Spring 2020 WNCC Scholars


Destany Hill

Hometown: Scottsbluff, NE
High school: Scottsbluff Senior High School
Destany Hill

How do you use STEM in your life? Learning interesting things from others who are willing to share their experiences.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to all of those who have been trying their best to make use of their skills to be able to make a difference. I cannot pick one person, as there are so many who try their best every day to discover and try new things for the betterment of humanity.

What excites you about STEM? The chance to be able to learn and explore new ideas.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? Being able to learn as much as I can from others, and be able to learn from their own experiences.

Adam Ouderkirk

Hometown: Bayard, NE
High school: Bayard High School
Adam Ouderkirk

What’s your dream job? In IT.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I got to learn C sharp, a computer language.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to Dr. Bill Spurgeon at WNCC because he got me interested in computers.

What excites you about STEM? I love learning about new technology.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I would love to meet new friends in the same field.

Alan Ouderkirk

Hometown: Bayard, NE
High school: Bayard High School
Alan Ouderkirk

What’s your dream job? Waterslide tester.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? My favorite project in STEM would be the 3D printer.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? Dr. Bill Spurgeon at WNCC because he is the best teacher, and he really cares about making sure you understand what you are learning.

What excites you about STEM? What excites me about STEM is all the wonderful opportunities and careers the STEM field has to offer.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am looking forward to all the wonderful opportunities and information to learn more about STEM.

Twins find welcoming STEM community at WNCC

Gracey Perez

Hometown: Rushville, NE
High school: Gordon Rushville High School
Gracey Perez

What’s your dream job? My dream job is to become a web developer for a big tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? I haven't got my hands on very intense projects yet; however, society today is very technology-based and there are many new features to the internet, mobile devices, robotics, etc., that excite me.

How do you use STEM in your life? Mathematics happens to be my favorite subject and it gets more complex as you go forward; as does life. To me, life is like a never-ending math problem. It starts with the basics of learning how to read, write, and talk. Not too far after you're asked to write letters, give a speech, or even read an article to a class. Finally on to the real world where you are asked to illustrate population growth in a graph and give a detailed verbal presentation to the head of the company. You would not be able to do any of these if you didn't start off with basic learning. That is exactly how math is. You learn basic math to be able to later calculate the slope of a curve at a given point. You have to follow the steps in life and math to really put together/solve the big picture.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? A teacher I look up to would have to be my high school English/Technology teacher, Mrs. Heidi Beguin. She always incorporated different ways of learning in her classroom and encouraged students to get out of their comfort zone (hence the reason I am chasing my dream in technology). She was not only there for you in the classroom, but also looked out for you outside of the classroom offering a helping hand or shoulder to cry on at any moment. That support itself showed how passionate she was/is as a teacher.

What excites you about STEM? What I love about STEM is how universal it is. It is used worldwide and it is constantly changing. It makes learning exciting and never-ending in the tech industry.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am looking forward to connecting with not only various other students but also a community of mentors set on helping undergraduates get the best of their education and helping them get over rough patches along the way.

STEM CONNECT aids in transition from WNCC to UNL

Braeden Stuempler

Hometown: Rushville, NE
High school: Gordon Rushville High School
Braeden Stuempler

What’s your dream job? Entrepreneur.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on or really admire in STEM? The monthly follow we have with the mentors from our respective schools.

Who is someone (teacher, mentor, role model) in STEM you look up to and why? I look up to my calculus professor, Dr. Scott Schaub, because of all the incredible sounding careers he has had.

What excites you about STEM? STEM excites me, because it will be giving me a chance to learn more about technology and certain sciences that are leading the world in innovation.

What are you looking forward to in the STEM CONNECT program? I am looking forward to the access to information and knowledge to obtain while in the STEM CONNECT program.

Fall 2020 WNCC Scholars


Kade Thunderbull

High School: Gering, Nebraska

Tate Carson

High School: Torrington, Wyoming

Shawn Rabine

High School: Chadron, Nebraska

Elli Winkler

High School: Gering, Nebraska