Apr

23

Wayne State Celebrates First Cohort of Career Scholars Graduates

Dr. Paul Turman, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System, speaks at the Career Scholars Senior Dinner on April 19 at Midtown Event Center in Norfolk.

Wayne State College celebrated the graduating seniors in its inaugural Growing Together Career Scholars cohort on April 19 at the Midtown Event Center in Norfolk. The event marked the culmination of a four-year journey through the College’s unique cooperative education program.
The evening’s festivities included 28 seniors and their families along with remarks from Executive Director of Cooperative Education Michael Keibler, Wayne State President Marysz Rames, and a keynote address from Nebraska State College System Chancellor Paul Turman.

“The Growing Together Career Scholars senior graduation dinner is a testament to the workforce partnerships between employers, students, community and Wayne State College,” said Dr. Michael Keibler, executive director of cooperative education at WSC.

“We are grateful for the support of the inaugural cohort of students by the Aksarben Foundation and the impact their generosity has had on the program. Looking back on the last four years, it has been an honor being a part of the students' journey, watching them grow professionally and personally, and seeing the profound impact they've had as they leave footprints for hundreds of other students to follow,” Keibler continued. “Words cannot express how proud I am of the students, and I am excited to see what the future holds for them.”

The Career Scholars program was created in 2020 to address workforce needs. The scholarship program, worth $33,000 to each student, offers an accelerated, hands-on learning experience for students in business, computer science, computer information systems, criminal justice, electronic media, journalism, or industrial technology. Students in the program spend their first three years at WSC, then complete their senior year living and working full time with a partner employer in Norfolk or Grand Island.

“The first graduating class of Growing Together has surpassed our highest expectations,” said Dr. Paul Turman, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System. “An impressive 96 percent of graduates have chosen to continue their careers or further their education right here in Nebraska, with more than half committing to Northeast Nebraska. This success is a testament to the collaborative spirit and innovative drive fostered by the partnership between Wayne State, local Northeast Nebraska stakeholders, and the pivotal support from Senator Pete Ricketts during his governorship, Congressman Mike Flood, the Nebraska Legislature, and Aksarben. Together, we are crafting a thriving future for the region and Nebraska.”

“Aksarben is honored to have funded the first cohort of Growing Together scholars from the Wayne State Career Scholars program,” said Sandra Reding, President of the Aksarben Foundation. “It’s been a privilege getting to know these incredible students and watching them flourish. This was the vision when Aksarben launched the Growing Together initiative in 2018! With unwavering adaptability, Dr. Marysz Rames and the Wayne State College faculty understood and embraced the goal with an understanding of how impactful this program could and would be for the region. We at Aksarben could not be prouder of these students and what they’ve accomplished. We send them our congratulations on their graduation and wish them continued success in the future.”

“The individuals who have been on this journey with Wayne State have been bold, relentless, and passionate about increasing the number of individuals with bachelor’s degrees in the high-need, high-skill, and high-wage disciplines,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, President of Wayne State College.

“So, the individuals and groups that have been part of this journey need to be acknowledged,” Rames continued. “Thank you to Sandra Reding and the Aksarben Foundation for developing statewide planning groups that challenged us to think outside the box to support economic development. A large debt is owed to U.S. Rep. Mike Flood. Wayne State’s cooperative education program is only one piece of the many efforts underway to grow our part of the state. Congressman Flood’s commitment to cooperative education is the reason we received support from so many stakeholders, including the Nebraska legislature, for the scholarships. My sincere appreciation also goes to Chancellor Paul Turman for his support, guidance, and continued advocacy. I want to thank Dr. Michael Keibler, who leads and mentors these students every day. You took a program that was sketched out on a napkin and made it a reality thanks to your creativity and passion for experiential learning. And finally, I want to thank our faculty and staff, who worked diligently to ensure our students had a positive experience.”

Wayne State extends its sincerest gratitude to the Norfolk co-op partner employers for their unwavering commitment and invaluable support in fostering meaningful learning experiences for our Career Scholars. The dedication and mentorship employers showed to our inaugural cohort empowers the next generation of professionals and contributes significantly to their growth and development. Their ongoing collaboration, support, and dedication to the Growing Together Career Scholars program ensure its continued success.

Employers of this year’s class included: Applied Connective Technologies; BankFirst; Central Valley Ag; City of Norfolk; Daco/DEG Enterprises; Daycos; Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust; Faith Regional Health Services; Farmers Pride; Flood Communications; McMill CPAs & Advisors; Mead Lumber; Midwest Bank; Nebraska Public Power District; Northeast Community College; Norfolk Iron and Metal; Retirement Plan Consultants; Sunderman Investments; Telcoin; WJAG/KEXL/KQKX; and Wayne State College.

