Advisory Committee Principal

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Dr. Rachael Arens

Dr. Rachael Arens is a Curriculum Specialist and Director of College and Career Academies and Pathways for Westview High School. She has been with the Omaha Public Schools District since 2014 and has served as a Science Teacher, Next Level Learning summer Principal, and Girls Assistant Cross Country Coach. Outside of Westview, Dr. Arens serves as a lead for the NASA Rural Affinity Committee and is a board member on the United States Environmental Protection Agency National Environmental Education Advisory Council. Dr. Arens was honored with the 2020 Air Force Association/Rolls Royce National STEM Teacher of the Year, the Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, and the National Education Association 2018 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Award of Excellence. Three of her most memorable opportunities as an educator include working at NASA as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, serving as a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow in the Galapagos Islands, and serving as a National Education Association Global Learning Fellow in South Africa. 

 

Dr. Arens has a passion for service-learning and building opportunities for students to work within the community and connect their curriculum to real-life careers and projects. 

Advisory Committee President

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Mrs. Amy Cherko

Amy (she/her) is an environmental scientist serving as senior team leader for Olsson’s environmental team, overseeing industry-specific growth strategy, staff management, market financial performance, and long-term operating plans. She is a proud 2nd generation Omaha South and UNO biology graduate and is honored to bring her love for Omaha to the Pathways program. Amy has a passion for biology, birds, live music, and wilderness. She lives in North Omaha with her family and urban prairie. 

Committee Member

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Mrs. Jen Bober

Jen Bober is the Director of Recruitment and a Realtor with Nebraska Realty. As a home grown, local, real estate brokerage it is important to be part of the our community. Nebraska Realty values our objective to offer time and expertise to the students at Westview. The partnership with our firm and Westview is something we cherish.

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Mrs. Melissa Elvig

Melissa Elvig is the Coordinator of QLI’s IMPACT Workforce Development Program. QLI is a nationally recognized healthcare provider of rehabilitation and care for individuals with a brain or spinal cord injury located right here in Omaha. Melissa joined QLI as a Registered Nurse ten years ago, going on to earn an advanced certification in rehabilitation nursing. After impacting hundreds of lives at QLI as a clinical nurse, Melissa redirected her skills toward building a unique training and internship program focused on expanding Omaha’s healthcare workforce. IMPACT leverages QLI’s expertise in learning and their award-winning culture to provide high school students and recent graduates hands-on training, extensive mentoring, and additional supportive measures to create a meaningful career pathway for individuals interested in healthcare.

Melissa is passionate nurse, mom, and youth mentor who can be often found taste testing and ranking the ranch dressing at local restaurants.

Committee Member

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Dr. Sam Wilkins

Dr. Sam Wilkins is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Education Coordinator for the Athletic Training Program in the School of Health and Kinesiology at UNO. Dr. Wilkins teaches courses related to athletic training and sports medicine. His research focuses on early sport specialization and injury risk in youth sports, injuries in throwing athletes, and using patient-reported outcome measures to assess performance and injury risk. He is also involved in service to the athletic training profession at the local, state, regional and national levels through work on various committees, particularly related to work around education, assessment and governmental affairs.

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Mr. Austen Hill

Austen Hill is the Education Programs Supervisor for the Papio-Missouri River NRD. Born and raised in Omaha, NE, Austen has always valued the state’s unique natural beauty through camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and bird watching.  He is excited to contribute to the Career Pathways, hoping to influence a new generation in pursuing natural resource careers and protecting our state’s valuable historical, agricultural, and natural resources for the future.

Comittee Member

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Mrs. Jamie Wagner

Jamie works for the Omaha Public Power District as a Community Relations Project Manager. She engages with nonprofits, schools, neighborhood associations and other community organizations to find ways to partner with OPPD. One of the best parts of Jamie's role is working with schools to help get students excited about careers in STEM. 

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Mrs. Hanna Pinneo

Hanna is the executive director of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, a non-profit that Plants Nebraska for healthy people, vibrant communities, and a resilient environment. With a background in environmental education, Hanna is passionate about mentoring students with interests in environmentally focused careers. She is pleased to be part of the Westview Advisory Board to help connect the students and faculty with tree-related opportunities both close to home in Omaha and across the state. 

Comittee Member

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Dr. Angie Hawkins

Angie has been a pharmacist at Nebraska Medicine since 2002, and couldn't imagine working anywhere else.  She is passionate about OPS students being better represented amongst our health care professions as she is #OPSProud K-12.  When she is not at work, Angie loves being a mom to her 4 kids, 2 cats, and dog.  She also volunteers at her church where her husband is a pastor, and she is the president/co-founder of the Omaha Northwest High School Foundation. 

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Mr. Steve Rodie

After a 26-year teaching, research and extension career at the University of Nebraska, Rodie is currently Professor Emeritus of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). He is also a licensed landscape architect, and a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects. Professor Rodie has worked on numerous service learning projects combining UNO students and OPS students to design and build rain gardens and outdoor classrooms; conduct school waste audits; and co-author environmental legislation. He is currently involved with the design, planting and implementation of the Westview High School Arboretum.

Comittee Member

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Mr. Scott Keenan

Scott was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where he graduated from Omaha Roncalli High School. He then attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he received his Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. Scott was a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant in the Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Omaha while completing his Master's degree. He then went on to attend Creighton University where he received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Scott completed an Orthopedic Residency through Creighton University, and is certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Scott is an American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) board certified
Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) Scott is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Nebraska Physical Therapy Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.