The University of Nebraska–Lincoln recently honored six individuals and one student organization during its annual Nebraska Diversity, Equity and Inclusion awards.
Organized by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the honors recognize individuals and groups who actively advance diversity, equity and inclusion in transformative and sustainable ways on campus and in the community.
The University Communication and Marketing team reached out to the honorees to learn more about what drives them to help build a more inclusive community on campus and in the broader community. The series concludes with Daelyn Zagurski, a senior fisheries and wildlife major who earned the Promising Leader Award for an undergraduate.
Zagurski is a former undergraduate research assistant for the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project and the current president of the University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange. She grew up on a reservation and continues to serve as a mentor to high school students participating in the Winnebago Academy.
Her community outreach also includes organizing an experiential trip for students and serving on student panels for Lincoln Public Schools and the university.
What does receiving the Promising Leader Award mean to you?
Receiving the Promising Leader Award makes me feel very grateful and shocked that people see promising leader qualities in the work that I’ve done. It means a lot to me that I was able to do enough work and get recognized for my contributions. Getting this award means that someone recognized my hard work over the years and felt confident enough to nominate me for it. Receiving this award makes me want to work even harder in my future plans and in my personal connections.
What do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
In my lifetime, there’s so many things that I’d like to accomplish. I will travel and work with a lot of different animals and people so that I can learn a lot more in a hands-on way. In the future, I want to move back to my reservation and make changes to our Wildlife and Parks by allocating more environmentally friendly lifestyle changes as well as rounding up stray dogs and cats on the reservation. For this, I’d like to make an animal shelter on my reservation to set these animals up for adoption and reduce the number of strays. I also want to create a wildlife sanctuary and rehab on my reservation and create internship opportunities working with wildlife for high school students on the reservation to get them interested in a higher education field.
What or who inspires you?
A lot of inspiration comes from my goals for the future. If I want my goals to happen, I have to work for it. That’s something that keeps me going a lot of the time when I have no motivation, is that internal willpower to keep going. I am also lucky to have my family, friends, and school advisors that push me to reach my goals.
What is your advice to others looking to make an impact?
My advice to others looking to make an impact is to get involved. I joined UNITE and most of my commitments occurred just from being in UNITE. I was able to participate in events and have leadership opportunities. Another thing I would say is to use your voice. You won’t get anywhere by staying quiet. I am usually a quieter person, but I speak when it’s needed, and I speak to encourage others.