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40 Students Chosen for Teachers Scholars Academy
Nebraska Ag Connection - 07/12/2019

A cohort of 40 recent high school graduates have been selected to serve as the inaugural class of the University of Nebraska--Lincoln's new Teachers Scholars Academy.

The academy, funded by a donation from the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation, was created to grow the teacher workforce in Nebraska and address a possible teacher shortage.

"This is an incredible group of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences who will help shape each other's learning about society and education throughout their four years in the academy," said Braden Foreman, academy coordinator at Nebraska.

Foreman will lead the academy and serve as an advocate and mentor for the scholars.

"This group represents some of the most promising future educators with already ample experience working with youth," he said. "I am excited to see how they progress through the academy and into their careers of working with people and their respective communities."

The Teachers Scholars Academy at Nebraska aims to expose future teachers to Nebraska's schools, communities and changing demographics through experiential learning opportunities. Scholars will become innovative practitioners, ready to empower communities.

The scholars represent urban and rural areas in Nebraska and beyond. The scholars plan to major in one of 23 available teacher education programs offered by the College of Education and Human Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

"The academy is a chance to create teachers who shape the future of education across the diverse communities of Nebraska," said Guy Trainin, chair of teaching, learning and teacher education. "New societal challenges need new ideas, and this cohort of leaders and innovators will do just that."

In addition to classwork, scholars will gain experience with service and volunteer opportunities through the Lincoln community, be able to conduct research and live together as a cohort during the first year. They will also take part in the Teachers Scholars Academy Seminar course, designed to teach them about characteristics and qualities that make successful educators.

For more information on the academy and the 2020-21 application process, contact Foreman at or click here.

Following is a list of students by hometown selected to join the Teachers Scholars Academy at Nebraska, with their planned major(s). A student's high school is included in parentheses if it differs from the hometown.


Beatrice: Ashton Sandman, inclusive early childhood education

Bellevue: Mia Pancoe, special education (7-12) (Bellevue West); Jadon Putney, secondary education (English) (Bellevue East)

Bennington: Joshua Hoins, secondary education (chemistry)

Central City: Morgan Twiss, elementary education

Crete: Vanesa Lopez-Franco, elementary education

Elgin: Allyson Wemhoff, elementary education and special education (K-6)

Elm Creek: Bailee White, elementary education (Kearney)

Fremont: Madison Moore, elementary education

Gresham: William Wilton, secondary education (family and consumer science) (Centennial Public)

Kearney: Emily Hansen, elementary education

Lincoln: Alexa Andazola, secondary education (biology) (Southeast); Skylar Anderson, secondary education (family and consumer science) (Southeast); Madisen Bell, secondary education (French) (Southeast); Jordan Brandt, secondary education (Spanish) (East); Grant Collins, special education (7-12) (Southwest); Hayden Fuelberth, music education (Southwest); Madalyn Rushing, elementary education (Southwest); Katherine Schmit, music education (East); McKenzie Steiner, elementary education and special education (K-6) (Southwest)

Omaha: Grisela Diego-Mateo, elementary education and early childhood education (Burke); Kaiya Doue, elementary education (Skutt Catholic); Rebekah Hitz, special education (7-12) (Millard West); Susan Huggins, inclusive early childhood education (Mercy); Andrew Lavender, elementary education and early childhood education (Burke); Brianna Miller, elementary education (Westside); Haley Steiner, secondary education (social science) (Millard North); Tessa Sutfin, music education (Millard West); Lauren Vetter, elementary education (Fremont)

O'Neill: Claire Morrow, elementary education

Papillion: Hailey Keller, secondary education (English) (Papillion-La Vista South); Molly Simpson, elementary education and special education (K-6) (Papillion-La Vista South)

Republican City: Abigail Waldo, secondary education (English) (Alma Public)

South Sioux City: Elianna La Vie, secondary education (social science) (home school)


East Hartford, Conn.: Olivia Merza, agricultural education

Lake Zurich, Ill.: Nicole Skoby, secondary education (social science)

Lemont, Ill.: Gabrielle Ognar, special education (7-12)

Mount Prospect, Ill.: Victoria Foort, secondary education (social science) (Prospect)

Olathe, Kan.: Emma Gordon, elementary education (Olathe Northwest)

Wausau, Wis.: Paige Brandenburg, secondary education (business) (Wausau West)

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