Samantha Chavez graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, but she was happy to come to Omaha last week to learn more about UNMC and UNO.
Chavez, a member of the staff of Sen. Steve Lathrop, was one of a group of staff members from the Nebraska Legislature in Lincoln who toured UNMC in October to meet with campus leaders and attend presentations before continuing on to visit UNO.
"Even though a lot of us went to the University of Nebraska campuses across the state, there's a lot left to learn and there's a lot of different things that we need to know about," Chavez said. "In the first session, I learned about the technology and the advances and how we need to adapt to that, but also how a lot of the issues we talk about in the legislature -- whether it's corrections, mental health, education or other things -- these are things the university comes into contact with, and policymakers should know about that."
Heath Mello, interim vice president for university affairs and University of Nebraska director of state relations, and Bob Bartee, vice chancellor for external affairs, hosted the visit. Legislative staffers attended a workforce panel featuring Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, Joe Evans, Ph.D., professor of psychology and clinical director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, and Ben Stobbe, assistant vice chancellor for clinical simulation. They also attended presentations on the Munroe-Meyer Institute, pancreatic cancer research and the public service lab.
Chavez said she was looking forward to the presentation by Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Munroe-Meyer Institute.
"I know there are a lot of people who use those programs . . . and are benefiting and having more opportunity because of it," she said.
Jennifer Svehla of Sen. Julie Slama's office has been to UNMC before, but she said she still learns new things every time she comes.
"It's nice to see all the development that's happening and how much this is helping the citizens of this state," she said.