Thirty-five students are starting their journey this fall as the latest cohort of Clifton Builders at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The program continues to grow in its sixth year as a part of the Clifton Strengths Institute, enabling its students to learn from, study alongside and network with fellow entrepreneurial-minded individuals.
Builders declare a Clifton Builders management major or minor, participate in activities in the College of Business, consult with local businesses and more.
Designed by Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, the program aims to help Nebraska, the nation and the world identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs and business developers. Students are admitted to the program based on a combination of their Gallup Builder Profile 10 assessment results, application strength and interview performance.
“The program was created to find and develop entrepreneurs, startup types, rainmakers and extraordinarily talented salespeople and leaders — people who have a natural gift to create economic energy where none existed before,” Clifton said.
Tim Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, said the Clifton Builders management major and minor equip students with tools to build, lead and manage people. The program consists of three tracks: business builder, team builder and community builder. Experiential components of each track provide students with elite real-world experiences that will make them a disruptive force in industry.
“The students in our Clifton Builders Program have natural talents that help them create a positive impact in their communities, businesses and teams,” Hodges said. “They have been called ‘disruptive’ — a term not always seen as a positive. But we believe there is no changing the future without disrupting the present. Disruption is not a threat, it is an invitation to move on and to redefine normal, especially in trying times such as a pandemic. These students have what it takes to lead us to a better future.”
Students are typically selected in their first year and begin courses the next fall. First-year students of all majors who aspire to change the world by building businesses, teams or communities through leadership and involvement should apply. Applications for the fall 2022 cohort are due Oct. 16. Learn more.
The 2021 cohort of Clifton Builders are:
- Arcadia: AJ Garrelts, sophomore, actuarial science
- Bennington: Connor Utech, junior, accounting
- Elkhorn: Ben Pick, sophomore, finance; Tyler Lampkin, junior, actuarial science
- Friend: Kate Houlden, sophomore, accounting
- Grand Island: Isaac Alberts, sophomore, finance
- Hickman: Evan Melcher, junior, finance
- La Vista: Ethen Lamp, sophomore, management; Jack Patzner, junior, finance
- Lincoln: Nick Coffey, sophomore, finance
- Omaha: Jayden Eakin, junior, accounting; Josh Ferdico, junior, management; Isha Kishore, sophomore, business administration; Lauren Lael Lewis, junior, marketing; Michelle Lucio-Hernandez, sophomore, international business; Aaryan Naik, junior, economics; Matthew Pleiss, sophomore, finance
- Springfield: Elizabeth Iverson, junior, business administration
- York: Bailey Robinson, junior, management
- Bartlett, Illinois: Haley Szymczak, junior, accounting
- Downers Grove, Illinois: Benjamin Cash, sophomore, finance
- New Baden, Illinois: Andrew Tasker, junior, finance and computer science
- Overland Park, Kansas: James Eshleman, sophomore, business administration; Sam Murphy, sophomore, management
- Ellicott City, Maryland: Rachel Van Osdel, sophomore, finance
- Edina, Minnesota: Lucia Golfis, sophomore, business administration
- Magnolia, Minnesota: Sara Knips, sophomore, management
- Prior Lake, Minnesota: Nick Larson, sophomore, finance
- Savage, Minnesota: Kelsie Caven, sophomore, management
- Greenwood, Missouri: Sophie Brendel, junior, psychology and political science
- Lee’s Summit, Missouri: Carmella Bailey, junior, advertising and public relations
- Grand Forks, North Dakota: Taylor Durbin, sophomore, management and marketing
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Brayton Heinz, sophomore, finance and management
- North Richland Hills, Texas: Payson Loibl, sophomore, business administration
- Cancún, Mexico: Eduardo Sicilia, sophomore, management