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Jean Parker-Morris

A New

Pursuing dreams with a network of support to succeed.

When Jean Parker-Morris first stepped foot on Nebraska’s campus, she felt something special. As she works to earn her degree, she knows she is making her family proud.
– Jean Parker-Morris –

My first tour of Nebraska was when I was a high school sophomore. It felt like a dream. I thought the campus was so big and beautiful. My family members have always been big Husker fans. I knew they would’ve loved to see what I was seeing. When I left, I knew it would be a dream come true to go to school at Nebraska. I can’t really explain it, but the campus felt like magic to me.

My first few days as a student were busy with the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA), which is my scholarship program, and the NSE (New Student Enrollment) events. I felt like I didn’t really have time to be nervous, but I was. From growing up in a small town where you know everyone to going to a big school where you don’t know anyone was a little scary. But everyone here was so friendly. I just took it one day at a time.

I'm the first in my family to attend a four-year university and to stay as long as I have. Being a Husker for me is about making my family proud. I do put a little more pressure on myself being the first. If I don't graduate, I feel like I will let my family down. But I know just by being here, I am making them proud. Last semester, my auntie visited me on campus and told me she was proud of me for persevering through the ups and downs of college.

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Jean has found a piece of home in UNITE and is learning to create new traditions as a leader.

I am a part of the University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange (UNITE), a student organization that empowers Native American students through academic and professional development. It makes me feel appreciated as a whole person because being Native American is a big part of who I am and how I grew up. UNITE has helped me find my community on campus. It feels nice to be around other Native Americans at school, and I don’t feel so different or alone. This spring, UNITE hosted its annual powwow to honor recent and upcoming Native American and indigenous graduates for the first time in a few years. I celebrated powwows growing up, but this was my first time planning and introducing it to the campus community, so it was a learning experience.

“I knew it would be a dream come true to go to school at Nebraska.”

— Jean Parker-Morris

When college life has brought new challenges, Jean has found comfort and support from NCPA.

I love the NCPA staff. Throughout my college experience, I’ve been able to go to them and talk, not just about school, but about what’s stressing me out in life. I know they care. When I think about my time at Nebraska, it’s the memories I’ve made with my friends and spending time with the NCPA staff I cherish most.

This past school year was the most challenging. When I went back to campus after taking online classes for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I struggled to juggle my classes and outside-of-class responsibilities. I confided in the NCPA staff because I knew they would listen and care. They gave me a place to go to talk about my feelings. I also went to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) a few times during my junior year. More than anyone, my family supported me by talking to me on the phone when I couldn’t be with them.

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Jean hasn’t taken for granted what it means to attend college. Her advice for students is to go where they feel valued and at home.

Being a Husker to me means trying to do good for myself. Where I am from, many people do not have the opportunity to go to college. Getting my education is a really big deal. My advice for high school students is to go to the school where you feel has the most support and feels like home. When I came here for a tour, it really did feel like a dream. I loved it here. It felt right.