Portrait of Abel Covarrubias.

Abel Covarrubias


Abel is originally from Grand Island, NE. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and economics at UNL. He also has a Master of Arts in Educational Administration. Abel loves anything and everything about soccer: playing, coaching, and watching. He likes to discover new music in his free time. One of his favorite TV shows is The Bear. Abel has a goal to complete his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. He has said that his favorite thing about NCPA is “the community. There are so many individuals invested in one another’s success from the scholars, NCPA staff, stakeholders, teachers, and counselors. It is incredible to watch everyone come together to help these scholars succeed in all aspects of life.”

David Orozco-Garcia.

David Orozco-Garcia

Omaha South Wellness Counselor

David is from Omaha, NE, specifically South Omaha. His degrees from UNL include a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. He loves to garden, fish, play soccer, enjoy nature and travel in his free time. His favorite shows include The Office and The Bear. A goal that David has is to become a better counselor and strengthen his counseling and professional development skills. David’s favorite thing about NCPA is the students!

Grace Clark.

Grace Clark

UNL Academic Counselor

Grace is originally from Hope, AR. She went to the University of Arkansas and has a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering and Master’s in Higher Education Administration. Grace enjoys working out at the gym. Her favorite movie is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. A goal Grace has is to learn a second language. Her favorite thing about NCPA is the community building that takes place in the office.

Portrait of Hope Jensen.

Hope Jensen

Teen Outreach Program Coordinator

Hope is from Grand Island, NE. She has Bachelor’s degrees from UNL in Psychology and Child, Youth, & Family Studies. She enjoys hanging out with family, friends, her dog & two cats and she likes to plan and go on road trips. Her favorite TV shows are How I Met Your Mother and Big Brother (fun fact: her dog is named after a character from How I Met Your Mother). A goal she has is to become knowledgeable in her new position with NCPA and create meaningful connections with the scholars. Hope’s favorite thing about NCPA is that it is like a family. Each cohort has tight-knit friendships that carry from high school to college and beyond.

Portrait of Jena Mendoza.

Jena Mendoza

Senior Assistant Director, Omaha South Program Associate

Jena is originally from Lincoln, NE. She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Family Science and a Master of Science in Positive Youth Development from UNL. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family, work out, and see live music. Her favorite books are those written by Brené Brown. A goal Jena has is to prioritize self-care. Her favorite thing about NCPA is the scholars. She loves watching them be who they are and stand tall in who they are becoming. She enjoys being able to see them continue to blossom.

Portrait of Kali Moreno

Kali Moreno

Grand Island Program Associate

Kali is from Grand Island, NE. She has a Bachelor’s degree from UNL in Child, Youth, & Family Studies, and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Educational Administration with an emphasis in higher education. Her hobbies include reading – especially outside, shopping, and hanging out with her family and friends. Her favorite TV show is One Tree Hill. A goal Kali has is to pursue a doctoral degree. Kali’s favorite thing about NCPA is that she loves to work and interact with students and parents; she loves to see students succeed.

Portrait of Kimberly Ruiz.

Kimberly Ruiz

Grand Island Wellness Counselor

Kim is from Grand Island, NE. She has her Bachelor’s in Child, Youth, & Family Studies and her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, both from UNL. Some hobbies she has include going for walks, gardening, spending time with family and learning new skills. Her favorite TV shows right now are New Amsterdam and S.W.A.T. A goal Kim has is to bring more families into therapy to strengthen relationships with children/adolescents, and to focus on building connections and communication. A personal goal she has is to travel to a new country every year. Kim’s favorite thing about NCPA is working with talented, resilient, funny, caring scholars. She enjoys that they keep her on her toes!

Portrait of Lexus McCluskey.

Lexus McCluskey

Omaha North Program Associate

Lexus is from Omaha, Nebraska. She has a Bachelor's degree in Communications and a Minor in Black Studies from the University of Nebraska - Omaha. She is currently working towards a Master's degree in Human Services with a cognate in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling or spending time with her daughter. One goal that Lexus has is to become the best version of herself. As a first-generation college student and professional, Lexus is able to relate well to the scholars that she assists. She enjoys being able to mentor, advocate, and guide students within the NCPA program. She is grateful for the connections she creates and maintains with the scholars, as well as the differences she is able to make

Portrait of Lulu Diaz-Aldama.

Lulu Diaz-Aldama

UNL Academic Counselor

Lulu is from Grand Island, NE. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Human Sciences from UNL. Her hobbies include working out, playing soccer, dancing, and crafting. Her favorite TV show is The Office. A goal she has is to be able to run a marathon one day. Her favorite thing about NCPA is the culture that NCPA has; she enjoys talking to the scholars and learning more about them.

Portrait of Nanette Gingery-Lankas.

Nanette Gingery

Associate Director,
Winnebago Counselor

Nanette is from Lincoln, NE. She has a Bachelor’s degree from UNL in psychology and a Master’s degree in counseling from Doane College. She is also a Certified Life Coach, an MST therapist, and has business and leadership certifications. Nanette’s hobbies include working out, yoga, reading or listening to podcasts, spending time with her friends and family, and musical theatre. Her favorite TV show is Daisy Jones & The Six. A goal Nanette has is to complete several books she is working on writing, and to create more avenues for empowering women. Her favorite thing about NCPA is the scholars and their differing personalities. She loves to be able to support them in their life journey. Nanette’s passion is helping others create meaningful life goals and reach their full potential.

Portrait of Tyler Nicholas.

Tyler Nicholas

NCPA Teacher at Omaha South

Tyler is originally from Lincoln, NE. He has his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in English from Concordia University. He also has a Master’s in School Counseling from UNO. Tyler loves reading, gardening, weightlifting, and playing video games. His favorite book is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. A goal Tyler has is to continue to grow as an educator. His favorite thing about NCPA is the community – the way that regardless of our stage in life, we continue to support one another.

Portrait of Vanessa Vaught.

Vanessa Vaught

Senior Assistant Director - UNL

Vanessa is originally from Odell, NE. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Family Science and a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Higher Education Student Affairs from UNK. She likes to play sports and games with her twin boys, drink coffee, and go jogging. Her favorite TV shows are Gilmore Girls and Parks & Recreation. Vanessa has a goal to complete a half marathon by 2024 and also to read more. Her favorite thing about NCPA is the scholars who challenge her to continuously learn and be a better person every day, as well as the familial aspect and support from her colleagues.

Portrait of Wes Gorans.

Wes Gorans

NCPA Operations Coordinator

Wes is from Omaha, NE. He has his Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies from UNL. His hobbies include watching countless films and TV, listening to music, and playing games. A current favorite TV show of his is The Bear. He is more of an indoors-y person, but also enjoys some quality outside walks. Wes’s goal is to continue working towards his master’s degree! His favorite thing about NCPA is how different and flexible each day is.

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Steve Hill
Senior Director of Gift Planning
University of Nebraska Foundation