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Five Students Honored by Clifton Strengths Institute

Students Recognized for Coaching, Engagement Efforts
Five Students Honored by Clifton Strengths Institute
The Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recognized five students for their achievements at the third annual Clifton Strengths Institute Recognition Ceremony. Those students include (from left to right) Tori Pedersen, Jordan Seitz, Erika Casarin, Sidney Therkelsen and Adam Folsom.

The Clifton Strengths Institute (CSI) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln honored its students’ achievements at the third annual Clifton Strengths Institute Recognition Ceremony. What started as a virtual ceremony during the pandemic, the event brought together students alongside friends and family to celebrate in person for the first time this spring.

“Students are the heroes of our story and why we are here tonight. This ceremony is a celebration of students who take great ownership and create meaningful change for themselves and those they serve,” said Timothy Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, at the event.

The annual ceremony bestows three awards among students involved in Clifton Strengths Institute programs. Those awards include the Outstanding Builder Coach Awards, Outstanding Coach Awards and the Mark Pogue Award.

The Outstanding Builder Award honors students in the Clifton Builders program who take on challenges to create change when others may back away. The Clifton Builders Program is a cohort-based program that equips highly entrepreneurial students with tools to build, lead and manage people. The two recipients included Adam Folsom, senior finance and management major from Omaha, Nebraska, and Sidney Therkelsen, senior Clifton Builders management major from Elkhorn, Nebraska.

The duo winning the Outstanding Coach Awards were Tori Pedersen, senior agricultural leadership education major from Omaha, and Jordan Seitz, senior supply chain management from Gregory, Michigan. The award honors student strength coaches who exceed expectations in their work to advance strengths. Student strengths coaches mentor approximately 1,000 new students in the College of Business course Professional Enhancement I: Investing in Strengths (BSAD 111), a required course for all first-year business students.

The ceremony concluded with the Mark Pogue Award, created to honor the legacy of the former CSI director who died in 2018. Presented to a student who exemplifies his passion, resilience and energy, this year’s recipient was Erika Casarin, senior management major from Lincoln, Nebraska. Casarin made her impact in the institute as a coach and senior lead, spreading strengths-based efforts throughout her community.

“Erika is truly a self-starter who will unite others to create positive change within the community and live more fulfilling lives. We thank her for sharing her fierce resiliency and compassion with the Clifton Strengths Institute community,” said Jami Pogue Romshek, who was married to Mark and presented the award alongside their daughter, Paige Petts, ’19.

The ceremony also recognized nearly 40 other students in the institute for their achievements throughout the year, based upon feedback from students, number of coaching sessions and personal milestones. Hodges commended all the students involved in the institute for the positive impact they make within the Nebraska Business community.

“Our students get real work experience while in college. They are self-aware, confident and passionate about making a difference in the world through their careers and with their lives. We couldn’t be more proud to celebrate them tonight. One of my favorite quotes from Don Clifton is that ‘there is no excellence without celebration,’” said Hodges.

To learn more about the Clifton Strengths Institute and its programs, visit:

Published: May 19, 2022