Editor’s Note — This is part of a Women’s History Month series featuring women who make a positive impact on the campus community through their work as office/service employees. The Women of Service series is organized by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Stories will run in Nebraska Today through March 30.
Nebraska’s Selma De Anda Gallegos is helping at promise youth discover paths to higher education.
An education specialist with TRIO’s Educational Talent Search program, De Anda Gallegos works directly with students attending Lincoln-area junior and senior high schools that historically serve a greater percentage of low income families. The program, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, supplies counseling; information about college admissions requirements, scholarships, and financial aid; and experiential opportunities on campus.
And, as part of the program, De Anda Gallegos — who is a first-generation college graduate — leads weekly after-school clubs at Park and Lefler middle schools, and Lincoln High School.
“Those weekly clubs are my absolute favorite activity,” De Anda Gallegos said. “They are an incredible opportunity to connect with the students and show them how college can be a reality.”
Katherine Montoya, residence director at the Knoll Residential Center, said that De Anda Gallegos is a great role model for young scholars.
“Selma helps young students feel connected to their school, UNL and Lincoln as a whole,” Montoya said. “She changes the lives of students, opening them up to opportunities and knowledge that help them discover their own power.”
De Anda Gallegos also serves as a necessary resource for guidance and advice to colleagues on campus.
The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women reached out to get to know De Anda Gallegos and learn more about her dedication to students, faculty and staff at Nebraska U. Her interview follows.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a first-generation graduate, a Latina and my hometown is South Sioux City, Nebraska. I moved to Lincoln to complete my bachelor’s degree, and I made so many connections on campus and fell in love with the city. I was involved with the Mexican American Student Association, the TRIO - Student Support Services, the Define American Chapter and the Susan Thompson Buffett Scholarship community — just to name a few. I am currently serving as an education specialist for the TRIO - Educational Talent Search program. Through the ETS program, I work with low-income, first-generation middle and high school youth to help prepare them for college.
What do you look forward to when you come to work?
I look forward to meeting with my ETS Park, Lefler, and Lincoln High School scholars to help them explore different colleges and careers. My absolute favorite activity is facilitating my weekly after-school clubs at each of those schools. They offer an opportunity to really connect one-on-one with my ETS scholars. It’s also a time where I really get to see the personality come out in each of the scholars.
What is your favorite memory at the university?
My favorite memory of is when I traveled to Chicago with the Mexican American Student Association for the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute conference with other MASA friends.
What is your life like outside of work?
Outside of work I spend most mornings running and doing strength training at the UNL Rec. I also enjoy going home to South Sioux City to visit my family and spend time with my siblings, nieces and nephews.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I am really good at drawing cartoons.