Celebrating Our Newest Alumni | News – Omaha, Nebraska


Omaha, Nebraska 2021-12-18 02:12:40 –

The chilly December air did not prevent the upcoming new class of Maverick graduates from celebrating their achievements at Baxter Arena.

Over 700 students entered with caps and gowns decorated with hope, joy, congratulatory messages, honor codes, stoles and other accessories.

It’s finally time: UNO started

Over the years, and possibly decades, these upcoming Maverick graduates will get a high five from Durango, learn more about the UNO Alumni Association, and take selfies with their classmates from above. Friends and family will shake, applaud and cheer for the 2021 Maverick class.

Waiting for each of this year’s graduates, flooded with Maverick’s crimson and black, is the stage they are walking on-no longer a dream, but a reality.

What makes each Maverick graduation class special is their story.

Students who have a third UNO degree, students who have the first degree in their family, students who have a degree together in their family, and students who have overcome great difficulties and have obtained a degree. ..

These are 2021 or UNO class stories. These are the stories of Mavericks.

Letter to my freshman self

Each member of the 2021 class is a true heretic in a unique way. From metropolitan areas to locations around the world, from certificate programs to final degrees, or from first generation to multiple generations, our students have paved the way for their educational goals. Still, there is one thing they all have in common. It was all Mavericks, once Mavericks, and always Mavericks.

Hear from our December 2021 Beginning Student Marshal as they read a letter written to their young self about what graduation means to them:

All about the family

The two mavericks who walked across the stage at the December 2021 graduation ceremony from the College of Liberal Arts were a mother and daughter who, through COVID, discovered that they were both close to the finish line.

After starting his college career in Florida and dealing with his illness, Caitlin Jensen became healthy and decided to return to Omaha to earn a degree near his home.

Meanwhile, her mother, Terry, faced changes in life and employment due to a pandemic. Under these circumstances, she decided to investigate how she could finish her degree, which she began working in the 1980s.

“We talked and found that we had enough credits to finish in the third semester, which turned out to be her remaining time,” Terry said.

With the goal of graduating together, they were no longer family members but classmates. Both Caitlin and Terry students in the English Department had classes together, worked on projects together, and were accountable to each other.

Caitlin believes that the impact of mothers on college education dates back to before they became classmates. For Terry, communication, writing and storytelling have always appealed to her. Like a mother, like a daughter, Caitlin followed, adding English to her second major in political science, where she planned to earn for the future at law school.

Caitlin said the experience allowed her to see her mother from a new perspective.

“I’m used to seeing her as my mom, not as a fellow student talking about homework.”

Both Caitlin and Terry walked across the stage to claim a degree — the moment they said might not have been possible without additional family support. Terry’s husband, Caitlin’s dad, supported them both in their studies, especially through midnight, household maintenance, and study break dinners.

Terry realized how much work was needed to support both, in addition to full-time work.

“It’s one of supporting your child through college, it’s supporting your spouse and your child at the same time!”

Better than never late

For Ellen Sexton, one of UNO’s most recent master’s programs, December 2021 was the culmination of decades of pain, loss, courage, and ultimately victory.

When these two UNO graduates first arrived on campus in 1978, she was already living a difficult life by anyone’s definition.

When she left home at the age of 15, dropped out of school, and became pregnant at an early age, it was her embrace to focus on education as a way to a better life.

After passing the GED, she enrolled in UNO with the help of a student loan, but it wasn’t long before life threw the first obstacle on her path to her goals.

“I had a stroke, so I was paralyzed and blind and had to drop out of school,” says Sexton. “Everything is now the default.”

After she recovered, she tried to get a degree again, despite the difficult battle she is facing now.

“I tried to go back to school and it was really hard because it was the default, but [UNO] He helped me get out of the default and came back. ”

Then another, more destructive event occurred.

“I had just finished the semester when my youngest daughter was killed. When she was killed, I gave up my life. I was already in poverty, still had another young daughter, and a single. Being a mother, I just wandered around my life. ”

For thirty years, Sexton struggled to survive and was put in jail several times. It was this experience that provided her with a new purpose in life. Get educated to help people, like her, whose paths have been shaped by their uncontrollable powers and to regain that control.

“When I was in trouble, when you got out of imprisonment, you couldn’t get a job because you were a felony and it was almost impossible to get a job that could support you with a living wage. It was, “says Sexton. “I wanted to make something positive from my negatives.”

Flashforwarding towards 2011, Sexton was not only able to re-register with UNO, but is now not only his third time, but actually earned a criminal justice degree. It was here that her mentor, Bill Wakefield, a professor of criminology and criminal justice who took classes in 1978, urged her to continue to earn a graduate degree. ..

Then there was another life-changing setback.

When Sexton was at the end of her degree program, she formed a blood clot in her chest and required considerable treatment.

“They said I wouldn’t succeed overnight,” says Sexton. “But I’m here today!”

Now, six years after having to leave the master’s program, and more than 40 years after first stepping into the UNO campus, Sexton has a master’s degree. Now, at the age of 61, she has a new future in front of her. This is due to the credit of UNO and the faculty who never gave up on her.

She not only expands her work with endangered youth and their families and reconstructs the close support provided by neighboring areas, but also who has food, education, employment and other basic needs. I would like to start a business that will be available to you. – Regardless of their history, their living conditions, or their background.

“What they see makes a lot of sense to me-don’t stop. No matter how old you are. Don’t stop. Keep pushing until you get to where you want to be in your life.”


Social media helps us all stay connected, and graduates, their families, and the wider Maverick family can use the hashtag #UNOmahaGrad to share important days across the @unomaha channel. rice field.

Celebrating Our Newest Alumni | News Source link Celebrating Our Newest Alumni | News

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