The Office of Graduate Studies & Academic Outreach offers a Professional Development Academy for students in Junior, Senior or Graduate standing. The mission of the Academy is to facilitate free, engaging workshops that are designed for students to build relevant professional competency in diverse areas. Workshop topics do not overlap with typical academic classroom instruction, creating a distinct opportunity for students at both the undergraduate and graduate level to develop an in-demand skill set prior to graduation.

Academy participants will be selected by application each academic year. To successfully complete the Academy curriculum, admitted participants will have two academic years to attend four core workshop topics and two elective workshop topics.

Tips and Tricks for College

Developing Your Personal Brand

Becoming Career Ready

Leadership Development for Young Professionals

Enhancing Physical and Mental Health

Applying Research in the Real World

Diversity and Inclusion for the Workplace

Professional Mentorship

Clifton Strengths

Upcoming Workshop Presenters

Brenda Jochum

Connections drive Brenda in her position at UNK, whether it is connecting with a student, employer, community member or, even more exciting, connecting them to each other. Working at UNK for three decades, she began in the Industrial Technology Department as a student worker, then an office associate, then internship director. She moved to the College of Business and Technology Career Center in 2017 and in addition to working with the internship program for sixteen majors, she gives course presentations and provides individual student appointments on resumes, career development, and CliftonStrengths. She has a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from UNK and a master’s degree in youth development from UNL. Being a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach has provided new opportunities to connect with others and bring the joy of living strengths each day. Her Top 5 are Connectedness, Responsibility, Ideation, Belief, and Learner.  Originally from Axtell, she has called Kearney home for most of her life where she and her husband Scott have raised their two children, Zach and Katelynn.

Brenda Jochum

Associate Director, UNK CBT Career Center

Michael Teahon, Ed.D.

Mike Teahon is in his fourth year as an associate professor and chair of UNK’s Educational Administration Department after spending 34 years in public schools as a teacher, coach, principal, and twenty years as a superintendent. Mike was honored to be selected as the Nebraska Superintendent of the year in 2018 by his peers. He remains active in leadership development throughout Nebraska as a member of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, the Greater Nebraska Superintendents and is currently coordinating the inaugural cohort of the NexGen Leadership Academy.

Michael Teahon, Ed.D.

Chair and Associate Professor, UNK Educational Administration

Jaci McKeever

Jaci McKeever has served as a member of the TeamMates Mentoring Program since 2010.  She has served in various roles including quality control supervisor, Omaha Metro regional coordinator and currently oversees the TeamMates+ post-secondary program and the central office scholarships.  In her current role, she focuses on providing student support through mentoring and soft skill development as students pursue their post-secondary education 

Jaci McKeever

TeamMates+ Coordinator, TeamMates Mentoring

Chandra Díaz, Ph.D.

Dr. Chandra Díaz is an assistant professor of middle level education in the UNK College of Education. She has a B.S. in middle grades: math, art, and social science with a specialization in multicultural education, an M.S. in curriculum & instruction: urban education, and a Ph.D. in educational studies. Currently, she serves as a board of trustee for Association of Middle Level Educators (AMLE) and chairs the Professional Preparation Advisory Committee. Her work is grounded in teacher preparation with a focus on adolescents, implicit bias, culturally sustaining pedagogies, and trauma-sensitive approaches. Her research interests are advocacy for historically marginalized populations and teacher preparation.

Chandra Díaz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, UNK College of Education

Kiphany Hof, LIMHP

Kiphany Hof is a licensed independent mental health practitioner and the associate director at UNK Counseling. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in counseling from the University of Wyoming. Previous work experience includes working with youth and adults in inpatient, residential and day treatment settings and teaching as an adjunct professor in the Counseling and School Psychology department at UNK. Kiphany is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and her area of specialty is treating eating disorders. She is also trained in the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) and Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR).  

Kiphany Hof, LIMHP

Associate Director, UNK Counseling | Independent Mental Health Practitioner

Bryce Abbey

Bryce Abbey is an associate professor in Kinesiology and Sport Sciences with a master’s degree in exercise science from UNK and a Ph.D. in human sciences with a specialization in nutrition and health sciences from UNL. Bryce also serves as director of the UNK Employee Health and Wellness Program. Bryce is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the National Strength and Condition Coaches Association. He also serves as a master assessor with the NSAA wrestling weight management program and assists UNK wrestling with their weight management program.  

Bryce Abbey

Associate Professor, UNK Kinesiology and Sport Sciences

Amy Rundstrom

Amy Rundstrom has worked at UNK for 23 years, first as an advisor and assistant director in Academic Advising, then as associate director and now director of Academic Advising and Career Development. UNK’s AACD office helps students find a major and then a career.  In Amy’s role, she also works with students on academic probation and suspension, as well as running the Early Alert and Partners Achieving Student Success (PASS) program. 

Amy Rundstrom

Director, UNK Academic Advising and Career Development

Megan Berry

Communication is key, and once you get to know Megan, you’ll realize how much she reflects this value throughout her actions in work and life. Witty and bubbly, Megan Berry is the marketing director for Heartland Bank, where she oversees the marketing department for all 12 branches of the bank, including three other business entities associated with the bank. Possessing a fierce creative drive, Megan is constantly buzzing with unique and original ideas to better showcase a business's brand. As a forward-thinker, she enjoys the challenge of turning these ideas into goals and working tirelessly toward a finely-honed end product that is certain to impress.

A Kearney native and KHS graduate, she is proud that her career endeavors have led to deeper community involvement, allowing her to become involved with such active organizations as Junior Achievement, Leadership Kearney, Kearney Area Young Professionals Network, and serving as an advisor for the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at UNK.

Clifton StrengthsFinder Top 5: Communication. Strategic. Individualization. Achiever. Arranger.

Megan Berry

Marketing Director, Heartland Bank

Olivia Slater

Olivia Slater is a graduate student at UNK pursuing a master’s degree in public communication. She recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree from UNK in May, majoring in sports management with a minor is advertising and public relations. Olivia’s ideal job would be in marketing or human resources. She serves UNK’s Department of Graduate Studies & Academic Outreach as a graduate assistant.  

Olivia Slater

UNK Graduate Student, Department of Communication

Mila Serefko

Mila Serefko is a graduate student at UNK pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders. She serves UNK’s Department of Graduate Studies & Academic Outreach as a graduate assistant.  

Mila Serefko

UNK Graduate Student, Department of Communication Disorders

Derek Elton

Derek Elton is from Columbus, Nebraska and currently attends UNK as an undergraduate. He is working toward a degree in exercise science with a minor in health science and has a goal of obtaining his doctorate to pursue a career in research. Derek is involved in multiple campus organizations such as the UNK Honors Program, Exercise Science Club, Christian Student Fellowship, Health Science Club and the KSS Ambassadors. Derek also gives campus tours and is involved in the UNK URF program. His research interests include health-related behavioral motivation, physical activity and physiological aspects of the human body. Outside of academics, Derek enjoys exercising, hiking, listening to podcasts, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Derek Elton

UNK Undergraduate Student, Department of Kinesiology & Sport Sciences

Michelle Egge

Michelle joined Associated Staffing in November 2019. She has over 20 years of management and over 13 years of staffing and human resources experience. Michelle is active in the community planning and hosting fundraisers for people in need. She enjoys spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.  Hobbies include camping and racing with her husband and son. Michelle lives in Kearney.

Michelle Egge

Operations Manager, Associated Staffing