Meet our ambassadors

Adrian Lara
Adrian Lara
  • Program/level: Computer Science PhD, 3rd Year
  • Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Prior education: BS and MSc in Computer Science, University of Costa Rica
  • Leadership/professional orgs: IT security in the Costa Rican Central Bank, Internship at Lawrence Berkeley Lab
  • Hobbies/interests: Sports! Tennis, Triathlon, Soccer. Books! All kinds of historic novels and suspense.
  • Things to know about me: I love teaching. I look forward to an academic career in Costa Rica.
  • Fun facts: 1. Costa Rica is the happiest country. 2. Lincoln is the happiest city. 3. Looks like I bring happiness with myself. ;)
Christy Burger
Christy Burger
  • Program/level: Community Nutrition and Health Promotion (MS) 2nd Semester
  • Hometown: Omaha, NE
  • Prior education: Nutrition Dietetics, UNL
  • Leadership/professional orgs: In my undergrad career I was involved in the UNL Residents Hall Association (RHA), I was a member of the event community and also had the opportunity to travel to a regional and National conference. I was also the Smith Hall president and a member of the Harper, Schramm, Smith resident association (HSSRA).
  • Hobbies/interests: I really enjoy being active, I love running and doing yoga. I also really like to cook and to travel. I have been to Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy.
  • Things to know about me: I have interest in two different areas of nutrition. The first is working in community based nutrition. This would focus in working with different populations in order to provide better understanding of nutrition in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. The other area of interest is in the food industry. This would focus in product development as well as in labeling and regulations.
  • Fun facts: I have been twirling baton since the 2nd grade. My team holds many local, national and world titles. In April 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland as a member of the USA twirling team. Our team (located in LaVista) brought home our second world championship title!
Dave Stamps
Dave Stamps
  • Program/level: DMA – Jazz composition (3rd year)
  • Hometown: Miami, FL
  • Prior education: Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (BM), Northern Illinois University (MM), University of South Florida (MM)
  • Leadership/professional orgs: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Jazz Education Network, International Trombone Association, P. Kappa Lambda, Liberace Scholars
  • Hobbies/interests: Football, fly-fishing, movies, playing games with family
  • Things to know about me: Passionate about music entrepreneurship and career development. Goals: Research overseas, create youth jazz programs, and expand reach of jazz composition resources.
  • Fun facts: Resident faculty at National Conservatory of Music in Bucharest (Romania) – 2011 and 2013. Love to travel. Proud husband and parent.
Derek A. Schardt
Derek A. Schardt
  • Program/level: MBA – Agribusiness (2nd year)
  • Hometown: Wayne, NE
  • Prior education: BA Political Science/History, UNL
  • Leadership/professional orgs: Farmhouse Fraternity alumni vision board, State Dept of Agriculture – grad assistant, IFAMA student member
  • Hobbies/interests: Golf, farming, politics, current events, cinephile
  • Things to know about me: I like to learn about almost everything! I’m inspired by others around me and people/events in history. (I like to read a lot!) I love to golf.
  • Fun facts: I have traveled to every Big 10/Big 12 University with the exception of 3. I grew my first garden this year! (Boring, I know.)
Derrick White
Derrick White
  • Program/level: Biological Sciences (PhD candidate)
  • Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
  • Prior education: Jackson State – BS and MS
  • Leadership/professional orgs: Black Graduate Student Association – President, Microbiology Graduate Student Associate – President; Member of American Society for Microbiology
  • Hobbies/interests: Play softball, collect DVD, work out
  • Things to know about me: Run my own lab (academia) and set up a program to target under-represented males in the STEM
  • Fun facts: LOVE FOOTBALL
Grace Troupe
Grace Troupe
  • Program/level: 1st year Master's Student in Genetics and Plant Breeding with a teaching focus
  • Hometown: Lincoln, NE
  • Prior education: Plant Biology at UNL
  • Leadership/professional orgs: Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association; Genetics, Crop Science, and Plant Science TA; Graduate Ambassador, 2 Pillars Church Volunteer
  • Hobbies/interests: Public outreach, hospitality, meeting international students
  • Things to know about me: Teaching is my passion.  Every time I teach I feel full of energy and excitement.
  • Fun facts: I got into my field in middle school by joining the Lincoln Iris Society and learning to hybridize flowers.  As soon as I graduated high school I was adopted by the plant genetics lab of Dr. Brian Waters where I worked for 4 years. 4-H Clover Mint Ice cream at the UNL Dairy Store is my favorite flavor of all time.
Jennifer (Jenny Beth) Johnson
Jennifer (Jenny Beth) Johnson
  • Program/level: Human Studies, emphasis in Textiles, Merchandising, and Fashion Design and 2nd year doctoral student.
  • Hometown: Bemidji, MN
  • Prior education: Apparel and Textiles program at North Dakota State University and Fashion Institute of Technology – UNL for Masters
  • Leadership/professional orgs: International Textile and Apparel Association Member
  • Hobbies/interests: Sewing, hiking, fishing, photography, shopping, reading, interested in researching consumer socialization and online retailing
  • Things to know about me: My goal is to get my doctoral degree and teach at a four-year university.
  • Fun facts: I started sewing at age 6. I am also an avid Project Runway reality television show fan.
Jess Tate
Jess Tate
  • Program/level: Counseling Psychology, 2nd year PhD student
  • Hometown: Waterloo, IA
  • Prior education: Iowa State Univ – Psychology and Sociology
  • Leadership/professional orgs: American Psychological Association, Graduate Students of Color group (leader)
  • Hobbies/interests: Walking and going to the dog park, kickboxing at Farrell’s
  • Things to know about me: Career Goal: Advocate/Counsel for underserved/underprivileged populations. Wants to create intervention/re-entry program for parolee populations from diverse backgrounds. Highly motivated, assertive.
  • Fun facts: Giant dog named Koda Bear, kickboxing instructor, Iowa State wrestling fan
Jie Cheng
Jie Cheng
  • Program/level: Electrical Engineering, PhD (Fourth year)
  • Hometown: Xiangyang, Hubei Province, China P.R.
  • Prior education: Bachelor in Electrical Engineering, Wuhan University
  • Leadership/professional orgs: President of Chinese Student & Scholar Association
  • Hobbies/interests: Badminton, Seal Engraving (known as Zuanke)
  • Things to know about me: Studying in power system field with strong interest in management and entrepreneurship.
  • Fun facts: Jogging for 10 miles. Exploring traditional Chinese culture.


Contact Maggie Jobes if you have questions or comments about the Ambassador program.