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Golden Torch event forges mentorships


Sydney Norris

Antelope Staff

The Gold Torch Society meets every year in November.  This event is a chance for college women to meet professional women in similar careers and gain some advice on the career field, while creating a mentorship and building each other up. 

“We are here to light each other’s torch, help each other on their way, be good to each other, mentor each other and build each other,” said Michelle Widger, the director of Gold Torch Society, assistant director of communications for the UNK Alumni Association and a part-time lecturer for the Department of Communication.  

Alumni women with a variety of job titles and 24 UNK college women gathered for a weekend of conversation, laughter, life advice and career do’s and don’ts on Nov. 3 & 4. 

Katherine Coker, a senior from Birmingham, Alabama, with a major in journalism and a minor in photography, was one of the 24 students selected to attend. 

Coker’s mentor Kelly Petersen presented Coker with a golden glass torch made by the glass blowing professor, Steven Ramsey. “I am very excited to help and watch her journey as she progresses through UNK and onward,” Petersen said as she handed Coker the glass torch. 

Coker expressed her gratitude for the Gold Torch Society. “The Golden Torch Society gives me this amazing opportunity to have a group of successful women in my life who can guide me and advise me as I move forward toward my goals,” Coker said. 

Saturday morning, the ladies entered the Alumni House for breakfast, conversation and a day filled with speakers, discussions and moments of laughter. Lisa Dunn, a Gallup-certified strengths coach, had each mentor and mentee complete a top five Strengths Finder test upon arrival. Using the results, she conducted a presentation on the importance of knowing your top five strengths and using those to work with co-workers, understand why people react and collaborate with people with different strengths. 

The ladies all asked many questions and came to an understanding of why they reacted to specific situations in a certain manner due to the outcome of their strengths. 

The next two speakers were Julie Wawers, a middle school teacher in Papillion, and a panel of three Alumni who discussed the challenges they faced and overcame after college. 

The last speaker of the day was Jennifer Rowling, a lawyer and mother. Rowling’s focus in her presentation was how to maintain a career in a male-dominated career and balance that career with a family. 

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