Graduate Student Ambassadors

UNL’s Graduate Ambassadors are here to create a rich and supportive community for current and prospective graduate students.

Ambassadors are current UNL graduate students who come from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds and have been selected to serve as official student representatives. Ambassadors support prospective, new, and current students by assisting at graduate student events, providing campus tours, and interacting with students through email, blogs like Graduate Connections, and social media. Ambassadors also serve as liaisons between their departments and Graduate Studies.  Throughout the year they'll be writing about campus events, research, experiences, organizations, and general graduate life.

Have questions, comments, or future blog ideas for our Ambassadors?  Strike up a conversation with them in person at one of our events or by email at

Contact Stacy Dam if you have questions or comments about the Ambassador program.

Jairo Cervantes

  • Program/level Electrical Engineering, PhD, 3rd year
  • Home town Chiquinquira, Colombia
  • Prior education B.S. in Electronics Engineering, Universidad Industrial d Santander, Colombia
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Colombiano at UNL
  • Hobbies/interests Sports, student Involvement, student guidance
  • Things to know about me A smile and a welcome will be rewarded. That is what being Colombian means.
  • Fun facts I love starting my day with a good cup of coffee. I have been part of the soccer team that has won the intramural tournament several times. I’m also a fan of Real Madrid #Hala Madrid and the Colombian soccer team.

Elisha Hall

  • Program/level Human Sciences with a specialization in Nutrition and Health Sciences, PhD, 4th year
  • Home town Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Prior education B.S. in Dietetics and M.S. in Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Member of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    • Race Mktg Chair of NE Acad of Nutr and Dietetics
    • Lincoln District Dietetic Association
    • Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior
    • LPS Wellness Committee
  • Hobbies/interests Baking, writing, climbing
  • Things to know about me For my dissertation research, I will be developing and evaluating classroom-based K-2 physical activity lessons, using the social cognitive theory.
  • Fun facts I am a Registered Dietician. My research interest is in childhood obesity

Jenny Beth Jorgenson

  • Program/level Human Sciences with a specialization in Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design, PhD, 3rd year
  • Home town Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Prior education B.S. in Apparel and Textile Studies, North Dakota State University; M.S. in Textiles, Clothing, and Design, UNL
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Member of International Textile and Apparel Assoc
    • 2013-2014 UNL Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Hobbies/interests Sewing, baking, camping, fishing, and reading
  • Things to know about me My research focus is on consumer behavior, specifically consumer socialization through online social networking websites.
  • Fun facts I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, and started sewing at the age of 6.

Adrian Lara

  • Program/level Computer Science PhD, 4th Year
  • Home town San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Prior education B.S. and M.Sc. in Computer Science, University of Costa Rica
  • Leadership/orgs
    • 2013-2014 UNL Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Hobbies/interests Triathlon, Tennis, Dota2
  • Things to know about me I love teaching. I look forward to an academic career in Costa Rica.
  • Fun facts Costa Rica is known for having the best coffee and being one of the happiest countries in the world! I can offer extensive conversation about the beauties of my country, and yes, I believe I'm a happy person!

Xiaoqian Ma

  • Program/level Educational Psychology, MA, 1st Year
  • Home town Anqing, Anhui, China
  • Prior education BA in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, Anqing Teacher’s College, China; MA in Educational Administration, UNL
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA)
  • Hobbies/interests Watching TV and traveling
  • Fun facts I’m easily lost outside because of a bad sense of direction. I have to use GPS!

Debalin Sarangi

  • Program/level Agronomy with a specialization in Weed Science, PhD, 2nd year
  • Home town Contai (Near Kolkata), India
  • Prior education B.S. in Agriculture, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, India; M.S. Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University, India,
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Member, Weed Science Society of America (WSSA)
    • Member, North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS)
    • Member, Agro and Hort Grad Student Assoc, UNL
    • Cultural Advisor of Indian Students Assoc, UNL
  • Hobbies/interests Painting, photography, music
  • Things to know about me I love to teach, do research, work with extension activities as well as students. I will try to find a job in academics and specifically in Weed Science. I would love to learn piano and form a 'fusion band' in my life because I love fusion music.
  • Fun facts "Jack of all trades, master of none." This is absolutely correct to describe myself according to my mom.

Stephanie Shipp

  • Program/level Journalism and Mass Communications, MA, 2nd Year
  • Home town Houston, TX
  • Prior education M.A. in Philosophy, University of Glasgow, UK; MA in Philosophy, UNL
  • Leadership/orgs
    • RA (Advertising)
    • Student Advisory Board
  • Hobbies/interests Music; philosophy; reading; writing; and social media analytics.
  • Fun facts I originally went to college for opera.

Jessica Tate

  • Program/level Counseling Psychology, PhD, 3rd year
  • Home town Waterloo, Iowa
  • Prior education B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, minor in African American Studies, Iowa State University
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Black Graduate Student Assoc (BGSA) President
    • Big 10 Husker Distinction Council, Intern/Advisor
    • 2013-2014 UNL Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Hobbies/interests Kickboxing; going to the dog park with my dog, Koda; Iowa State Cyclone Wrestling fan; and spending time with family/friends.
  • Things to know about me I am a McNair Scholar and my research interests consist of examining Black Male Masculinity and re-entry into community upon release from prison. I’m an advocate for underserved and underprivileged populations which motivates my research interests.
  • Fun facts I have an Akita named Koda. (He legitimately looks like a bear.)

Grace Troupe

  • Program/level Agronomy with a specialization in Plant Breeding and Genetics, M.S., 2nd (final) year
  • Home town Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Prior education B.S. in Plant Biology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Agronomy and Horticulture GSA Secretary
    • Genetics, Plant Sc, and Agronomic Plant Sc TA
    • Department Orientation Committee
    • 2 Pillars Church volunteer
    • 2013-2014 UNL Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Hobbies/interests Running, biking, learning new hairstyles
  • Things to know about me I love my school and especially love my department! I want to help other students have the best experience possible and learn about the helpful resources available here.
  • Fun facts I started my interest in plant genetics in middle school when I first learned how to hybridize in the Lincoln Iris Society.

Derrick White

  • Program/level Biological Sciences, PhD, 6th year
  • Home town Hattiesburg, MS
  • Prior education B.S. and M.S. in Biology, Jackson State University, Mississippi
  • Leadership/orgs
    • Black Graduate Student Association
    • Biology Graduate Student Association
    • 2013-2014 UNL Graduate Student Ambassador
  • Hobbies/interests Watching football and other sports, working out, collecting DVDs, playing softball
  • Things to know about me I’m humble with the spirit of an old man.
  • Fun facts Played college football against Javon Walker.