Nebraska’s First PEO Participants Utilize Funds
This spring eight letterwinner alumni were eager to be the first to participate in Nebraska’s Post-Eligibility Opportunities (PEO) Program. The only program of its kind in the nation, PEO provides Nebraska student-athletes who graduate with their bachelor’s degree, earn a varsity letter and graduate in December 2015 or later, a scholarship valued up to $7,500 to use for an internship, study abroad experience or graduate school.
Spring 2016 participants included:
- Samantha Areman (Soccer) | Digital Marketing Intern, Production Paradise (Barcelona, Spain)
- Ross Dickson (Men’s Golf) | Digital Media Intern, Nebraska Athletics; Communications Intern, American Junior Golf Association
- Kelly Dunn (Swimming & Diving) | Business Development Intern, National Research Corporation
- Chongo Kondolo (Football) | Youth on the Move Intern, AmeriCorps
- Ryne Reeves (Football) | Loan Assistant Intern, Pinnacle Bank
- Desire’ Stephens (Women’s Gymnastics) | Marketing Intern, Nebraska Athletics
- Zach Sterup (Football) | Financial Intern, Waddell & Reed
- Josh Ungar (Gymnastics) | Volunteer Strength Coach, Husker Power
Throughout their internships, participants noted their ability to gain hands-on experience, apply classroom knowledge to daily responsibilities, enhance their social skills, gain confidence and further develop themselves outside of sports.
Desire' Stephens (above) worked closely with many teams, including women's gymnastics
and men's basketball, through her role as a Marketing Intern with Nebraska Athletics.
“PEO allowed me to grow in my skillset, experience and confidence when it came to duties within my job description,” said Desire’ Stephens. “I was able to gain experience working with other people and departments, while creating a portfolio of knowledge and understanding that directly correlates with my degree and career aspirations.”
While gaining experience working in a professional setting, Samantha Areman’s skills were expanded by completing an international internship in Spain: “Being on your own in a foreign country for three months not only forces you outside your comfort zone and subsequently builds your self-confidence, but also helps you build your soft skills in interacting with people from a different country with different backgrounds.”
In addition to increasing their marketability, personal and professional development, and intellectual growth, participants were able to complete internships that aligned with career goals.
Chongo Kondolo (far right) works alongside other Youth on the Move mentors.
"If it were not for PEO, I probably would be working in a job that does not align with my interest area because that would be the only way for me to pay my bills,” said Chongo Kondolo. “With PEO, I have been able to intern as a youth mentor with AmeriCorps’ Youth on the Move, which is in a career field I plan to continue pursuing.”
Interning as a strength coach with Husker Power provided Josh Ungar a similar experience: “Gaining exposure to the daily strength routines of other student-athletes has reinforced by goals to pursue a career in sports medicine during and following medical school.”
Upon completion of experiences, two participants were offered additional experiences within the companies in which they interned. Ross Dickson transitioned from a traveling communications intern with the American Junior Golf Association to a communications assistant and Kelly Dunn accepted a full-time position with the National Research Corporation.
From the first time participants learned about PEO as student-athletes to completing an experience as letterwinner alums, they have all remained grateful for the opportunity provided to them by Nebraska Athletics and generous donors.
Eight additional letterwinner alumni will use PEO funds this summer for domestic and international internships and graduate school.