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Plate County on UNL chancellor’s radar

August 2, 2018

University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green told about 25 college-bound students in Columbus on Monday afternoon that it’s never too early to ask themselves what it takes to be a successful college student.

“Our 150th freshman class will enter the university this year,” said Green, during an ice cream social at Columbus High School. “It’s a very exciting time to enter the university.”

The chancellor said this year’s University of Nebraska-Lincoln freshman class will be the “most diverse” in the university’s history.

The class has representatives from 130 countries, he noted.

“We’ve got 254 students at UNL from Platte County,” said Green, speaking to incoming freshmen and summer interns while discussing student recruitment and enrollment gains. “We get a lot of really good talent from Columbus.”

Monday’s social was also attended by Jim Pillen of Columbus, a member of the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents.

The university system, which also includes the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney, has a lot of great opportunities for students, Green said.

A group of four local students, Hannah Allen, Mira Liebig, Allie Parker and Nathan Schumacher, who will enter their senior years at Scotus Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School this fall, on Monday were already contemplating where they would go when it came time to head off for college.

They spent their junior year participating in Leadership Columbus, a program that focuses on the community’s voluntarism opportunities, history, government, local community college and hospital system.

“I learned about leadership in Columbus,” Allen said.

Liebig hasn’t figured out where she’s headed yet, but said she’s leaning toward UNL and majoring in education for the deaf and blind, with psychology as a minor.

“I was born deaf in one ear,” Liebig said. “So it’s something I can relate to in my life.”

Rural Futures Institute summer interns Amber Ross and Clayton Keller, serving with the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, were busy scooping up out ice cream for those attending Green’s visit to CHS.

Ross and Keller have been in RFI’s Serviceship Program, which trains and disperses interns from different universities in the state to work in rural Nebraska.

This year’s team consists of 18 interns from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska at Omaha and Peru State College, said Ross, an undergraduate student majoring in agribusiness at UNL.

“We want to help young professionals with the skills that will help them return to their communities,” she said.

Keller is working on his master’s degree in public administration.

“This is our last week,” she said, noting she and Keller had been in Columbus since May.

Lisa Kaslon, who worked in the Platte County Extension Office for 16 years, is devoted to bringing the university system’s teaching and research expertise to the state’s regional extension offices.

Kaslon is now based near a university research facility north of Concord, and is the district 4-H coordinator and assistant director of the Northeast Sector of the regional extension system.

The Northeast Sector of the university extension system and Platte County are a partnership, Kaslon said. The county funds two 4-H assistants and staff for two offices.

The local office provides educational programs on crops, 4-H Youth development, horticulture and in other areas.

“We want to bring the university education and knowledge back to the the communities,” Kaslon said.

Jim Osborn is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at jim.osborn@lee.net.

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