From social media: Misty Pocwierz-Gaines, human of UNMC

Misty Pocwierz-Gaines, cancer research training and education program manager

From UNMC on Instagram (@iamunmc) and Facebook (@unmcedu): 

“After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, I knew I wouldn’t have a job that provided me with vacation time. So, I worked for a few months and saved for a trip to Australia.

“During my five months there with the Willing Workers on Organic Farms program, I was in a serious car accident that eventually ended my culinary career. Needing a new path, I pursued my love for animals and science by working at a vet’s office and attending community college.

“At 30, I completed my associate’s degree and transferred to Cornell University for animal science, initially aiming for veterinary medicine.

“After my first semester, I realized that I was more excited about research than I was with veterinary medicine. I began working in a parasitology lab and fell in love more with research. As a first-generation college student, I had no idea about getting into graduate school, so I became a lab technician in an immunology lab and loved it!

“My now-husband and I began dating, and he was living in Gretna, Nebraska, so I looked for research opportunities here. I joined Dr. Jenny Black’s lab at the Eppley Institute in 2012.

“When the Cancer Research Graduate Program coordinator retired, I transitioned to working with students, which was one of my best decisions. With the support and leadership of Dr. Joyce Solheim, I have been able to help grow the program and create an environment that is supportive of all students.

“As a 22-year-old reconsidering my career, I never imagined I’d end up here. Working with graduate students and Summer Undergraduate Research Program Scholars is an honor, and I’ve learned so much from them. I’m glad to be here.” #HumansofUNMC

Interested in being featured? Want to suggest a fellow human of UNMC? Email Aurelie Villard in UNMC strategic communications.

Visit UNMC online: Web | Instagram | Facebook | X (Twitter) | YouTube | TikTok


  1. Shannon Thomsen says:

    You are an amazing resource to every student that works with SURP and any student that has the opportunity to work with you. Thank you for your passion and dedication to education!

    1. Misty Pocwierz-Gaines says:

      Thanks, Shannon!

  2. Lisa Spellman says:

    We love you Misty!! Thanks for all you do for Hayli and the other YES students!

    1. Misty Pocwierz-Gaines says:

      Thank you, Lisa. I have really enjoyed working with Hayli and the other YES students. It has been great watching Hayli grow of the past few years.

  3. Stacey Coleman says:

    Misty!!! I had NO IDEA you’re a CIA graduate! See?!!?!! That’s what this is so important! There are a lot of things we don’t know about the folks we work with REGULARLY. You’ve definitely had an interesting path to wind up at UNMC…but glad you’re here! Amazing!!!!

    1. Misty Pocwierz-Gaines says:

      STACEY!!! Love working with you, and this is proof that we need to make time to sit together and chat very soon.

  4. Bryan Katafiasz says:

    You are a rock start, Misty! A great intra-campus colleague to work with and valuable resource for creative ideas.

  5. Misty Pocwierz-Gaines says:

    Thank you! That means a lot to me coming from a rockstar like you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.