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.


Rafael Azpeitia Jr., Maggie Wadginski, Braidy Parrill and Madison Eisert

Rafael Azpeitia Jr.  

As a Columbus High School student, Rafael Azpeitia Jr. explored and took part in many activities including serving as Latino Leader, a tutor and volunteering at Columbus Community Hospital. The aspiring Obstetrician-Gynecologist also worked part-time as a PRN CNA at Emerald Nursing & Rehab Columbus.    

“UNO represents the perfect blend of resources, engaging courses and a vibrant community that will shape my path to success. It's an environment where academic excellence and personal growth go hand in hand. UNO's diverse student body, cutting-edge facilities, and strong sense of community promise to challenge and inspire me on my journey to becoming the best version of myself. With UNO's unwavering support, I'm eagerly embarking on a journey to make a positive impact on the world.” 

Madison Eisert  

During Madison Eisert’s experience at Papillion-LaVista South High School, they Papillion-LaVista South HS, they served as a Leader and Entrepreneur with Girl Scouts of America and volunteered with Offutt Air Force Base youth programs, the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home, and the Omaha Henry-Doorly Zoo, among others. Eisert plans major in Biology and minor in Spanish to become a Pediatric Physician Assistant.

“The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers unique opportunities including networking, studying abroad, gaining medical knowledge, and building a strong academic and community foundation. These experiences will enrich my undergraduate years and my connection as a future alumnus. Having lived in Omaha for 18 years, UNO’s balance of academia and community resonates deeply with me.” 

Maggie Wadginski

While attending Westside High School, Maggie Wadginski participated in FBI Teen Academy; was a Red Cross certified lifeguard and a ballet and strength class instructor. Wadginski also served as dance captain for show choir and volunteered to raise awareness about suicide prevention.   

“Becoming a UNO alumnus is my compass toward my career ambitions—a bachelor's in business with an accounting focus and becoming an FBI Agent. Excelling in academics, leadership, and service, as a ballet dancer, show choir leader and suicide prevention advocate, I'm poised for UNO, eager to continue my legacy.” 

Braidy Parrill, Lee Denker Scholarship recipient 

Braidy Parrill is a graduate of Louisville High School. They served on Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and SkillsUSA and participated in Louisville High School’s One-Act Play Production and Speech Team. Parrill was also involved in Journalism, Band, Chess Club, Quizbowl and the National Honor Society. Parrill is double majoring in cybersecurity and computer engineering and minoring criminal justice and Spanish.  

“In the realm of higher education, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) often slips under the radar, a hidden gem awaiting exploration. Initially overlooked, I uncovered its potential during my college search, finding a wealth of opportunities in my own backyard. Researching UNO's programs revealed a future teeming with promise, prompting me to commit wholeheartedly by clicking that "apply" button. In a world of overshadowed alumni, UNO's distinction stands out, showcasing my potential to reshape through dedicated effort. This journey mirrors UNO's own story—unveiling hidden potential, defying expectations, and leaving an indelible impact.”