Senior receives Buffett scholarship, prepares for future in military, college

Juli Oberlander, Staff Writer

Like other seniors, Dani Jorgenson started the school year uncertain about her college plans.

She knew she had a passion for the military, having participated in Central’s ROTC program since her freshman year.

Initially, Jorgenson did not believe she would enter the military upon her high school graduation.

Similar to the other members of the class of 2015, Jorgenson applied to various colleges and scholarships that would help her through her finances beginning in the fall 2015 term.

For Jorgenson, staying in Nebraska for school was ideal, both academically and monetarily. She had even narrowed down which schools in the university system would fit her individual needs.

“I’m not going to UNL, but I got accepted to UNO and UNK,” Jorgenson said.

In order to minimize the amount of debt she would incur from her schooling, the senior applied for the prestigious Buffett scholarship, courtesy of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.

Jorgenson was hopeful that she would receive a scholarship from the benefactor, but she did not want to get her hopes up too much if she were to meet with disappointment in a rejection notice.

A notification did come on April 24, and Jorgenson was thrilled when she discovered she had in fact been awarded a scholarship from the foundation.

“I got the Buffett, which feels like a huge success because my brother also received the Buffett,” Jorgenson said. “I can directly see how much it helps and how positive a thing it is.”

After she received the scholarship, Jorgenson was all set to attend college. She had even decided on UNO, until she gave the decision of heading into the military a second look.

“If I were going to college I’d go to UNO,” Jorgenson said. “I’d major in special education because I want to teach the deaf how to communicate in sign language. I eventually will pursue this course of action, but after my service in the Marines.”

When she was considering which college she wanted to attend, Jorgenson thought, like other seniors, about the groups she would join, the people she would meet and the many ways she could help enhance the university’s reputation. The senior’s main goal was to get involved and make her university a better place as a result.

As she was deciding on UNO, Jorgenson considered what she wanted in her dream college. She knew it would have to be a place that emphasized academics, community involvement and student leadership. Jorgenson wanted to attend a school that had stimulating, fun activities as a well as a good linguistics program.

When she thought more about her interests and how her school would match that, Jorgenson thought more about what she had learned through ROTC at Central and how the military could benefit and improve her as a person.

It was then that Jorgenson decided to postpone her enrollment at UNO and enter into active duty as a Marine following her graduation from Central.

Jorgenson has since settled on spending five years overseas, after which she will pursue her college dreams at UNO.

“UNO is especially attractive to me because it is the most military friendly college and it’s so close to home,” Jorgenson said. “Talk about a win win.”

Jorgenson’s first priority is to serve the country she loves and make a difference as a U.S Marine. After that, getting an education and improving her mind is the plan for Central’s 2015 commencement speaker.

As she prepares to go overseas and assist her home country, Jorgenson knows she will miss the state of her upbringing.

“I love the Nebraska community,” Jorgenson said. “It’s especially comfortable for me because I am so invested in it.”

However, the senior is ready to embark on a new journey in life. Graduating from Central is only the first step she wants to take towards impacting the world.

Jorgenson is grateful for the education she has received in high school, but until she continues her schooling through college, she believes that her destiny is to contribute to a higher duty, to serve her country and to achieve the honor of becoming a U.S Marine.