UNO Fund Scholarship Stories – Justice Kellett

Justice Kellett is a psychology major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is also participates in the school's ROTC program.

When Justice Kellett’s father told her to dress up for school in early February during her senior year, she thought it was just because it was his birthday.

Behind the scenes, however, plans were coming together to surprise Kellett, a senior at Papillion-LaVista South High School at the time, with the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Maverick in the Making Scholarship. The $1,000 annual scholarship, partially funded through generous donations toward the UNO Fund, recognizes high school seniors who have made a difference in their community.

Kellett was a commanding officer in the school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC). She fell in love with the program over the course of her high school career and was planning to participate in ROTC in college with the goal of becoming an officer.

“I wanted to go into Officer Training School (OTS), and I was even looking at West Point,” Kellett said. “I just knew that I wanted to be an officer and so I was applying for everything.”

She eventually shifted her sights toward UNO at the beginning of her senior year. Kellett’s decision was affirmed when she was presented with the Maverick in the Making Scholarship that year.

Kellett was surprised with the Maverick in the Making Scholarship during her fifth-period ROTC class. She remembers her friends, family and even Durango. It was a moment she would never forget, in part because she had just swapped the nice clothes for T-shirt and sweatpants so she could work out.

“Nobody knew that I was going to change, but I think it was rawer because people could see me in my normal clothes,” she said.

The surprise also served as justification for all Kellett’s hard work as a student and leader in her community. That relief was clear to see from the moment she was awarded the scholarship.

“I remember just crying when I saw my parents because I was applying for scholarships left and right without any response,” she said.

The scholarship set her on a course to continue her education at UNO through the ROTC program. Now a sophomore, Kellett is working hard toward her goal of becoming a commissioned officer. Kellett is also majoring in psychology along with a minor in sociology. She hopes to use her education to pursue a career in information operations.

Without the Maverick in the Making Scholarship, Kellett said she would not have continued her ROTC path. Thanks to the support of those who contributed to the scholarship, Kellett is on a path toward success.

“I’m really grateful for this scholarship and I would really like to thank the donors specifically for being such kindhearted people,” she said. “This is the road of life that I want to be on right now, and I wouldn’t be here without people giving out of the goodness of their heart.”

Stories like Justice’s don’t happen without the support of generous donors like you. Make a gift of $25, $50 or $100 today to help fund more scholarship opportunities for future UNO students by clicking the button below. 

UNO Fund

The University of Nebraska at Omaha aims to provide access to exceptional education to all who seek it. Our focus on providing access, opportunity, equality and service is enhanced when you give to  Through the UNO Fund, you can choose to directly support whatever you think is most important, such as student scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention or your college’s academic priorities.

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