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Kourtney Burianek is Learn to Dream Achiever Award recipient

Kourtney Burianek, an Academic Transfer student from York, received Southeast Community College's Learn to Dream Achiever Award for the Winter Quarter.

Burianek, originally from Dwight, enrolled at SCC in fall 2011. She is scheduled to graduate next year.

The award is presented to an SCC student on the Learn to Dream Scholarship who has completed at least two successful quarters of classes at the College and who has demonstrated personal improvement and achievement.

"The Learn to Dream Scholarship was a blessing in disguise," said Burianek, the daughter of Jill Kocian and Brian Burianek. "Reality really set in that I would be able to go to college, and it also was a relief to know that I could be successful in my academic studies. Plus, I was relieved not to have to pay for tuition, because I didn't know if I was going to be able to afford college."

Burianek said she's pleased with her decision to attend SCC.

"I've met great people like (Learn to Dream retention specialist) Emira (Ibrahimpasic) and other fellow students who are now my friends," Burianek said. "I have learned things in classes that will actually stick with me. Also, I learned how to do things on my own like filling out the FASFA, and I never would have known how to do those things without help from the Learn to Dream staff."

Burianek said the scholarship has opened doors for her.

"Without this scholarship it's hard to tell where I would be," she said. "I know I would be in college, but I would be less prepared and basically lost."

She said SCC instructors have made an impression on her.

"The majority of the teachers are marvelous, and they have impacted my life like no other," she said. "They have been real eye-openers."

Burianek plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln following graduation from SCC.

"I want to go into a science program," she said. "After UNL I want to go to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. I want to become an anesthesiologist because I love science, and learning how to make people better interests me."

Burianek is grateful to the Learn to Dream staff at SCC.

"They are always caring, and they've been there with an open door," she said. "I have learned that it's OK to ask for help, because that is what some people at SCC are here for. In college they aren't going to force you to come to class or do your homework like it's high school. You have the ball in your court, and it's your decision to play or sit the bench."

Burianek has a philosophy for living life.

"I believe it is important to live life knowing you have made a difference and to thank the people who have made a difference in your life," she said.

Initially the Learn to Dream Scholarship was a collaboration between Lincoln's private and public high schools, SCC, and generous funding from Nelnet and Union Bank & Trust. The scholarship opportunity was expanded to high schools throughout SCC's 15-county area, and participating schools secure funding for the scholarship from benefactors within their district.

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For more information contact:
Stu Osterthun
Administrative Director of Public Information and Marketing
402-323-3401
sosterthun@southeast.edu