Seniors honored at the event included:

  • Caroline Akinnigbagbe of Plainview, Neb.
  • Abigail Gardner of Chadron, Neb.
  • Conor Ramold of Neligh, Neb.
  • Alexander Lyons of Dwight, Neb.
  • Delaney Meyer of Lincoln, Neb.
  • Amber Voboril of David City, Neb.
  • Divon Tinsley of Wayne, Neb.
  • Aubree Howell of Omaha, Neb.
  • Gregory Downing of Chadron, Neb.
  • Brittany Tramp of Crofton, Neb.
  • Hailey Samson of York, Neb.
  • Brogan Jones of Allen, Neb.
  • Jaegher Ogden of Atkinson, Neb.
  • Callasandra Hurley of York, Neb.
  • Jarvis Smith of Harvard, Neb.
  • Carissa Wacker of Osmond, Neb.
  • Shane Stahn of Central City, Neb.
  • Maddee Schmidt of Gordon, Neb.
  • Summer Schroeder of Clearwater, Neb.
  • Madyson Cech of Schuyler, Neb.
  • Thomas Marxsen of Schuyler, Neb.
  • Micah Vodolazskyy of Lincoln, Neb.
  • Ty Erwin of Laurel, Neb.
  • Noah Burwell of David City, Neb.
  • Vincent Harlow of Central City, Neb.
  • Raymond Mauldin of Norfolk, Neb.
  • Zoey Kreikemeier of West Point, Neb.
  • Seth Dey of Syracuse, Neb.

Scholars Graduates

Published Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

Career Scholars Senior Dinner 2024
Dr. Paul Turman, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System, speaks at the Career Scholars Senior Dinner on April 19 at Midtown Event Center in Norfolk.

A dinner April 19 in Norfolk was held in honor of 28 graduating seniors in Wayne State's first Career Scholars cohort.

Wayne State College celebrated the graduating seniors in its inaugural Growing Together Career Scholars cohort on April 19 at the Midtown Event Center in Norfolk. The event marked the culmination of a four-year journey through the College’s unique cooperative education program.
The evening’s festivities included 28 seniors and their families along with remarks from Executive Director of Cooperative Education Michael Keibler, Wayne State President Marysz Rames, and a keynote address from Nebraska State College System Chancellor Paul Turman.

“The Growing Together Career Scholars senior graduation dinner is a testament to the workforce partnerships between employers, students, community and Wayne State College,” said Dr. Michael Keibler, executive director of cooperative education at WSC.

“We are grateful for the support of the inaugural cohort of students by the Aksarben Foundation and the impact their generosity has had on the program. Looking back on the last four years, it has been an honor being a part of the students' journey, watching them grow professionally and personally, and seeing the profound impact they've had as they leave footprints for hundreds of other students to follow,” Keibler continued. “Words cannot express how proud I am of the students, and I am excited to see what the future holds for them.”

The Career Scholars program was created in 2020 to address workforce needs. The scholarship program, worth $33,000 to each student, offers an accelerated, hands-on learning experience for students in business, computer science, computer information systems, criminal justice, electronic media, journalism, or industrial technology. Students in the program spend their first three years at WSC, then complete their senior year living and working full time with a partner employer in Norfolk or Grand Island.

“The first graduating class of Growing Together has surpassed our highest expectations,” said Dr. Paul Turman, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System. “An impressive 96 percent of graduates have chosen to continue their careers or further their education right here in Nebraska, with more than half committing to Northeast Nebraska. This success is a testament to the collaborative spirit and innovative drive fostered by the partnership between Wayne State, local Northeast Nebraska stakeholders, and the pivotal support from Senator Pete Ricketts during his governorship, Congressman Mike Flood, the Nebraska Legislature, and Aksarben. Together, we are crafting a thriving future for the region and Nebraska.”

“Aksarben is honored to have funded the first cohort of Growing Together scholars from the Wayne State Career Scholars program,” said Sandra Reding, President of the Aksarben Foundation. “It’s been a privilege getting to know these incredible students and watching them flourish. This was the vision when Aksarben launched the Growing Together initiative in 2018! With unwavering adaptability, Dr. Marysz Rames and the Wayne State College faculty understood and embraced the goal with an understanding of how impactful this program could and would be for the region. We at Aksarben could not be prouder of these students and what they’ve accomplished. We send them our congratulations on their graduation and wish them continued success in the future.”

“The individuals who have been on this journey with Wayne State have been bold, relentless, and passionate about increasing the number of individuals with bachelor’s degrees in the high-need, high-skill, and high-wage disciplines,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, President of Wayne State College.

