He ended up taking on another part time job at Oriental Trading Company where he met Shanna. He graduated high school May of 2003 and shortly after took a full-time construction job, continuing to work for the bank part-time on the weekends. Chris and Shanna married, bought a house, and started a family. They are expecting their fourth child in June.
Mohr’s contact with Bellevue University began in 2010 when a friend who worked at Bellevue University told Chris about a job opening in the Financial Aid department. He applied and got the job, retaining his part-time job at the bank. Then in summer 2010, with work experience at the bank and elsewhere, no prior college credit, he decided to pursue a college degree. He started off his college education at Bellevue University and shortly after starting added to his academic load by attending classes at Metropolitan Community College. He was able to take advantage of his education benefits at Bellevue University, completing a B.S. in Business Analysis and Management degree in 2013 and enrolling in the University’s M.S. in Organizational Performance (MSOP) degree program later that year.
“I thought the MSOP program was a great opportunity. It allowed me to learn some key aspects for future organizational goals. This program has really opened opportunities for me to choose from. I recently sat down with my family to discuss the possibility of starting our own business” said Mohr, who continues to work weekends at First National’s technology center in downtown Omaha, where he supervises payment processing for large corporate clients.
“Here at Bellevue University as a Financial Counselor, I get see the impact college has on people’s lives. It’s great seeing students come to Bellevue University to further their education and succeed in meeting their goal. Before working at Bellevue University, I only experienced college success stories by a few friends, but now I see it first-hand on a regular basis. When a prospective student walks in, it’s great being able to assist them on their financial needs and know the information they receive will allow them to make sound decisions that potentially could impact their future.
“Although I know college is not for everyone, the best advice I can give is that if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend getting a college education. College opens opportunities you may not have otherwise. It’s never too late, even if you have a tough situation. Life will always throw obstacles at you but if you put your mind to it, you can overcome those obstacles. My wife and I have been able to manage work, go to school and most importantly raise our children as a family while completing our degrees. You just need to put your goals first and have a support system to help you get where you want to go.”
Shanna Mohr, who completed studies on her B.S. in Management degree in February, recently enrolled in the University’s M.S. in Leadership and Coaching (MLC) degree program.
The Bellevue University Experience: The Padilla Story
By Chelsie Hartness, Senior Copywriter
Angel and Karen Padilla came to Bellevue University, separately, looking for a place to learn and grow. Not only did they find this, but also a place to work, build a home, and most notably, they found each other.
“When I came to Bellevue University,” Karen said, “I was greeted by the friendly staff who made me feel so welcomed and comfortable. It would have been very difficult for me to attend college if it wasn’t for the help and support BU provided me.”
Angel agreed, and explained that he ultimately chose Bellevue University because it was close to where he lived and because of the support the University offers.
“It was the perfect environment for what I needed after coming from a small city,” Angel said.
Soon enough, the two met during their Latin American Culture class and became friends. They both explained that though they didn’t plan on keeping contact after the term was over, they kept bumping into each other outside of school – at church, the grocery store, and at the mall. Angel said, through a smile, that it took a while to make things official, but that she eventually gave in.
“She is a beautiful person inside and out, so I thought it was worth the wait.”
Though both were busy with college activities — Angel, a soccer player for Bellevue University, and Karen, a member of the Multicultural Club and volunteer for numerous campus events – they still found time to make it work. Angel and Karen were married in 2011.
Currently, Angel is a Programmer Analyst at Bellevue University, working with programming languages and developing web applications. Karen began her career with the University as a work-study and eventually became part of the Community Outreach Program.
“In 2012 when I graduated from Bellevue University,” said Karen, “I was hired full-time as the CSR of Scholarships and Grants. Within a year after that, I was promoted to Admission Counselor on the Undergraduate team. I loved being able to help other students get their journey started with BU and be that person supporting them, as someone did [for] me when I started.”
Karen has recently accepted a position with Union Pacific.
