Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

PEO Grows Participants' Confidence and Competence

By Ashley Stone
Krista Van Wie (above) spent her summer in Auckland, New Zealand as an administrative/support intern for Anxiety New Zealand. 

Throughout the summer, eight Nebraska letterwinner graduates utilized Post-Eligibility Opportunity (PEO) funds to complete a variety of experiences throughout the world.

Whether completing a domestic internship in Nebraska, international internships in England, Iceland or New Zealand, or graduate school coursework at UNL, all participants noted an increase in their confidence and competence.


“This opportunity allowed me to gain work experience, cultural awareness and confidence,” said Ari Romero (pictured above), who served as a volunteer soccer coach in Iceland. “It taught me to step outside of my comfort zone and prepared me for my future.”

Sam Shaw, journalistic communications intern for freelance sports writer Pete Donovan, quickly learned the importance of having and gaining confidence in his work throughout the summer.

“As a writer, your confidence is always in a constant flux based up on the quality and strength of what you write,” said Shaw. “Through this experience and days of ‘this sounds good’ or ‘I should rewrite that,’ I learned that confidence is key and everything I write serves as purpose.”

Although some student-athletes participate in internships as undergraduates, PEO provides additional opportunities to secure meaningful employment after graduation, helping participants further realize the impact of the transferable skills gained from being a Division I athlete.

   “Before this experience, I was very nervous about
   graduating, but my internship turned out to give me
   new confidence to understand that I am ready for
   the real world,” said Jaylyn Odermann,
   communications,community development and
   human resources intern with United Way of the
   Midlands (pictured left).

   “Through the PEO (internship) class, my coworkers
   and my own realizations, I recognized the many
   characteristics from playing soccer that transferred
   over to help me become a successful business
   woman, including taking initiative, going the extra
   mile, asking questions and not being afraid to fail.”

Chris Long (pictured below), intern with Lincoln Fire & Rescue, appreciated the hands-on mentorship and training from seasoned professionals, which he felt provided him the preparation he needs to pass his firefighting exams later this year.

“My experience allowed me to gain more knowledge about the fire department and have a greater awareness about all aspects that go into becoming a firefighter,” said Long. “In helping with training classes, meeting and observing many people in the department, and gaining hands-on experience, I’m excited to apply to become a firefighter this fall.”

With each experience, participants continue to refine their skills, step outside of their comfort zone and excel in their responsibilities. Krista Van Wie, intern with Anxiety New Zealand, summarized her and others’ experiences best when saying, “It was an experience I hadn’t even dreamed of yet, and an experience that I will be able to have for the rest of my life.”

This fall, an additional 19 Nebraska letterwinner graduates will embark on their own PEO experience, which includes domestic internships in Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Washington, D.C.; international internships in New Zealand; and graduate coursework at UNL and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Summer 2016 participants included:

  • Mattie Fowler (Softball) | M.A., Business Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ricco Hall (Track & Field) | Track & Field Recruiting Intern, Nebraska Athletics
  • Chris Long (Football) | Intern, Lincoln Fire & Rescue
  • Tess Merrill (Track & Field) | Research Analyst Intern, Tower London (London, England)
  • Jaylyn Odermann (Soccer) | Communication, Community Development & Human Resources Intern, United Way of the Midlands
  • Ari Romero (Soccer) | Volunteer Soccer Coach, IBV - Íþróttabandalag (Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland)
  • Sam Shaw (Track & Field) | Journalistic Communications Intern, Pete Donovan: Author/Writer
  • Krista Van Wie (Swimming & Diving) | Administrative/Support Intern, Anxiety New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand) 


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