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Anderson, Fuhrer, Norman and Figueroa named Norfolk Top 20 Under 40 recipients

Anderson, Fuhrer, Norman and Figueroa named Norfolk Top 20 Under 40 recipients

NORFOLK, Neb. – Four representatives of Northeast Community College have been recognized for their work in the community.

The Top 20 Under 40 list by CONNECT profiles 20 area young professionals who are “growing or excelling in their respective fields” each year. CONNECT, a partnership between Norfolk Now and the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, is designed to engage and empower the next generation of community leaders. The list was determined after community members were asked to consider nominating young professionals who are active in their workplace and in the community. 

Among this year’s recipients are Stacy Anderson, business instructor, Leonor Fuhrer, multicultural coordinator and Emily Norman, director of residence life, at Northeast Community College. Melissa Figueroa, an attorney at Carney Law, P.C., and a member of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board of Directors, has also received the recognition.

Anderson has assisted Northeast by providing trainings and online instructional design of classes, as well as teaching non-credit classes for the community. She is involved in her church, volunteers at school activities for her children and is a volunteer coach for youth sports. She has been a past active committee member for the PATCH Health Fair, the Aftershock program at the Norfolk Middle School and a past volunteer at SMILE Inc.  

Prior to becoming a full-time instructor with Northeast, Anderson served as the associate director of the Norfolk Family YMCA. In her role at “The Y,” she was described as a “great leader” to all full-time and part-time staff and to the members. 

Anderson’s nominator said she has an uplifting and can-do attitude. 

“Stacy shows others that there is nothing they can’t do or work through. She served on many committees and task forces while involved in the YMCA. She is a great example of excellent leadership and has the natural ability to motivate and encourage others. Stacy sees problems as opportunities and is a valuable asset to whomever has the privilege of working with her.” 

Fuhrer was nominated for her involvement in the Woodland Park PTO, Parent to Parent Network, Norfolk Area Diversity Council, Madison County Extension Board, Norfolk Noon Optimists, United Way and Norfolk Public School EDI & Return to School Committee.  

She also served as the coordinator for Immigrant Families Task Force and has worked the statewide
bilingual hotline. Fuhrer is a community consultant for Nebraska Children & Families Foundation and was the former director of the Norfolk Family Coalition. 

Fuhrer’s nominator said that she has not only found ways to excel in her own professional growth but has looked for ways to better the Norfolk community. 

“Leonor is committed to matters of diversity and is always looking for ways to make others feel welcomed in our community by providing resources and interpretation. She is a kind, caring and true professional.”

Norman was nominated for her involvement in the Norfolk community through her work with the Young Professionals Summit, Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education meetings, CONNECT Mentor program with Wayne State College students, Project Homeless Connect, the Pride Festival, and Fork Fest.
She has been recognized as a leader at Northeast where she was promoted from associate director of residence life to director. She demonstrates leadership qualities that keeps students safe and engaged at Northeast. She also has excellent organizational skills. Several achievements for Norman include her efforts to attain her Ph.D. as she continues to grow and learn in all areas of higher education, especially assisting the College and students while navigating through the pandemic.

Norman’s nominator described her as a “rock star.” 

“Emily is a person who cares about the success of students. She goes above and beyond to help students, staff, faculty parents and the community of Norfolk.” 

Originally from California, Figueroa moved to Norfolk three-years ago. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law.

She is involved in various community organizations, currently serving as a CONNECT executive team member and on the Norfolk Area Diversity Council Board. She is also is a member of the Norfolk City Planning Commission and the Northeast Foundation Board.

As a first-generation college graduate, Figueroa believes that education is indispensable and that organizations like the Northeast Community College Foundation are crucial to providing access to educational opportunities.

Her nominator said Figueroa’s work on the Norfolk Planning Commission is especially beneficial to the community.

“Planning Commission members are not compensated for their service to the community. (The) commission meets twice a month and, in addition to that time dedication, Mel also serves on the subcommittee for the group. This often thankless job is critical for orderly community growth.” 
An article on recipients of the Top 20 Under 40 awards has been published in the 2022 Spring/Summer edition of Norfolk Now magazine and on the Norfolk now website at Copies of the magazine are available at the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, 609 W. Norfolk Ave.


PHOTO IDs: Top row (from left) Stacy Anderson, Leonor Fuhrer. Bottom row (from left) Emily Norman, Melissa Figueroa.