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Six High School Graduates Awarded $5,000 Future of Nebraska Scholarships

Scholarship Recipients From Across Nebraska to Attend University in Fall
Six High School Graduates Awarded $5,000 Future of Nebraska Scholarships
Six high school graduates from across Nebraska received the first Future of Nebraska Scholarships. Totaling $30,000 in funding, the scholarships were funded by UnitedHealthcare, News Channel Nebraska and University of Nebraska supporters Beth and John Godbout of Paradise Valley, Arizona, as well as an anonymous donor.

Six recent high school graduates — Zakary Abler, Taina Davis, Megan Hempel, Phillip Kreutz, McKinley Morgan and Mason Tyerman — were each awarded $5,000 Future of Nebraska Scholarships for their first year at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The new scholarship program recognizes Nebraska students for demonstrating leadership potential and encourages them to make an impact in their state.

“Congratulations to Mason, McKinley, Megan, Phillip, Taina and Zak on being named the first recipients of the Future of Nebraska Scholarship. Through their hard work and dedication in high school, they now have this exciting opportunity to create their future at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. I look forward to welcoming them to the College of Business this fall as they start stretching their strengths and connecting with our greater Nebraska Business community,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance.

UnitedHealthcare, News Channel Nebraska and University of Nebraska supporters Beth and John Godbout of Paradise Valley, Arizona, as well as an anonymous donor, collaborated to provide the $30,000 in scholarships to Nebraska high school graduates.

"We are incredibly proud to support the Future of Nebraska Scholarship program," said Andy Ruback, chief executive officer at Flood Communications, which includes News Channel Nebraska. "These exceptional students embody the dedication, leadership and commitment to community that we value deeply. We are excited to see how Zakary, Taina, Megan, Phillip, McKinley and Mason will continue to grow and contribute to the great state of Nebraska. Their achievements thus far are just the beginning, and we look forward to the positive impact they will undoubtedly make in their future endeavors."

Rob Broomfield, '92, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare of Nebraska, wanted to provide students with the same kind of high-quality education he had the opportunity to receive as an alum of Nebraska Business. He has worked at UnitedHealthcare for 20 years.

“UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping support local students working to achieve their educational and professional goals, while at the same time cultivating a well-trained workforce to help further bolster our state’s economy,” said Broomfield. “As an alum of the University of Nebraska, I am grateful for the experiences and education I received at this outstanding institution, and we are honored to help support these six future business and community leaders through these scholarships.”  

To be eligible, the students had to graduate from a Nebraska high school in the fall of 2023 or spring of 2024, have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average, be admitted to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for the fall of 2024, and be a Nebraska resident. Preference was given to students planning to pursue a degree in the College of Business. 

Zakary Abler

Abler of Pierce, Nebraska, graduated from Pierce High School. He served as a fire cadet for the Pierce Volunteer Fire Department and a delegate at Cornhusker Boys State. A member of the National Honor Society, he earned varsity letters in wrestling, track and cross country, and NCPA Academic All-State for wrestling and cross country. He also was named NSWCA Academic All-State as a junior.

He shared in his video submission, "I am a small-town Nebraska kid with big goals and the determination to achieve them. I have a strong sense of community and a desire to give back to others. I have been raised to have a strong work ethic and a can-do attitude. I use challenges to prove to others and myself how strong and capable I am. I plan to major in accounting and finance so I can help others plan and achieve their financial goals. Eventually, I hope to be able to help the less fortunate with their financial plans to help change their financial futures. I've had the opportunity to travel to other places and always come home knowing Nebraska is where I want to end up."

Taina Davis

Davis of Columbus, Nebraska, graduated from Columbus High School. A member of the National Honors Society, she was involved in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), helping organize and plan events. Selected as a 101 mentor at her high school, she earned a financial literacy certificate and received a national outstanding award in marketing in 2023. She attended the DREAMBIG Academy at the Nebraska College of Business. She also works at the Quality Inn as a customer service specialist and front desk agent.

She shared in her essay, "I understand the courage needed to take action when there is doubt or no one to help you, the worldly traits of growing up in a very diverse environment and the importance of working to constantly better yourself while encouraging others to reach their maximum potential. These characteristics have made me an influential and determined person amongst my peers."

