Celebrating Diversity - Our Stories

Our Stories

Noha Algahimi
Meet a Husker: Noha Algahimi
Chemical Engineering Major
“UNL has an incredibly welcoming and diverse STEM community, especially within the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, so during my time here I’ve been fortunate enough to feel like I belong.”

Read Noha's Story

Andrea Paola Arguelles taking a selfie
Q&A with Andrea Paola Arguelles
Ph.D. 2016, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, UNL
Assistant Professor in Engineering Science and Mechanic, Penn State University
"My heritage is an integral part of my identity. I did not realize how much until I left my home country [Venezuela] to pursue higher education in the U.S. The biggest lesson I carry with me from my Hispanic upbringing is the importance of family."

Read Andrea's Story

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt
Q&A with Shannon Bartelt-Hunt
Donald R. Voelte, Jr. and Nancy A. Keegan Chair of Engineering and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
“I think engineering is a wonderful career. The most important attributes for being an engineer are being creative, a good communicator and being curious. It's not important to be at the top of your math and science classes. Be inquisitive and ask a lot of questions about how and why things work!”

Read Shannon's Story

Kelly Broad
Read Kelly's Story
Senior, Biological Systems Engineering
“It’s important for teams to include all the voices present at the table, and notice if someone isn’t sitting down at the table or is left standing out in the hallway.”

Read Kelly's Story

Seth testing water quality parameters after collecting water samples from the Elkhorn River.
Read Seth's Story
Junior, Biological Systems Engineering
“Whether it be through my classes, the McNair scholars program, my research positions, being a TA, or through ASUN I try to ensure that I pull from my background to understand problems that people like me may face in and out of the classroom to ensure that others feel more welcome at UNL.”

Read Seth's Story

Alisa Gilmore speaking at the opening ceremonies of the Nebraska Robotics Expo in February 2020
Q&A with Alisa Gilmore
Associate Professor of Practice, Electrical and Computer Engineering
“Take advantage of the Complete Engineer competencies. These will serve you well throughout life. It is no longer viable for engineers to be one-dimensional technicians. Become well rounded so that you can address the complex issues of the present and future with social insight, inclusiveness, and effectiveness.”

Read Alisa's Story

Sydney James
Read Sydney's Story
Graduate student in Civil Engineering / B.S. in Civil Engineering from UNL, 2019
“One piece of advice I would give anyone considering or pursuing a career in engineering would be, why not you? You belong here. No one shows up to the first day of Calculus as a pro at deriving and integrating. The skills required for an engineering career take practice, determination, and grit. Every engineering student has had that moment when they thought it was too hard. Don’t quit, you belong here.”

Read Sydney's Story

Courtney Keiser in the lab doing what she loves most!
Q&A with Courtney Keiser
Graduate Research Assistant, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Ph.D., Materials Engineering
“Find a group of people that will support you professionally and personally. You are not on this journey alone, and these people will be your reminder that you are smart and capable of anything put in your way.”

Read Courtney's Story

Xuan Le working in a lab.
Read Xuan's Story
Student: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Cultural celebration fosters respect and open-mindedness. It is important to celebrate my heritage because I get to commemorate the events and traditions that have made me who I am today. Celebrating heritage doesn’t need to be huge; it can be as little as enjoying a home cooked meal with your family or dressing up in your traditional clothes.”

Read Xuan's Story

Yajaira Lopez-Villa sitting on some steps for a photo.
Meet a Husker: Yajaira Lopez-Villa
Academic Advisor
“I hope that during this month and the other heritage months folks take time to learn more about other cultures and attend different events and celebrate with their peers how beautiful diversity is.”

Meet Yajaira

Yongfeng Lu
Read Yongfeng's Story
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
“From my own heritage and the different cultures I experienced in the four countries I have lived, I learned the importance and value of the diversity. Cultures and religions are cultivated through thousands of years by millions or billions of people. Through respect and mutual understanding, we can build strong bonds with colleagues and collaborators.”

