I grew up in Omaha and moved to Upstate New York with my husband in my early twenties, as he was stated at Fort Drum, NY. We were in New York for about five years, during that time I completed my master’s degree online from UNL and began working in Military youth programs. My husband chose not to re-enlist in the Army so it was my turn to move our family across the county for a new opportunity. I worked for the Army Reserve’s Family Programs unit in Salt Lake City, where I had the opportunity to work with Military children and families in 26 states to offer them resources before, during, and after their Soldier’s deployment. It was rewarding work, but my husband and I wanted to be closer to home. I soon accepted a position working for Nebraska Extension in Southeast Nebraska as a 4-H Educator. We quickly adjusted to small town living and came to enjoy the sense of community, similar to that of being in the Military.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I worked as a 4-H Extension Educator for 6.5 years and have transitioned into my current role as Extension Engagement Zone Coordinator in January. What excites me out my new position is I get to cultivate talent within Extension Educators, Assistants, and office along with connecting with local and state stakeholders and fostering deeper connections with the University through community engagement.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
Initially what drew me to the University is I wanted to be closer to extended family, but what has kept me at the University is the family I have discovered among my co-workers, volunteers, and community. I enjoy working with my colleagues to serve all of Nebraska while we challenge ourselves to explore new delivery modes or dive into new content.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the freedom we have to take risks as we work to solve complex issues along with the opportunities to collaborate.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The relationships I have developed with colleagues, youth, adults, and communities because out of the relationships is where deep connections are created, and innovation occurs. I love to connect two or more people or groups together who have a shared interest and see them grow into something larger than the sum of their parts. I don’t have to be a part of the final product or project, but I enjoy being able to start that spark in the beginning.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Growing up our family motto was based off of the Czech proverb, “bez práce nejsou koláče,” or “without work, there are no kolaches.” Basically, it means good things come to those who work hard.
What is your life like outside of work?
My husband and I operate a growing meat goat herd of breeding does which we graze on pastures in the summer. Over the past few years we have learned so much about raising quality livestock and they have brought us plenty of laughs along the way. If the goats do not keep us busy enough, we also manage the Big Blue Ranch & Lodge, an eco-tourism, fishing, and hunting property in Southeast Nebraska. We enjoy hosting guests from a few miles away to thousands of miles away while showcasing some of Nebraska’s beauty.