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Alumni homecoming spotlights global Husker pride
International travel may still be limited due to the pandemic – but that doesn’t stop Husker pride traveling around the world.
In an effort to reconnect with alumni and former exchange students in the global Husker family, the Nebraska Alumni Association launched the Global Alumni Virtual Homecoming celebration this year with support from the Office of Global Strategies. Huskers around the world were invited to share a photo, a special Homecoming message or one of their favorite memories from their time at Nebraska. Throughout the week of Oct. 26-31, the messages have been shared across social media, including the stories of Raghav Kidambi, Natália Ribiero and Carlos Martinez.
Unforgettable Memories: Raghav Kidambi
Raghav Kidambi, a 2019 College of Business alumnus originally from Chennai, India, came to Nebraska because of the strength of the Husker spirit. After receiving a personal phone call from the Admissions staff while in India and earning a Global Laureate Scholarship, Kidambi was sold on becoming a Husker.
“UNL affected my life in a unique way - the friends I made at UNL are still my best friends, my professors who taught me at UNL are still my strongest supporters, and the life experiences I relished at UNL still teaches me how to make the most out of my opportunities,” said Kidambi.
While at Nebraska, Kidambi was involved in the College of Business’s Student Ethics Board, served on the Student Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and was Vice President of the Society for Human Resource Management. After graduating with a degree in management and completing an OPT stint with the Office of Global Strategies, Raghav is now earning his master’s degree in business analytics at the University of Denver.
According to Kidambi, “The best part about being a Husker is knowing that I have another place I can call ‘home.’”
Appreciating Nebraska: Natália Ribiero
When Natália Ribeiro first came to Nebraska as an exchange student in 2015, she was excited to take food science courses and study abroad. What she didn’t anticipate was falling in love with UNL and the people she met.
“Nebraska is a place that means the world to me,” said Ribeiro. “It’s where I got to know myself and where I made friends that are actually family to me.”
Ribeiro came to Nebraska through the Brazilian Science Without Borders Program. In addition to her food science classes, she worked with Chris Calkins in his research lab on fresh meats. The project ended up being one of her favorite experiences during her exchange year that seeded a passion for science-based research.
After completing her undergraduate thesis with flying colors back in Brazil, Ribeiro returned to Nebraska in the fall of 2019 as a research scholar with Amanda Ramer-Tait. For the next few months, she worked with researchers to examine the impact of resistant starch on microorganisms in the gut and how it affects personal health. In addition to being inspired by her research mentors, Ribeiro credits her scholar experience as fundamental to being admitted to one of the most prestigious food science graduate programs at the University of California-Davis.
“The most important thing I learned is that, when we have purpose in our hearts, we can make anything happen. And that we’ll find whole hearted people along the way that will help us through sharing their knowledge, experience and truly cheer for us.”
Currently, Ribeiro is in her home country of Brazil, taking graduate classes remotely. She hopes to return to the U.S. soon and looks forward to coming back to Nebraska to reconnect with her researchers and friends.
“Being a Husker means dreaming BIG and working towards those dreams, no matter what people tell you!” said Ribeiro. “I miss Nebraska so much — it will always be my home and I am forever thankful for everything I’ve experienced there!”
Growing Professionally: Carlos Roberto Martinez
Carlos Roberto Martinez spent most of his life involved with agriculture after growing up on his family’s farm in El Salvador. Yet he didn’t formally study agriculture — until he enrolled in courses at Nebraska.
Martinez initially began courses through the Agronomy and Horticulture Online and Distance Education program, starting with a noncredit course in plan science. By the end, Martinez had learned a lot that would make a difference in managing his family farm.
“It is a great honor to have studied at UNL,” said Martinez. “My professional practice has improved a lot due to the acquired knowledge.”
A few years ago, while teaching part-time at the Catholic University in El Salvador, Martinez began his master’s in agronomy and horticulture online through a USAID partnership. Martinez was assigned Charles Francis for his advisor, who encouraged him to complete a valuable thesis on biological controls for pest problems in vegetable crops.
“Professor Francis was so encouraging and really challenged me to give it my all and work hard to accomplish my goals,” Martinez said.
After earning his graduate degree in 2019, Martinez has continued to manage his family farm and teach full-time at the Catholic University of El Salvador. After accomplishing so much, Martinez is still excited about new opportunities and is currently working to agriculture-based computer applications.
Read all of the special messages from the 2020 Global Alumni Virtual Homecoming on the Nebraska Alumni Association’s Facebook page.