“So, the individuals and groups that have been part of this journey need to be acknowledged,” Rames continued. “Thank you to Sandra Reding and the Aksarben Foundation for developing statewide planning groups that challenged us to think outside the box to support economic development. A large debt is owed to U.S. Rep. Mike Flood. Wayne State’s cooperative education program is only one piece of the many efforts underway to grow our part of the state. Congressman Flood’s commitment to cooperative education is the reason we received support from so many stakeholders, including the Nebraska legislature, for the scholarships. My sincere appreciation also goes to Chancellor Paul Turman for his support, guidance, and continued advocacy. I want to thank Dr. Michael Keibler, who leads and mentors these students every day. You took a program that was sketched out on a napkin and made it a reality thanks to your creativity and passion for experiential learning. And finally, I want to thank our faculty and staff, who worked diligently to ensure our students had a positive experience.”

Wayne State extends its sincerest gratitude to the Norfolk co-op partner employers for their unwavering commitment and invaluable support in fostering meaningful learning experiences for our Career Scholars. The dedication and mentorship employers showed to our inaugural cohort empowers the next generation of professionals and contributes significantly to their growth and development. Their ongoing collaboration, support, and dedication to the Growing Together Career Scholars program ensure its continued success.

Employers of this year’s class included: Applied Connective Technologies; BankFirst; Central Valley Ag; City of Norfolk; Daco/DEG Enterprises; Daycos; Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust; Faith Regional Health Services; Farmers Pride; Flood Communications; McMill CPAs & Advisors; Mead Lumber; Midwest Bank; Nebraska Public Power District; Northeast Community College; Norfolk Iron and Metal; Retirement Plan Consultants; Sunderman Investments; Telcoin; WJAG/KEXL/KQKX; and Wayne State College.

Seniors honored at the event included:

  • Caroline Akinnigbagbe of Plainview, Neb.
  • Abigail Gardner of Chadron, Neb.
  • Conor Ramold of Neligh, Neb.
  • Alexander Lyons of Dwight, Neb.
  • Delaney Meyer of Lincoln, Neb.
  • Amber Voboril of David City, Neb.
  • Divon Tinsley of Wayne, Neb.
  • Aubree Howell of Omaha, Neb.
  • Gregory Downing of Chadron, Neb.
  • Brittany Tramp of Crofton, Neb.
  • Hailey Samson of York, Neb.
  • Brogan Jones of Allen, Neb.
  • Jaegher Ogden of Atkinson, Neb.
  • Callasandra Hurley of York, Neb.
  • Jarvis Smith of Harvard, Neb.
  • Carissa Wacker of Osmond, Neb.
  • Shane Stahn of Central City, Neb.
  • Maddee Schmidt of Gordon, Neb.
  • Summer Schroeder of Clearwater, Neb.
  • Madyson Cech of Schuyler, Neb.
  • Thomas Marxsen of Schuyler, Neb.
  • Micah Vodolazskyy of Lincoln, Neb.
  • Ty Erwin of Laurel, Neb.
  • Noah Burwell of David City, Neb.
  • Vincent Harlow of Central City, Neb.
  • Raymond Mauldin of Norfolk, Neb.
  • Zoey Kreikemeier of West Point, Neb.
  • Seth Dey of Syracuse, Neb.

Several of the seniors were recognized with awards highlighting their work in the program. Recognition of the seniors included the Growing Together Powered by Aksarben Award, which recognizes a student who emulates the program’s initiative to live and thrive in Northeast Nebraska; the John Dewey Award, which recognizes a student who served as a role model for peers and others to embrace experiential learning as a pathway to success in their careers; the Peer Award, which recognizes a student nominated by their peers for leadership, support, and impact on the program; and the Legacy Award, which honors a student who has left a lasting legacy on the program. Graduating seniors were also presented with the President’s Challenge Coin, which marks completion of four years in the program and recognizes the graduates’ individual tenacity and achievements.

Partnership awards included the GRIT Award, which was presented to Angie Stenger, executive director of Growing Together. The award recognizes a leader who is Genuine, Resilient, displays Integrity, and exhibits Tenacity. Employer partners also were recognized with Partnership Challenge Coins.

The senior dinner was sponsored by News Channel Nebraska, Applied Connective Technologies, Midwest Bank, WJAG, Retirement Plan Consultants, and Daco/DEG Enterprises.

For information: Dr. Michael Keibler, executive director of cooperative education, at mikeibl1@wsc.edu or call 402-375-7198 or visit www.wsc.edu/career-scholars.