UNO Alumni Association and Lee Denker Scholarships

The UNO Alumni Association awards $2,500/year scholarships to graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated leadership and involvement during high school. In 2022, an additional scholarship was added in honor of Lee Denker, UNO Alumni Association Executive Director from 2006–2021. The scholarship may be renewed for up to four years total. To be considered, applicants must complete an online application and meet the following criteria:

• Graduating high school senior

• Minimum ACT composite score of 24

• Either rank in the top 25 percent of their class or have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

For application instructions, visit the UNO Financial Aid website.


Vivian Kaldahl, Jozy Piper, Lilly Gierhan and Jiya Chaudhari

Jiya Chaudhari 

As an O’Neill High School student originally from Toronto, Jiya Chaudhari explored and took part in many activities including clarinet section leader in band; student council as a band representative; NHS; an FFA chapter reporter and junior advisor; drill team; and Interact. Along with the opportunity to hold leadership positions in extracurriculars, Chaudhari was a NECC Believer and Achiever and one of the Class of 2022 Valedictorians.  

“I plan to gain more fun experiences and grow even further at my new home in Omaha: UNO! I chose UNO because it resides right at the heart of a city filled with educational opportunities, holds great diversity, and has a unique Neuroscience degree along with supportive professors that will strengthen my chances of getting into UNMC!"

Lilly Gierhan 

During Lilly Gierhan’s experience at Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, they were involved in the National Honors Society; multiple clubs; and the Teammates program while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Gierhan was also active in soccer, gymnastics and cheer. 

“I am attending UNO because I believe it will have a positive impact on my life and allow me to pursue my dream of obtaining a nursing degree so I can help others attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Jozy Piper

Attending Pierce High School, Jozy Piper was class valedictorian and a three-sport athlete – volleyball, basketball and track; band; choir; speech; all-school musical; Quiz Bowl; and held various leadership positions. Outside of school, Piper's faith has always been a foundation for them, and so their free time was spent volunteering with my discipleship group which met weekly and helped many community groups. As Piper discerned their future vocation through several job shadows, they found all these things intersecting within the field of Architectural Engineering.  

“Visiting the UNO campus and taking part in many of their online information sessions, I was beyond impressed with not only UNO’s program but everything about the college. The campus community has been supportive and welcoming, the environment is lively and invigorating, and I love the opportunities available to do outreach within the city of Omaha. I cannot wait to get on campus and be a Maverick.”

Vivian Kaldahl, Lee Denker Scholarship recipient 

Vivian Kaldahl is a graduate of Millard South High School. They served as president of both the Student Council and National Honors Society, while also serving as an executive board member for the Nebraska Association of Student Councils. Kahldahl was also involved in orchestra, athletic training, newspaper, unified sports and part of Launch Leadership’s volunteer staff. Kahldahl finds great joy in fostering student leadership in sixth through twelfth-grade students and plans to major in elementary education.  

“I chose UNO because I know that it will equip me with the education, skills and connections needed to find my way to the front of an elementary school classroom. I will get to take everything I have learned, and every opportunity I have been given, back to a classroom in Omaha where I can encourage my students to pursue their academic goals.”