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September 14, 2021

Clifton Builders to Learn to Build Businesses, Teams and Communities

Entrepreneurial-Minded Students Earn Distinctive Management Major or Minor
Clifton Builders to Learn to Build Businesses, Teams and Communities
Thirty-five students started this fall as Clifton Builders at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Learning as a cohort, they earn the distinctive Clifton Builder management major or minor, which equips them to build, lead and manage people. The program aims to help Nebraska, the nation and the world identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs and business developers to develop economic growth and prosperity. Photo taken prior to current Lincoln/Lancaster County mask mandate.

Thirty-five students start their journey this fall as the latest cohort of Clifton Builders at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The program continues to grow in its sixth year as a part of the Clifton Strengths Institute, enabling its students to learn from, study alongside and network with fellow entrepreneurial-minded individuals. Builders declare a Clifton Builders management major or minor, participate in activities in the College of Business, consult with local businesses and more.

Michelle Lucio-Hernandez, sophomore international business major from Omaha, Nebraska, and Jayden Eakin, junior accounting major from Omaha, Nebraska, connect at the Clifton Builders welcome event.
Michelle Lucio-Hernandez, sophomore international business major from Omaha, Nebraska, and Jayden Eakin, junior accounting major from Omaha, Nebraska, connect at the Clifton Builders welcome event.

Designed by Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, the Clifton Builders program aims to help Nebraska, the nation and the world develop economic growth and prosperity by identifying the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs and business developers. The basis for selection results from entrepreneurial traits identified in students’ Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 assessment results, application and interview performance.

“The program was created to find and develop entrepreneurs, startup types, rainmakers and extraordinarily talented salespeople and leaders – people who have a natural gift to create economic energy where none existed before,” said Clifton. “The United States has an oversupply of innovators and an under supply of entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Tim Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, believes the Clifton Builders management major and minor equip students with tools to build, lead and manage people. The program consists of three tracks: business builder, team builder and community builder. Experiential components of each track provide students with elite real-world experiences that will make them a disruptive force in industry.

“The students in our Clifton Builders program have natural talents that help them create a positive impact in their communities, businesses and teams,” said Hodges. “They have been called ‘disruptive’ – a term not always seen as a positive. But we believe there is no changing the future without disrupting the present. Disruption is not a threat, it is an invitation to move on and to redefine normal, especially in trying times such as a pandemic. These students have what it takes to lead us to a better future."

Students are typically selected in their first year and begin courses the fall of the following year. First-year students of all majors who aspire to change the world by building business, teams or communities through leadership and involvement should apply. Applications for the Fall 2022 cohort are due October 16. For more information, visit: https://business.unl.edu/builders.

The 2021 cohort of Clifton Builders includes:

Nebraska

Arcadia: AJ Garrelts, sophomore actuarial science

Bennington: Connor Utech, junior accounting

Elkhorn: Ben Pick, sophomore finance; Tyler Lampkin, junior actuarial science

Friend: Kate Houlden, sophomore accounting

Grand Island: Isaac Alberts, sophomore finance

Hickman: Evan Melcher, junior finance

La Vista: Ethen Lamp, sophomore management; Jack Patzner, junior finance

Lincoln: Nick Coffey, sophomore finance

Omaha: Jayden Eakin, junior accounting; Josh Ferdico, junior management; Isha Kishore, sophomore business administration; Lauren Lael Lewis, junior marketing; Michelle Lucio-Hernandez, sophomore international business; Aaryan Naik, junior economics; Matthew Pleiss, sophomore finance

Springfield: Elizabeth Iverson, junior business administration

York: Bailey Robinson, junior management

Elsewhere

Bartlett, Illinois: Haley Szymczak, junior accounting

Downers Grove, Illinois: Benjamin Cash, sophomore finance

New Baden, Illinois: Andrew Tasker, junior finance and computer science

Overland Park, Kansas: James Eshleman, sophomore business administration; Sam Murphy, sophomore management

Ellicott City, Maryland: Rachel Van Osdel, sophomore finance

Edina, Minnesota: Lucia Golfis, sophomore business administration

Savage, Minnesota: Kelsie Caven, sophomore management

Magnolia, Minnesota: Sara Knips, sophomore management

Prior Lake, Minnesota: Nick Larson, sophomore finance

Greenwood, Missouri: Sophie Brendel, junior psychology and political science

Lees Summit, Missouri: Carmella Bailey, junior advertising and public relations

Grand Forks, North Dakota: Taylor Durbin, sophomore management and marketing

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Brayton Heinz, sophomore finance and management

North Richland Hills, Texas: Payson Loibl, sophomore business administration

Cancún, Mexico: Eduardo Sicilia, sophomore management