Donor Support Gives UNO Student Freedom to Pursue His Passion

“It’s allowed me to shift my attention towards my academics and extracurricular activities.”

Picture this: You’re a full-time college student majoring in Civil Engineering while also working two part-time jobs to pay for college tuition and rent. The endless amount of energy spent trying to manage your workload on top of figuring out how to pay your bills this month leaves you completely exhausted. Stressful, right?

Many students can relate to this stressful feeling. In a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, 72% of college students experience financial stress when it comes to meeting tuition costs. Thankfully, there are many scholarships made possible by donors like you, allowing students to have more freedom to pursue their passions.  

A senior studying Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Alex Martinez, has been greatly impacted by donor support throughout his college career. “Funding from donors to support students like me has been super valuable,” said Martinez. “It’s allowed me to shift my attention towards my academics and extracurricular activities.” Without the stress of working part-time jobs to pay his bills, Martinez can pursue his passion for engineering by serving as president of the Latinos in STEM organization on UNO’s campus.

LSTEM is an organization that helps promote professional advancements for minorities by fostering cooperation among industry, alumni and the academic and professional communities to improve educational and employment opportunities.

During his freshman year, Martinez had a hard time finding a sense of community. After a conversation with his advisor, he discovered LSTEM. “It was a safe place where I felt comfortable expressing myself,” said Martinez. From that point forward, Martinez knew he wanted to be a part of this organization that provides future students with a sense of community and mentorship.

Not only is LSTEM a great way to connect with other students, but it also provides members with the chance to build their professional network. One of their biggest annual events is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers conference. With the help of donations, “we were able to send 10 students last year to Salt Lake City, Utah for this convention,” said Martinez. “It was a great opportunity to network with other students from around the country and the region as well.”

Martinez has discovered many new things about himself during his time at LSTEM. He discovered his new passion for working with kids and finding fun, interactive ways to introduce them to STEM. He’s had the chance to become a mentor for many children while working with the Gomez Elementary School and the Science Museum in downtown Omaha. Introducing this younger generation to STEM is something that brings Martinez a lot of joy and allows him to pursue two of his passions at the same time.

Having the opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities provides students with skills and experiences that they may not be able to get in the classroom. Holding the role as president of LSTEM has “really helped my leadership skills and communication skills,” said Martinez. “I’ve made great connections with not only other professionals, but also other students who have become some of my closest friends.” These are the memories and relationships that Martinez will take with him after graduation and throughout the rest of his life.

Your support greatly impacts the lives of students like Alex, allowing them to pursue their passions and discover new ones. Not only will you impact students financially, but it also sticks with them emotionally. Martinez will never forget all the people who supported him throughout his college career. “I want to be that support for someone else, I want to give back to this community,” said Martinez. “Investing in younger generations is a great decision because that’s ultimately the future.”

UNO Fund

Student Scholarships

Your gift to this fund supports UNO students by providing scholarships recognizing academic excellence and financial need.