The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 09, 1998, Page 3, Image 3

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    Rhodes scholarship propels student from Omaha to Oxford
By Kim Sweet
Staff writer
Jennifer Gruber decided she want
ed to be an astronaut when she was 8
years old
The Omaha native, who attends
Boston University in Massachusetts,
may be on her way to achieving that
goal after being chosen as one of 32
Rhodes scholars from across die nation
The aerospace engineering major,
who intends to enroll in a doctoral pro
gram in ion propulsion, had to fulfill a
number of qualifications to receive the
full-ride scholarship to Oxford
University in England
Though academics were important,
Gruber also had to prove that she had an
interest in helping others.
This qualification wasn’t difficult
for Gruber to fill. While she was
employed at NASA in Houston last
year, she worked in inner-city schools
talking to children about the space pro
gram. ,
Working with inner-city school
children is something that Gruber is
personally motivated to do. Growing up
in a trailer park in Omaha, she said, she
has witnessed the problems inner-city
students experience.
“I saw some of the kids I grew up
with participate in self-destructive
behavior;” Gruber said
Seeing students participate in this
behavior motivated Gruber even more.
“I had the dream ofbeing an astro
naut,” Gruber said “I’ve always worked
for that with the passions and talents
I’ve been given.”
Working with inner-city students
isn’t the only goal Gruber accom
plished while working with NASA.
Software that she designed is used
in the mission control center in
Houston. It w as used to perform a
maneuver on the Russian space station
Mir, she said Gruber’s father, Thomas,
is not surprised at his daughter’s suc
cesses. After watching his daughter
grow up with ap “Evel Knievel” atti
f '■ ————
I’m still a Husker fan -1 will be for
the rest of my life.”
Jennifer Gruber
Rhodes scholar
tude, ready to do anything, Thomas
Gruber said he always encouraged his
children to go after their dreams.
“We tell them they can accomplish
anything if they work hard enough at
that particular thing,” he said.
Jennifer Gruber decided to go to
Boston University over a Nebraska
school because she admired BU’s
respected program in aerospace engi
neering, as well as the diverse popula
tion of its students.
But Gruber’s loyalties will always
he in Nebraska, she said.
‘Tm stm a Husker fan -1 will be for
the rest of my life.”
Clarke wants minorities
to feel welcome at NU
CLARKE from page 1
color must support the university to
accomplish her goal of recruiting and
retaining more minority and women
faculty members and staff to the NU
“If you don’t have a community to
come to, you’re not going to stay,” she
One of the things that will help
improve this community is education.
Clarke has discovered that many peo
ple need to be enlightened on sensi
tivity and how to interact with minor
ity populations.
An idea Clarke hopes will combat
this problem is bringing in a group of
speakers who are knowledgeable
about the University of Nebraska sys
tem who could provide education to
groups, whether they are faculty
members, staff or students.
Linda Crump, director of UNL’s
affirmative action and diversity pro
grams, said the addition of Clarke’s
office is one that is beneficial to the
entire university system.
By being a voice to the central
administration, Crump said, Clarke
will be able to bring up diversity and
equity issues the administration was
not aware of.
The addition of a person to over
see the diversity efforts on all four
campuses will help them share pro
grams that are successful, Crump
Sharing ideas between campuses
is something Clarke said she is excit
ed about
Each campus has used different
means in accomplishing diversity.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha
has a program that tries to educate
people on different attitudes people
have about minority issues. The
Medical Center has a program that
tries to bring in women from under
represented minorities, Clarke said.
By collaborating, she said, all four
campuses can benefit from one
John Harris, special assistant to -
the UNL vice chancellor for student
affairs, said that having Clarke hold
all the campuses accountable will be
beneficial to the diversity cause.
“She brings the knowledge base
that says you can pay now, or you can
pay later,” Harris said.
The commitment the administra
tion has shown in starting initiatives
from the top down, with Clarke, will
also help diversity issues on the cam
puses of NU, he said.
With efforts like these, Clarke
hopes the University of Nebraska will
become more representative of
Nebraska’ population. Once this hap
pens, students will be prepared to
enter the world after graduation.
By not exposing students to situa
tions involving people of color,
Clarke said we are doing them a “dis
“You are missing a major perspec
tive, and you are not going to be pre
pared to live In a globally diverse
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