Wayne State College

Scholars Selected for Wayne State’s New Cooperative Education Program

Published Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Thirty-one students have been selected for the Northeast Nebraska Growing Together Cooperative Education Program and will begin their education at Wayne State in the fall.

Wayne State College, along with Growing Together, An Aksarben Workforce Initiative, are proud to announce the inaugural scholarship winners for the selective Northeast Nebraska Growing Together Cooperative Education Program. This first cohort of 31 students will begin their education at Wayne State College as freshmen in the fall for a three-year on-campus education followed by a fourth year living and working in Norfolk with a local business during a nine-month period.

The students selected for the program:

  • Caroline Akinnigbagbe of Plainview in computer science
  • Trevor Boggs of Greenwood in computer science
  • Cailee Brugger of Wayne in computer science
  • Noah Burwell of David City in computer science
  • Mindy Demke of Wakefield in computer science
  • Seth Dey of Syracuse in computer science
  • Gregory Downing of Chadron in computer science
  • Braden Ehlers of Norfolk in accounting
  • Ty Erwin of Laurel in business management
  • Oliver Fox of Lincoln in electronic media
  • Abigail Gardner of Chadron in business management
  • Aubree Howell of Omaha in marketing
  • Callasandra Hurley of York in electronic media
  • Brogan Jones of Allen in agri-business
  • Blake Kobs of Ashland in business management
  • Zoey Kreikemeier of West Point in marketing
  • Alexander Lyons of Dwight in business management
  • Cory Martinson of Wausa in electronic media
  • Raymond Mauldin of Norfolk in computer science
  • Delaney Meyer of Lincoln in journalism
  • Jaegher Ogden of Atkinson in business management
  • Austin Pierce of Brainard in office administration
  • Conor Ramold of Neligh in business management
  • Paige Sackschewsky of Waco in business management
  • Hailey Samson of York in computer information systems - programmer/analyst
  • Jakob Schaefer of Whitman in computer science
  • Summer Schroeder of Clearwater in finance
  • Jarvis Smith of Harvard in agri-business
  • Shane Stahn of Central City in business management
  • Amber Voboril of David City in business management

“Wayne State is truly committed to this program, which is designed to support economic and work force development in Northeast Nebraska,” said Wayne State College President Marysz Rames. “The pool of students demonstrated the academic strength, tenacity, and grit we have come to expect of prospective Wayne State students. We expect great things from this inaugural group of scholars.”

Students were selected for the selective cooperative education program from the incoming freshmen class to live in a community of learners at Wayne State where they will receive a prescribed and accelerated curriculum that will prepare them to work in a Norfolk business during their senior year. The program is limited to students pursuing majors in either business, computer science or computer information systems, electronic media, or journalism.

“As the Growing Together project takes off, it’s extremely exciting to have so many applicants who want to be a part of this effort to learn and work in Northeast Nebraska. We look forward to meeting the inaugural class of scholars and welcoming them into the community of Norfolk over the next four years,” said Angie Stenger, Executive Director of Growing Together.

During the students’ first three years in Wayne, they will have the opportunity to engage with Norfolk business partners through site visits, job shadowing, and mentorships. In their senior year, they will move to Norfolk where they will earn 18 credit hours by working about 30 hours per week in a local business. As part of the program, they are required to reside in housing in the downtown Norfolk area, which will provide them with the opportunity to engage academically and socially with their peers. This portion of the program helps them connect with the community and gain an appreciation for the many exciting social and cultural opportunities available in the city of Norfolk. Upon graduation, the goal is for the students to be hired into full-time positions in Northeast Nebraska.

“This program will be critical to the continued development of our regional economy,” Rames said. “Given the current public health emergency and its effects on our economy, Wayne State’s partnership with Growing Together/Aksarben to provide pathways to four-year degrees for students committed to Northeast Nebraska is more important than ever.”

To ensure students have financial support to remain focused on this program, they were awarded a scholarship that provides: $2,500 for the freshman year, $3,000 in the sophomore year, $3,500 in the junior year, and $5,000 toward tuition and up to $10,000 in housing for the senior year, which brings the total scholarship package to $24,000. The Aksarben Foundation is supporting the first cohort of cooperative education scholars with a gift of $360,000.

“Growing Together is a whole new concept, and that’s what’s exciting about it. As we aim to retain and attract young talent to the area, we are proud to support this first cohort of co-op scholars and look forward to watching as they evolve through the program,” said Sandra Reding, President of the Aksarben Foundation.

The cooperative education program is one of several strategies connected to the “Northeast Nebraska Growing Together” initiative that was developed as part of the Aksarben Foundation challenge to address the workforce crisis in Nebraska. Under the leadership of Mike Flood, founder of Flood Communications and News Channel Nebraska and current Aksarben board member, a group of community leaders identified six bold strategies to transform Northeast Nebraska:

  • Downtown development
  • Founders in residence
  • Cooperative scholarships
  • Workforce retraining
  • Artists in residence
  • Early childhood education