Megan Hempel

Hempel of Papillion, Nebraska, graduated from Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School. A student ambassador, she is also a member of the Student Council and the Student Advocacy Leadership Team, where she helped set an example of how to be a positive leader and show school spirit. A varsity letter winner in basketball, soccer and softball, she was named Academic All-Conference in all three sports, Academic All-State in basketball and softball and River Cities All-Conference First Team in softball. She also worked at Baseball Village during the College World Series, concessions for baseball and picked up trash in her local community.

In her essay, she shared, "During my athletic career, I have traveled Nebraska to compete. Meeting girls from all over the state taught me although we are geographically from different parts of the state, our leadership and work ethic on the court, the diamond and the field are very similar. We all have a passion to do our best and make our teammates the best they can be while facing many challenges and, most importantly, working hard to reach our goals. Being able to attend the University of Nebraska–Lincoln pursuing a major in the business field will allow me to meet, learn and grow with future state leaders in college and create lifelong bonds as we tackle the challenges of the future."

Phillip Kreutz

Kreutz of Giltner, Nebraska, graduated from Giltner Public Schools. He served as FBLA president, Future Farmers of America (FFA) vice president, drum major and competed in state track in pole vault and the 2x800 meter relay, state honor band and state speech. A member of the National Honor Society, he was named Academic All-State in basketball, track and play production. He was also an All-District Honorable Mention in football, and All-Tribune and All-Conference Honorable Mention in basketball and lettered in football, basketball, track, one-act, band and speech. An avid volunteer, his community service included helping at a blood drive, kids' basketball camp, FBLA trash pickup, cleaning headstones and other activities.

He shared in his essay submission, "Leadership is important because it sets the standard and brings out the best in someone else. I grew up on a Nebraska farm, love this state and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I have realized the importance of work ethic and have been working hard on preparing to be a leader and positive role model, an active community member and employee, and a positive representation of Nebraska."

McKinley Morgan

Morgan of Walthill, Nebraska, graduated from Pender Public School. A member of the National Honors Society, she was active in band and jazz band, FFA, speech and one-act plays. She also competed in basketball and softball and was part of the school musical. An active volunteer, she helped with fundraisers for the Walthill Fire Department, organized Family Fun Reading Nights at the Walthill Library and helped with the Memorial Day Service at the Walthill Evergreen Cemetery. She also assisted with the 2023 Cattlemen's Ball and volunteered at the senior center, family life center and Community of Christ Church in Walthill. She also works at her family's Morgan Feedlot, mows lawns and babysits.

She said in her video essay, "Agriculture is very important in Nebraska, and I am involved in different kinds of agriculture. My family has a fourth-generation farm where we grow crops like soybeans and corn and a feedlot where we raise cattle. I have my own herd of cows – 10 cows, 2 bulls and three heifers. I also grew my own garden this year with varieties of squash, watermelon, pumpkins and corn. I strive to make the area around me a better place and to be involved in community activities."

Mason Tyerman

Tyerman of Imperial, Nebraska, graduated from Chase County Schools and owns and operates a sole proprietorship lawn care business servicing 65+ properties. A member of the National Honor Society and the Chamber of Commerce, he founded the Entrepreneurship Club. He served as president of the club, as well as FFA president and class president in his junior and senior years. He also participated in one-act plays and made it to the national top 12 in FFA Parliamentary Procedure. Volunteering at blood drives, highway trash pickup and EMS training, he was named Imperial Young Citizen of the Year in 2023 and Student of the Month at Chase County Schools.

Tyerman said in his video submission for the scholarship, "I plan to study marketing and international business at Nebraska. I'm a community leader and entrepreneur. The biggest action that I've taken thus far in my life was starting my lawn company, Tyerman Turfcare, in seventh grade. Motivated to purchase my own phone, I've grown the business from four to 65 customers. Once a project is complete, I get to see the impact it has on the people around me."

The scholarship recipients start classes at Nebraska on Monday, August 26.

"Thank you to our generous donors who help Nebraska residents pursue their higher education dream by reducing financial barriers to provide greater access to a degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln," Farrell said. "We look forward to seeing how our first Future of Nebraska Scholarship recipients continue to learn and grow to lead the future of business at Nebraska."

Published: June 6, 2024