Rasmussen, Retzlaff named to PTK All-State academic team

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by jamesc  5/4/2017 3:47:05 PM -- 

LINCOLN, NE – Two Northeast Community College students were recognized in Lincoln recently for being named to the 2017 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Nebraska Academic Team. Krisayla Rasmussen, Norfolk, and Natalie Retzlaff, Pierce, joined 21 other all-state team members from Nebraska’s five other community colleges in a ceremony at the Embassy Suites hotel.

The all-state academic team is sponsored by PTK – an international honor society for two-year colleges – and the Nebraska Community College Association, to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community service.

Courtney Dentlinger, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, told the honorees they are a treasured resource that will help the state grow.

“Quite honestly, I cannot do my job without your passion for your careers. We have a lot of open jobs in this state. Our people are our greatest resource, but we don’t have enough of them…and we are losing far too many young people to other states and other cities.”

Dentlinger, who has college degrees from institutions in Nebraska and Washington D.C., said she wished she had someone tell her, early on, about the great opportunities that could found in the State of Nebraska.

“When I was growing up here, no one told me to leave, but they certainly didn’t tell me about the incredible opportunities that existed right in my backyard. They didn’t reinforce for me the quality of life that we have here.”

An acquaintance constantly reminded her of opportunities that existed in Nebraska. She said that prompting helped lure her back to her home state where she saw the opportunities she was told about.

Dentlinger said as director of economic development for the State of Nebraska, she hears constantly from employers who are seeking a skilled workforce in every type of position, but they can’t find enough applicants.

“I have made it a personal mission of mine to make sure that I’m sharing this story and that others become ambassadors for the State of Nebraska and also share this story with you and the youth of this state. There is no better place to live, to work, to grow…and to eventually raise a family, than the State of Nebraska.”   

“As graduates with (community college) associate degrees, you will have the opportunity to power our economy going forward; to join and build existing businesses or start your own business,” she said. “I hope you do that right here in Nebraska. Congratulations for all you are doing to build your own futures and with all that is yet to be and everything that you will do in your individual careers.”

The 23 honorees were each introduced and presented Nebraska All-State Academic Team medallions and certificates. 

Retzlaff is a business administration major at Northeast in Norfolk. She plans to transfer to Wayne State College to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in environmental studies.

She is vice president of leadership for Northeast’s Tau Chi PTK Chapter and served as a guest speaker at the 2015 Norfolk Special Olympics Banquet. She has been on Northeast’s President’s and Dean’s lists, has earned a Susan T. Buffet Foundation Scholarship and is a PTK-Northeast Community College Scholarship recipient.

Retzlaff was one of the students selected to speak at the event. She said her education is very important to her and that she loves to learn. But she shared with those in the audience that wasn’t always the case.

“Growing up, I did not like school because of my learning disability. My disability has always made school more challenging for me than the average person, but I love a challenge. My learning disability taught me the value of hard work and that good things come to those who constantly strive to achieve their goals.” 

Retzlaff said she had to work hard in college, but the work paid off after she was named to Northeast’s academic honor lists. She said her work with Phi Theta Kappa gave her confidence in her studies that she was lacking.

“PTK helped give me the motivation to continue to work hard and pursue my goals. I also gained confidence through attending international and regional events along with campus events. The skills and confidence Phi Theta Kappa gave me are indescribable. I am so grateful I have been able to be a part of such an incredible society. This organization, without a doubt, changed my life in the best ways possible.”

Rasmussen is also a business administration major at Northeast in Norfolk. She plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in international business. She is vice president of the Student Government Association, secretary of the Northeast’s Tau Chi Chapter and is a mentor for Teammates.  She has been named to Northeast’s President’s and Dean’s lists and has earned a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.

Rasmussen said she wants to assist others in need.

“I intend to start a non-profit organization that provides resources to impoverished people worldwide…how best to improve social and economic circumstances of their respective countries.” 

Phi Theta Kappa, two-year college presidents, and community college state associations co-sponsor
All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 32 states. All-State Team members receive special recognition including medallions, certificates, and oftentimes stipends and scholarships.

Each two-year college in Nebraska may nominate two students per campus to the All-USA Academic Team. Students from Nebraska nominated to the national team comprise the All-Nebraska Academic Team. Nominations are based on outstanding academic performance and service to the college and community.

Northeast Phi Theta Kappa Tau Chi Chapter sponsors are Colleen Barnes, criminal justice/sociology instructor, Amanda Nipp, vice president of student services, and Andrea Suhr, physical therapy assistant instructor.





PHOTO IDs: Krisayla Rasmussen, Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, and Natalie Retzlaff.

Posted In -- Degrees and Programs, Honors, Norfolk, Press Releases, PTK, Special Events, Students and Alumni

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