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Dining to Learn and Connect

By Ashley Stone

On Wednesday, Oct. 18th, Inner Circle members along with Nebraska letterwinners and community leaders gathered to learn about proper dining etiquette, network, and discuss career aspirations.

Kelli King, Director of the WH Thompson Scholars Learning Community, facilitated the three-course etiquette dinner, providing numerous dining and conversation tips along the way. Tips included basic information, including what silverware is used for what dish/course and how to properly eat dinner rolls, to more detailed information, such as the proper technique for eating soup or taking unwanted food out of one's mouth. 

“Besides gaining a much more in-depth knowledge of proper etiquette, I learned how important etiquette truly is,” said Bridget Pacilio, junior swimming and diving student-athlete from Colleyville, Tex. “Regardless of what career field you enter, etiquette can set you apart from others in a good or, if improperly used, bad way.”

Ryan Bates, sophomore cross country and track and field athlete from Lincoln, Neb., underscored the importance of knowing proper etiquette in his overall presence.

“For a long time, I’ve been taught the importance of doing the little things right. Knowing more about etiquette and how to dine properly in a formal setting is just another sophisticated detail that adds character to my social appearance. I know firsthand how much the student-athletes learned from this event, and I saw a lot of admiration for the event in the faces of the table hosts.”

As Bates alluded, student-athletes dined with letterwinners and community leaders who hold or formerly held careers in areas in which the student-athletes aspire: Hosts included:  

  • Ann Andrews, Retired, Physical Therapist
  • Travis Antholz, Owner/Dentist, LAD Dentists
  • Julie Bray-Obermeyer, Director of Career Development & Corporate Relations, Nebraska College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Jill Brown, Assistant to the Dean, Nebraska College of Agricultural & Natural Resources
  • Brad Bryan, Founder & Development Director, City Impact
  • Pat Clare, Retired, Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Jay Foreman, Founder, Foreman Foundation
  • Lori Henning, Registered Nurse
  • Jeff Lake, Partner, Summit Development Company
  • Anne Martin, 2nd Grade Teacher, Kooser Elementary
  • Jim McFarland, Retired Lawyer, McFarland Law Office
  • LG Searcey, Senior Vice President, Union Bank & Trust
  • Mitch Sherman, Journalist, ESPN
  • Ashley Stone, Director of Post-Eligibility Programs, Nebraska Athletics
  • Keith Zimmer, Senior Associate Athletic Director of Life Skills / N Club, Nebraska Athletics  


Both student-athletes and tables hosts enjoyed being able to connect with each other on a more personal level and in a personal setting.


“As a student-athlete, I benefitted largely from being able to converse one-on-one with experts in their respective fields,” said Pacilio. “I felt the hosts greatly enjoyed their time sharing their experiences in the workplace and mentoring to a group of motivated student-athletes about careers they are so passionate about.”


“Student-athletes asked me great questions about careers, and I felt like I provided them some leads with networking and people to contact and shadow within the field,” said Ann Andrews, volleyball letterwinner and retired physical therapist. “I would have found this type of event very helpful when I was first beginning to think about going into physical therapy.”


Hosts noted the importance of starting career discussions early and applauded the intentionality of Inner Circle’s programming.


“It is great that the Inner Circle emerging leader group has been formed,” said Jim McFarland, Nebraska football letterwinner and retired lawyer. “These student-athletes and future hosts will benefit significantly from upcoming programming – Dress for Success, Career Preparation, and Mentoring.”


Inner Circle will meet next on Monday, Nov. 13th, where members will learn about professional presence and dressing for success.


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