Read Yongfeng's Story

Alexis Martinez
Meet a Husker: Alexis Martinez
Student, Civil Engineering Major
“As an underrepresented group in the engineering field, I am blessed to lead and work with many amazing people on a daily basis. I hope to see more minority groups be represented in engineering in the future.”

Meet Alexis

Sidney Matthias
Read Sidney's Story
Student, Civil Engineering
“Pride to me is about uplifting the people around you. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I learned one of the most powerful things you can do for other people is to support them unconditionally.”

Read Sidney's Story

Sussan Moussavi at the UNL Spring Research Fair
Q&A with Sussan Moussavi
PhD Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
“I try to constantly promote women in engineering by attending different events like "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" and the "Women in Science Conference." My mom (an Environmental Engineer) continues to serve as a great role model for me, and I strive to do the same for other women in the field.”

Read Sussan's Story

Francisco Munoz-Arriola
Q&A with Dr. Francisco Munoz-Arriola
Associate Professor, Hydroinformatics and Predictive Analytics, Department of Biological Systems Engineering /
Associate Professor, Integrated Hydroclimate and Geospatial Analytics, School of Natural Resources
"In my lab, as in the classroom, I create a welcoming environment that extols the virtues of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity as a means to civic and intellectual advancement."

Read Francisco's Story

Noelle Atieno Mware at the Universidad Del Pacifico; summer 2016
Q&A with Noelle Atieno Mware
Graduate student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
“Remember, if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go with others. In this marathon (not a sprint) having a sense of support from like-minded individuals is beneficial to your success. Also, being open to other perspectives is vital for growth. Always stick to your values and stand up for yourself and others.”

Read Noelle's Story

oSTEM members show off their cute new oSTEM @ Nebraska stickers at the club fair (Fall, 2020)
Read oSTEM @ Nebraska’s Story
Ryan Olsen, Vice President, oSTEM
“Pride is incredibly important to our oSTEM chapter. We believe in the power of coming together and showing support for all people, regardless of their identity.”

Learn More About oSTEM

Stephanie Perez and her boyfriend Bailey at Sioux Falls
Q&A with Stephanie Perez
Civil Engineering major, College of Engineering
"I have always held the belief that my heritage is what keeps me, and my family grounded and allows us to have a unique outlook on life that we otherwise would not have."

Read Stephanie's Story

Alma Ramirez-Rodgers
Q&A with Alma Ramirez-Rodgers
Senior assistant director of student development, College of Engineering
"As a first-generation female of Mexican descent, I believe I’m a living testimonial that although there may be several challenges one might face in life, these can be overcome with perseverance (or “ganas” as my dad would say)."

Read Alma's Story

Emily Ritzdorf sitting with her parents at Pinnacle Bank Arena for a Huskers basketball game.
Read Emily's Story
Student: Architectural Engineering
“Celebrating one's heritage is important to my family and me because although our blood isn't the same we can still honor the people and traditions from the past. This diversity of my upbringing has allowed me a unique outlook on life and realize that people are not that different from one another.”

Read Emily's Story

Jen Skidmore standing in front of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Read Jen's Story
Director of Student Development, Engineering Student Services
“I’m proud to be out and visible because of the ways my visibility has created space for and will continue to create space for more LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff to join in making this community better.”

Read Jen's Story

Leen-Kiat Soh
Read Leen-Kiat's Story
Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
“Be persistent and invest time and effort. Be inquisitive and ask questions. Be mindful and think about your learning and acquiring new knowledge. Be open-minded and appreciate different viewpoints. Be caring and consider the impacts of your work. Seek help if you are doubtful.”

Read Leen-Kiat's Story

Aaron Young
Q&A with Aaron Young
Undergraduate student, Architectural Engineering
“Remember to give back to the community that you have come from in order to support the aspirations of our future generations. Engage in on-campus organizations, connect with like-minded achievers, and be the student that engages with teachers on a deeper level. The work we do is hard, but it is worth it. God blesses the hand of the diligent.”

Read Aaron's Story