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Scholarship celebrates Stork, Robertson legacies

Before UNMC had the Interprofessional Academy of Educators, there was Sandra Stork, longtime director of clinical dietetics, in the then-School of Allied Health Professions, and the Teaching Improvement Project System (TIPS) program. As does today’s teaching academy, Stork and TIPS took educators from all over campus and gave them tools to better reach the students they taught.

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Barbara Robertson, left, and Sandra Stork at Robertson’s master’s degree graduation in 1989.

“Our faculty really seemed to embrace this idea of teaching the faculty how to teach,” said Mary Haven, emeritus associate dean of the College of Allied Health Professions. “I was amazed at how much I didn’t know, and how much I learned and how much fun it was.”

Stork, who died in 2014 at age 70, always made it fun, said Reba Benschoter, Ph.D., emeritus associate dean of allied health. She taught with a sense of humor, with energy and empathy, and even with professional-quality cartoons she drew herself.

The CAHP recently celebrated the endowment of the Stork Robertson Medical Nutrition Scholarship. It will provide scholarship funds for two students annually in the dietetic internship program, which Stork was instrumental in founding.

“She was the key, she was the instrument, she was a leader in whatever she did,” said Barbara Robertson, a former longtime clinical dietitian at UNMC, who continues to serve as a clinical preceptor.

Robertson was one of Stork’s many students. They became close colleagues. They were each other’s dearest friend.

Robertson, as trustee of the Sandra S. Stork Charitable Trust, knew Stork’s wishes and began work to develop a scholarship fund to assist a medical nutrition student from Nebraska. Robertson then decided to match it with her own money. As she originally came from Wyoming, this second scholarship would help fund a student from out of state.

“Sandy and Barb were always about putting students first,” said Kyle Meyer, Ph.D., dean of allied health. “The creation of this endowed scholarship reflects their commitment to students and will serve as their enduring legacy.”

This support, noted Glenda Woscyna, director of medical nutrition education, is so meaningful because as an endowed fund, “it’s there year after year after year.”

A fitting legacy for Sandy Stork.

“She could see the potential in others,” Robertson said as her eyes welled up. “She invested in me for 33 years, working to develop my potential. I am so grateful.

“May I do the same for others.”

Laura Evans of Columbus, Neb., and Elizabeth Tiffany of St. Joseph, Minn., are the inaugural recipients of the Stork Robertson Medical Nutrition Scholarship.