“I feel truly lucky to have supportive co-workers and Managers that cheer me on! I will really miss my team and BU.”
We asked the Padillas what they would say to anyone considering enrolling at Bellevue University.
“My advice would be to really think about what career path you want to take,” said Angel, “because if Bellevue University has the programs and education for the path you want, it will most definitely help you reach your career goals in life.”
“I would tell them to not be afraid and ask for help. All the counselors, advisors and professors are very helpful and are there to assist the student,” Karen said. “Those that fail are the ones that just give up and don’t seek the help they need. Bellevue University has tutoring, a writing center, and helpful staff so there is no excuse to not succeed.”
At Bellevue University, we are honored to serve many students, like the Padillas, and look forward to witnessing their life-long successes.
Hollywood Meets Bellevue At Omaha Film School
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
Who knew Hollywood was just across the street?
The Omaha Film School, located just across the street from Bellevue University at 1103 Galvin Road South and run by alumnus Jack Young, will offer a series of seminars in April. The first seminar on pre-production was held on April 4. Production training (Principal photography) training will be held on April 11th. Hands-on training will be held April 18 and post-production on April 25. Additional sessions will be offered throughout the spring and summer. Each session costs $85.
Click here for more information.
“I had earned a two-year degree from Studio Academy, School of Advertising & Design and an associate’s degree from Iowa Western in Electronics Technology, but needed to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program,” Young said. “After talking with all of the local universities and colleges, Bellevue University (known as Bellevue College back then) was the perfect fit for me.”
That Bellevue University education has been paying dividends ever since.
“Not only was I able to apply what I learned, but it gave me the confidence to complete a 25-year engineering career with a local government contractor and be able to comfortably retire,” he said. “The education has also been extremely beneficial in building my film company (Young Films LLC) and running my film productions.”
Young produced his first film (Short) in 1997 and learned the ins and outs of producing a film. In 2001, he co-produced a romantic comedy called Love Win along with a Canadian company. The film, shot entirely in Ontario, Canada, was aired on HDNet and is available to rent on Netflix.
Young lists some of his favorite directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Clint Eastwood. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, China Town, Die Hard (Original), The Thing (both original and remake with Kurt Russell), Alien (first and second), Halloween (Original), Unforgiven are among his favorite films.
A love of writing and a scriptwriting class helped push Young toward film.
“I had been writing short stories as a hobby back in the late 1980’s and had gotten tons of rejections (Writing mostly sci-fi stories for sci-fi magazines), when I took a class on Radio/TV Scriptwriting locally,” he said. “I discovered screenwriting and went full steam from there for several years, cranking out a couple dozen screenplays.”
Now, he’s ready to share his expertise and love for film with others via the Omaha Film School.
“The Omaha Film School grew out of the need that we have here in Nebraska for more film production infrastructure and resources,” Young said. “The largest role that I usually play in film production is as producer, so the training is really presented from the producer’s viewpoint. I’ve learned how to get a film kick-started and into production, even on a low budget. However, as a retired engineer, I’ve invested considerable time developing an indie film production model that was revamped to align with the Hollywood model of film production. I’m hoping the school will educate the new generation of filmmakers in Nebraska with a better film production model that will create higher quality indie films.”
Ph.D. Students’ Beyond Bounce Places Third
Ph.D. students Carrie England, Shannon Nebeker, and Rita Persaud placed third in the Centerstone Research Institute iThrive Resilience Challenge at the Games4Health Summit 2015 March 30 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Carolyn Youssef served as faculty mentor and resilience expert for the team.
Tasked with creating a video game to foster resilience in teens, the Bellevue team developed Beyond Bounce, a fun, basketball-themed game founded on scientific and evidence-based resilience development approaches that teach teens to build their physical, social and psychological assets while managing risk factors, from drugs and alcohol to bullying and unprotected sex. The team worked hard for about a month to create their submission, which was about half the time that the other teams received.