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Riha Karney

Grad School
Game Plan

Growing skills through learning experiences.

After exploring a few majors, Riha Karney found a career path that includes graduate school.
– Riha Karney –

When I was looking at colleges and deciding where to go, I wanted to attend a college where I would feel comfortable, safe and have lots of opportunities. I’m from Omaha, so Nebraska seemed liked the perfect middle ground between getting a little distance and being able to go home when I need to.

Nebraska is such a big campus; I knew there would be so many opportunities. I saw all the student organizations here and I felt like Nebraska had so much to offer—people in Nebraska are just so friendly! I’m also a Regents Scholar; getting that financial assistance helped my decision as well.

I’ve switched my major a few times. I came here undecided pre-health, and I’ve been a biochemistry major and chemistry major. I had the goal of being a doctor for a long time, but when I got to college, I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I started meeting with advisors to explore other majors, and I stumbled upon communication sciences and disorders. After doing some research and job shadowing, I realized I had found what I wanted to do.

I want to become a practicing speech language pathologist (SLP), and to do that, I need to get my master’s degree in speech language pathology. I want to help people with speech sound disorders, language disorders and developmental disorders related to communication.

Professors and mentors have helped Riha while she is at Nebraska—and she knows they will be a source of support when it comes time to apply for grad school.
Riha in front of a brick wall with art on it

I have advisors and professors I’ve built relationships with who I know I can go to for help when I apply for grad school. The smaller class sizes in the communication sciences and disorders field have helped me feel much closer with my professors.

Advisors at Nebraska have been helpful. My academic advisor through the College of Education and Human Sciences is always willing to answer any of my questions. When I randomly think of things and get stressed at midnight, I email her, and she’s always so supportive. When I was switching majors, I also met with advisors in the Explore Center.

The Honors Program has been great. It gives you that close network of people and a community you always know is there for you. I lived in Honors housing my freshman year, and I feel like that helped me meet people and get involved. To be totally honest, I don’t know where I’d be without Honors. Shannon Mangram is an advisor through the Honors program, and I go to her whenever I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.

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Through involvement and undergraduate research, Riha is building a grad school application that stands out.

My freshman year, I was kind of scared to figure out what I wanted to do. As the years have progressed, I’ve become more involved. I’m doing research in a speech language pathology-oriented lab called the BELL lab, and it focuses on literacy of bilingual students. Dr. Mark Goodrich is the primary investigator of the lab. Because English isn’t my first language, and I remember how hard English was to learn as a second language, the BELL lab is especially interesting to me.

Right now, I’m in student government (ASUN), and I was recently elected to be a senator for my college, which is exciting. I'm also a leader in the Honors Peer Mentor program and a mentor for NHRI (Nebraska Human Resources Institute); I mentor a ninth-grade student at Lincoln Southwest High School as part of the Honors Afterschool Clubs. Recently, I got accepted into the Innocents Society, which is the Chancellor’s senior honor society. I also work at the UNL Children's Center as a preschool teacher. Working there, I’ve learned that preschoolers are the age group I want to work with in the future!

“Get involved as early as you can—not just to build your resume or get into grad school, but to find out what you’re passionate about.”

— Riha Karney

Riha’s advice to students is to get involved and take advantage of leadership experiences.

Get involved as early as you can—not just to build your resume or get into grad school, but to find out what you’re passionate about. Through all my extracurriculars, I’ve had a lot of leadership experiences that I know have prepared me for grad school applications.