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Clifton Strengths Institute Welcomes 50 New Coaches

Students Selected to Mentor First-Year Business Undergraduates
Clifton Strengths Institute Welcomes 50 New Coaches
The Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln welcomed 50 new student strengths coaches. The coaches serve as a mentor to new College of Business students in Professional Enhancement I: Investing in Strengths (BSAD 111).

Leading the way in student empowerment, the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently welcomed 50 new undergraduate student strengths coaches for the 2021-22 academic year. The students will join returning coaches to mentor nearly 1,000 students in the College of Business enrolled in Professional Enhancement I: Investing in Strengths (BSAD 111).

In the BSAD 111 course, each student strengths coach leads a team of 10 students in weekly meetings, facilitates one-on-one strengths coaching sessions for each team member and helps coordinate discussions during class. Required for all first-year business students, the course demonstrates how to take one’s top strengths from the CliftonStrengths® assessment and develop and apply them to achieve academic, personal and professional success.

Each coach leads 10 students through one-on-one coaching sessions to best leverage their top strengths from the CliftonStrengths assessment.
Each coach leads 10 students through one-on-one coaching sessions to best leverage their top strengths from the CliftonStrengths assessment.

“Students receive frequent feedback during their first few weeks on campus that informs their identity,” said Dr. Timothy Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management. “Our focus in BSAD 111 is to ensure that our new College of Business students receive positive feedback, with an intense focus on helping the students build their character and reach their potential. The CliftonStrengths assessment and our time in class gives students a good foundation, but the most impactful development often happens when they meet one-on-one with our amazing student coaches.”

Strengths coaches accepted into the program enrolled in Strengths Coaching, Theory and Practice (MNGT 451) this spring. The class functions as a training course for new student strengths coaches, providing an in-depth knowledge of strengths-based development and enhancing the skills necessary to succeed in positively impacting student development.

“In every class, we create an environment that mimics that of a coaching session: a space that is welcoming, accepting and celebrates the unique potential of people, encouraging them to leverage and grow in their CliftonStrengths to create a meaningful impact on the lives of others,” said Samantha Kennelly, associate director of the Clifton Strengths Institute. “Students put into practice the knowledge and skills they are learning to develop confidence and preparedness as a coach to best support incoming students as they transition to campus and the College of Business.”

The cohort of coaches represent 20 majors and a wide variety of backgrounds on campus. This broad set of experiences culminate into an improved environment to grow and develop.

“Coaches coming from across campus provide a richness and depth to the class experience, which then encourages all students to appreciate and embrace different strengths, experiences and backgrounds,” said Kennelly. “Each coach has their own coaching philosophy and style and having the opportunity to grow with and learn from students from all over, enhances their ability and effectiveness as a coach.”

Student strengths coaches play a key role within the college, striving to bring out the best in people and maximize their talents at the university where strengths-based psychology originated through the work of Dr. Don Clifton. Clifton, who developed the CliftonStrengths assessment, asked the question, “What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?”

“Great coaches ask great questions. Our student strengths coaches serve our mission by investing in the growth and development of students throughout the College of Business,” said Hodges. To learn more about strengths coaches and the Clifton Strengths Institute, visit:

The new strengths coaches for the 2021-22 school year, with their year in school in the spring 2021 semester and academic major(s), are:


Ainsworth: Sam Wilkins, sophomore agricultural engineering and agricultural economics major

Beatrice: Holly Fischer, freshman political science major

Bellevue: Hannah Kost, freshman actuarial science and finance major

Clay Center: Dylan Schweer, sophomore business administration major

Clearwater: Alyssa Moser, freshman agribusiness major

Grand Island: Jarod Fox, sophomore management major

Humboldt: Grace Kanel, sophomore accounting major

Kearney: Ashton Mehlin, sophomore communication sciences and disorders major

Lincoln: Emma Gonzales, sophomore marketing major; Chloe Heller, freshman management and marketing major; Trevor LeGrande, sophomore Clifton Builders management major; Grace Miller, freshman business administration major; Julia Wordekemper, freshman pre-health on dental hygiene track major

North Platte: Maggie Lashley, freshman marketing major

Omaha: Dylan Anderson, freshman management major; Sarah Carron, freshman secondary education major; Brannon Evans, sophomore theatre performance major; Tristen Glynn, freshman management major; Bailey Hanus, sophomore supply chain management and Clifton Builders management major; Anna Harris, junior business administration major; Jayden John, sophomore psychology major; Isha Kishore, freshman business administration major; Summer Liu, freshman actuarial science major; Claire Lyons, freshman business administration major; Brandon McMiller, sophomore vocal performance major; Morgan Mumford, freshman business administration major; Aaryan Naik, freshman finance major; Naren Narasimhan, freshman marketing and sports media & communications major; Will Nixon, freshman finance and pre-chiropractic track major; Grace Olsen, freshman business administration major; Niheala Ponnatha, freshman finance and journalism major; Jailene Tavizon Alvidrez, sophomore management major

Papillion: Brendan Roberts, freshman business administration major

Waverly: Lauren Hartman, freshman management major


Oak Hills, California: Erin Dodds, freshman marketing major

Carpentersville, Illinois: Gina Vitacco, sophomore marketing major

Lemont, Illinois: Ella Pelen, freshman marketing and management major

Palos Park, Illinois: Henry Evans, freshman finance major

Plainfield, Illinois: Brandon Smentek, freshman accounting major

Sioux City, Iowa: Lincoln Rahn, freshman finance and accounting major

Kansas City, Kansas: Abbie Grimm, sophomore accounting major

Lenexa, Kansas: Madelyn Patterson, sophomore management major

Overland Park, Kansas: Colby Marsden, freshman actuarial science major

Burnsville, Minnesota: Dani Wilcox, freshman marketing major

Northfield, Minnesota: Faithe Quick, freshman marketing major

Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: Sarah Iverson, sophomore hospitality, restaurant & tourism management major

Kansas City, Missouri: Julia Flores, freshman business administration major

Springfield, Missouri: Grace Laflen, sophomore accounting and global studies major

Lake Oswego, Oregon: Sarah Leach, freshman marketing major

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Emily Kuhl, freshman management and finance major

Published: March 4, 2021