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Business professor's gift honors lifelong hero

July 18, 2016 - 12:00am
UNIBusiness Editor
Rex Karsten

What is the perfect birthday gift for a mother who reached a milestone birthday of 90? A mother who quit school at age 13 to raise her siblings? Who earned her high school diploma at age 36 and went on to develop a successful career traveling internationally? A mother who epitomizes determination with her never-give-up attitude?

Rex Karsten, UNIBusiness professor of Management Information Systems, found the answer as he was preparing an annual report of his activities as the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Professor. It occurred to him that he could pay it forward. He said, “My mom has always been my hero. She never gives up and she passed that trait on to me. That is why I wanted to honor her in a way that would also encourage young women to pursue a career in a field that they wouldn’t typically enter.”

Rex’s wife, Laurie, suggested he pay it forward with a scholarship. The inaugural Ethel M. Karsten MIS (Management Information Systems) Scholarship was awarded to Roni Storjohann. Storjohann is a senior from Maysville, Iowa, majoring in Management Information Systems. “I am honored to receive this scholarship,” said Storjohann.  “Professor Karsten introduced me to MIS. I thank him for that and for helping me seek new opportunities and always being there to answer questions.”

Katie Hillyer, director of the UNIBusiness Professional Readiness Program, served on the scholarship selection committee. She said, “The selection committee was impressed with Roni’s resume and clear interest in pursuing a career in MIS. She excelled as a student and leader during her time at Scott Community College and has shown promise of continuing on that trajectory during her time at UNI.”

This past summer, Storjohann held an internship position with Alcoa ATI’s Information Systems Department in Bettendorf.  For this academic year, Storjohann secured an internship with UNI’s Department of Institutional Research as a student analyst. She said she is excited to use the skills she has learned in the classroom in both of these positions.

That’s exactly what Professor Karsten had in mind, “Historically, women have been underrepresented in technology-related majors, so I hope this is one small way to ensure more consider this major.” He is looking forward to introducing Storjohann to his mother at the annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon.

Through his mother’s example, Karsten found roots to change the world. And in so doing, he has been rewarded with high teacher assessment scores and is the first UNIBusiness faculty member to receive all four college-level awards.


UNI Business

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