40 students selected for second cohort of Teacher Scholars Academy

Teacher Scholars Academy
The inaugural cohort of the Teacher Scholars Academy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently completed its first year. (Courtesy Photo)

40 students selected for second cohort of Teacher Scholars Academy

04 Jun 2020    

Forty recent high school graduates have been selected to join the second cohort of the Teacher Scholars Academy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln this fall.

“I am excited to welcome a second cohort to the academy after seeing an incredibly impressive first year of the program,” said Braden Foreman, academy coordinator. “The inaugural cohort of scholars really showed up and proved that when you create a community and are able to navigate shared experiences, you build a support network and produce great results.”

The academy, funded by donations, was created to grow the teacher workforce in Nebraska and cultivate innovators in future classrooms. Students accepted into the academy receive 120 credits of in-state tuition and $8,000 annually to be used for room and board, books and fees.

Scholars live together in a residence hall on campus, take a first-year seminar course together and connect with teacher education faculty before core education courses begin. Scholars also have additional leadership opportunities through the program.

The inaugural cohort of scholars has overwhelmingly expressed they feel comfortable utilizing university faculty and staff when they need support. Additionally, scholars participate in activities related to mental health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, and service. Collectively, scholars completed 215.5 hours of service in the spring semester before the pandemic required service projects to end. Scholars are able to translate those lessons into the classroom.

“My experience in the academy has been one where I have been challenged, and I am among a group of peers who help me rise to the occasion and hold me accountable,” said Victoria Foort, secondary education (social science) major. “It has helped me keep my end goal in mind, which is education. Being with this group has helped me push through challenges because everyone has similarly high expectations.”

“We learned a lot this past year with the first attempt at the academy,” Foreman said. “There were a lot of things that went well, and there are things we plan to tweak and improve. One of the improvements the second cohort will experience is the opportunity to be mentored by a now-sophomore student in the academy."

“It’s a supportive community. There are so many ways to learn and grow. It’s a pretty powerful thing to see how much this first group has already grown and matured in just a year.”

For more information on the Teacher Scholars Academy, contact Foreman at bforeman@unl.edu.

Following is a list of students by hometown selected to join the academy’s second cohort, with their planned major(s).


  • Auburn: Shelby Neiman, elementary education and special education
  • Aurora: Paxtyn Dummer, elementary education
  • Bellevue: Zach Martin, secondary education (social science)
  • Clearwater: Kierra Bearinger, elementary education and early childhood education
  • Elgin: Adam Dreger, agricultural education
  • Elkhorn: Sydney Spanel, secondary education (mathematics)
  • Friend: Josie Vyhnalek, special education (7-12)
  • Hildreth: Claire VanLaningham, secondary education (English)
  • La Vista: Kaylee Stover, elementary education and early childhood education
  • Lexington: Austyn Stewart, elementary education or secondary education (undecided)
  • Lincoln: Thursey Cook, secondary education (social science); Yasmin Deluna, elementary education; Emma Fynbu, elementary education; Anna Gulzow, secondary education (social science); Breanna Harris, elementary education; Britney Meints, secondary education (English); Carlos Ortega, music education; Natalie Perez, elementary education; Amy Renteria, elementary education; Cristina Villa-Huerta, secondary education (social science)
  • Milford: Calyn Mowinkel, family and consumer sciences education
  • Oakland: Samantha Linder, elementary education; Hannah Moseman, agricultural education
  • Omaha: Matt Broyles, secondary education (social science); Lexi Caito, elementary education; Kiley Johnson, elementary education; Paul Pechous, special education (7-12); Lily Weindel, elementary education
  • Palmer: Anna Thede, secondary education (mathematics)
  • Papillion: Jena Cruse, special education (7-12); Clair Lieber, elementary education; Shaeley Wiese, music education
  • Seward: Isaac Rolf, secondary education (mathematics)
  • Sutton: Eli Skalka, secondary education (business)


  • Westminster, Colorado: Maddy Wosk, music education
  • Normal, Illinois: Abbie Lee, inclusive early childhood education
  • Schaumburg, Illinois: Maddie Stoerp, secondary education (language arts)
  • Kansas City, Kansas: Samantha Pennington, elementary education and special education (K-6)
  • Eden Prairie, Minnesota: Marissa Thelen, elementary education
  • Fort Worth, Texas: Hayden Ullmann, secondary education (French)

College of Education and Human Sciences