Clifton Strengths Institute at Nebraska selects 45 new coaches

· 5 min read

Clifton Strengths Institute at Nebraska selects 45 new coaches

Students will mentor first-year business undergraduates
Student strengths coaches sit on a staircase
Garrett Stolz | College of Business
The Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently welcomed 45 new student strengths coaches. The coaches serve as mentors to new College of Business students in Professional Enhancement I: Investing in Strengths.

The Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has selected 45 undergraduate students to serve as new strengths coaches for the 2022-23 academic year. The students will join returning coaches to mentor about 1,000 new students in the College of Business enrolled in Professional Enhancement I: Investing in Strengths (BSAD 111).

The required course for all first-year business students empowers them to delve deep into their top strengths from the CliftonStrengths assessment and teaches them how to apply their natural talents across academic, personal and professional experiences.

“Students receive frequent feedback during their first few weeks on campus that informs their identity,” said Tim Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management. “Our focus in BSAD 111 is to ensure that our new College of Business students receive positive feedback, with an intense focus on helping the students build their character and reach their potential. The CliftonStrengths assessment and our time in class gives students a good foundation, but the most impactful development often happens when they meet one-on-one with our amazing student coaches.”

Strengths coaches accepted into the program enrolled in Strengths Coaching, Theory and Practice (MNGT 451) this spring. The class functions as a training course for new strengths coaches, providing an in-depth knowledge of strengths-based development and enhancing the skills necessary to succeed in positively impacting student development.

“The course guides students toward deeper knowledge of self, intentional connection and strengths-based conversation to support College of Business students as they begin their college experience,” said Taylor Lofdahl, assistant director of the Clifton Strengths Institute. “Our coaches truly generate impact by identifying, celebrating and encouraging the talents of first-year students.”

Representing 20 majors and various levels of involvement across campus, student coaches bring their experiences into each coaching session to help foster an inclusive environment to help new business students grow. The MNGT 451 course helps coaches lean into their distinct coaching style.

“The best part about coaching is the range of successful techniques, practices and styles that exist,” Lofdahl said. “Each new coach engages in course discussions, coaching conversations and reflective exercises to identify the unique talents that drive their success as a coach. Each coach develops their own coaching philosophy and style and has the opportunity to grow with and learn from their students as they discuss well-being, engagement and goals for their time at Nebraska.”

Strengths coaches play a key role within the college, striving to bring out the best in people and maximize their talents at the university, where strengths-based psychology originated through the work of Don Clifton. Clifton, who developed the CliftonStrengths assessment, asked the question, “What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?”

Hodges said: “Great coaches ask great questions. Our student strengths coaches serve our mission by investing in the growth and development of students throughout the College of Business.”

To learn more about strengths coaches and the Clifton Strengths Institute, visit

The new strengths coaches for the 2022-23 school year, with their year in school in the spring 2022 semester and academic major(s), are:


  • Beatrice: Avery Plessel, freshman, marketing
  • Brule: Rachel Orth, sophomore, biological sciences
  • Columbus: Simon Schumacher, freshman, business administration
  • Grand Island: Kelly Solis, freshman, business administration and management
  • Holdrege: Carly Janssen, sophomore, marketing
  • Leigh: Cassidy Hoffman, freshman, accounting
  • Lexington: Chris Dominguez, sophomore, finance
  • Lincoln: Anna Coffey, freshman, finance; Nicole Davis, freshman, business administration; Addison Priess, freshman, business administration; Cora Scott, freshman, pre-health; Jacob Vanderford, sophomore, sports media and communication, and music
  • Nebraska City: Ellie Higgins, freshman, secondary education
  • Omaha: Hannah Coldiron, freshman, business administration and biochemistry; Naomi Delkamiller, freshman, journalism, and advertising and public relations; Alex Kiihne, freshman, finance; Olivia Palmer, freshman, marketing; Adella Smolsky, junior, management
  • Springfield: Liz Iverson, junior, marketing
  • Stapleton: Hannah Burnside, freshman, child, youth and family studies
  • Wahoo: Emily Obert, junior, management
  • Waverly: Lindsay Rickers, freshman, marketing and Clifton Builders management


  • San Francisco, California: Julia Kiehn, freshman, economics
  • San Luis Obispo, California: Alexis Haas, freshman, management
  • Tehachapi, California: Z Gividen, sophomore, marketing
  • Longmont, Colorado: Jordan Westenbroek, freshman, business administration
  • Berthoud, Colorado: Ellie Dodd, freshman, management
  • Denver, Colorado: Ellie McWhirter, sophomore, elementary education
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa: Haedyn Jorgenson, freshman, advertising and public relations
  • Glenwood, Iowa: Erin Stanley, junior, marketing
  • Ellicott City, Maryland: Rachel Van Osdel, sophomore, finance
  • Delano, Minnesota: Gabby Paskach, junior, marketing
  • Edina, Minnesota: Lucia Golfis, sophomore, Clifton Builders management
  • Lakeville, Minnesota: Sophie Thomas, freshman, management and marketing
  • Savage, Minnesota: Kelsie Caven, sophomore, Clifton Builders management
  • Shakopee, Minnesota: Carly Gorter, freshman, business administration
  • Lee’s Summit, Missouri: Jack Kemper, freshman, business administration
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Makena Cornelius, freshman, supply chain management
  • Lake Winnebago, Missouri: Sophie Brendel, sophomore, Clifton Builders management
  • Sandy, Utah: Carlie Davis, freshman, management
  • Appleton, Wisconsin: Kaitlyn Pope, sophomore, finance
  • Grafton, Wisconsin: Kate Aleknavicius, freshman, management
  • Sun Prairie, Wisconsin: John Trilling, freshman, business administration
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Penh Pheak, freshman, international business
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Linh Tran, sophomore, marketing

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