Kara Poppe, a 2015 graduate, is using the exceptional education she received at UNI to create change on an international level. Poppe moved to Nyumbani Village in rural Kenya in the fall of 2015 as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. Since then she has worked tirelessly to coordinate and host volunteer groups from around the world while learning about Kenyan culture and getting to know its people. As a safe place for children and grandparents whose families have been tragically affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Nyumbani Village provides a home, healthcare and education to the hundreds of individuals they serve. Kara’s work helps to sustain this safe haven.
Kara has learned many lessons in her first year post-graduation. These include learning how to communicate and collaborate with a multicultural staff and gaining the ability to adapt when things do not go according to plan. Additionally, she has recognized the beauty in the simple things in life, such as an occasional break from maize and beans for dinner due to the opening of a nearby restaurant which serves pizza and ice cream!
Kara will be in Nyumbani Village until July 2016 and plans to enter the workforce in environmental or international education upon her return home. Until then, she’ll continue to have experiences such as learning how to catch a chicken with her bare hands, absorbing the beauty of the African night sky, and making memories with children who have found hope and opportunity through the work of Nyumbani Village.
Christian Junker is a May 2014 graduate from UNI with a major in Athletic Training and a minor in Biology. During his time at UNI, Christian served as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Shull, and was later promoted to Senior Resident Assistant (SRA) in Dancer Hall. With his major, he often worked closely with UNI Athletics, which included spending his senior year assisting the Women’s Soccer Team.
He put his creative talents to good use at UNI through his role in UNI Main Stage Performance: “URINETOWN: The Musical,” and
through filming for UNI Athletics home games. Christian recently served as the Community Mobilization Intern for the Chennai Field Office of International Justice Mission (IJM), and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Arcadia.
Christian will be heading to Nicaragua in March 2016 for a week to help lead a medical mission trip to a new area that is underserved medically. The Arcadia University PA Program and Global Brigades are partnering together for this medical service trip. He and his group are expecting to treat around 2000-2500 people in one week as well as promote public health initiatives. After this trip, Christian will begin his international rotation, providing healthcare to those most in need.
Christian described his time in the University Honors Program by saying that “the [program], which forces critical thought and educated opinions to be formed, allowed me the opportunity to really start to evaluate the world around me in a more analytical way; in a way that focused more on what was really happening, how I felt about it, and what I wanted to do about it – either to encourage or discourage a certain action.” This very analysis led him to his recent internship with IJM.
Jake Rudy graduated in May 2011 from UNI with a dual degree in Political Science and Sociology. Through an active undergraduate career that included serving as the student body Vice President, Jake developed an interest in working in higher education. He attended graduate school at the University of Kansas, and graduated from the Higher Education Administration program in May 2013.
Eva Andersen graduated in May 2011 from UNI with a major in Communication Studies: General Communication with the designation of University Honors. Eva is currently completing an internship at The Colbert Report. Eva says, “After my positive internship experiences at Z102.9 Radio in Cedar Rapids, Entertainment Tonight in Los Angeles, and The Colbert Report in NYC, I am excited and motivated to start a career in the entertainment industry.”
After graduation, Eva planned to pursue her career as a comedic writer and performer and had an internship at Saturday Night Live. She commented, “At UNI, my opportunity to strive for excellence was by participating in the Honors Program. It took a 'normal' college experience and raised it to a higher, more intellectually stimulating level. The relationships I formed through the Honors Program have lasted from Freshman orientation to post-graduation.”
For her honors thesis, Eva wrote, directed, and performed in a television pilot entitled “EVAluation: On Tanning” which used comedy to critically analyze discourse surrounding the cultural, social, historical, and political contexts regarding tanning beds. The film won first place in the Student Short Film category at the 2011 Iowa Motion Picture Awards and was nominated as an official selection in the TV Pilot category at the Hoboken International Film Festival in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June.
Matt Bries graduated in May 2009 from UNI with a major in Business Management: Human Resources with the designation of University Honors with Distinction. Currently Matt is a Supply Management Specialist at John Deere Waterloo Works. Matt stated, “The Honors Program provided me with an exceptional opportunity to take my learning to a deeper level while exploring topics not available to the general student body. Beyond the classroom, honors enhanced my self-confidence through hands-on leadership activities and provided me a vital network of friends and colleagues.”
Matt recently provided a lead gift to initiate the Honors Alumni Endowed Scholarship in recognition of the program's impact, saying that the Honors Program helped to give him the leadership, confidence, and skill-set necessary to build a successful foundation for his career with John Deere. Matt concluded by saying, “Honors not only helped me learn throughout my time at UNI, but more importantly taught me how to learn.”
Read more about Matt's gift and how you can join the effort.