As published in the Sept. 2, 2023 Fremont Tribune College Bound special section.

Ingrid Ornelas fell in love with the Doane University campus the moment she visited, as a first year student at Fremont High School. Throughout her high school education, she returned to Doane three times, and each time was the same — “It had such a welcoming environment,” she said.

For Tiffany Carnahan, also a Fremont High School graduate, the appeal of Doane was in knowing she would be able to build relationships with her professors and receive good scholarships (four in total!) 

“Also, Doane is a beautiful campus to go to,” she said, with the Crete campus’s old-growth trees, prairie grasses and sloping lawns used for everything from providing shade for an outdoor study session to holding spring commencement.

Throughout their time on campus — Ornelas is now a junior and Carnahan, a senior — they’re in agreement on what brings them back each semester.

“It’s the community,” Ornelas said. “The people you meet here will support you through everything.”

Ornelas is majoring in chemistry, with minors in accounting and Spanish. She hopes to find herself in the future working in a lab, and as a translator. Something that she didn’t expect upon coming to Doane was the impact of her involvement in campus organizations. Ornelas is treasurer for both the Doane University Latinx Student Association (DULSA) and the Student Programming Board (SPB).

“I have really learned that I am not that shy and can take on a role and be involved on campus,” she said, after joining both organizations with the encouragement of upperclassmen friends.

Carnahan had a similar revelation in holding multiple leadership roles in campus organizations, including on the women’s golf team and in academic honor societies. She’s also become involved in the wider Crete community, after meeting members of the Crete Volunteer Fire Department during new student orientation.

“When I first got to Doane, I felt really involved around campus, but didn’t know much about Crete as a city,” Carnahan said. “Once I joined the department, I was able to be more involved in activities around the community and connect with other people who live in the area.”

Being part of a community fire and rescue department also provides hands-on experience that directly relates to her majors, health sciences and biology, along with a minor in psychology. She hopes to become a physician assistant.

“Doane has a great biology department with professors that will get to know you and will help guide students in the right direction to their career goals,” Carnahan said.

In fact, that was something that surprised her during her education — the number of opportunities she’s had to meet professionals in her career. She was able to shadow a PA and build a connection with them. It’s both affirmed her career choice and helped her prepare for the next step — applying for a PA degree program.

As Ornelas begins her junior year, that career preparation is also something she looks forward to. Juniors in the chemistry program will begin lab research in working up to their senior research projects, which are shown publicly each spring during the university’s Mind Expo.

“I truly fell in love with Doane and don’t see myself anywhere else,” Ornelas said.