Talent Comes Home for Jobs - Part 2

26 Aug 2015

Three Phelps County students have received scholarships to return to the area after college to work in the agriculture and medical fields.


Alex Hamling, Zachary Gray and Cheyenne Gdanitz were three of nine students who received a share of $30,000 in community-donated scholarship funds because they are planning future careers in high-demand jobs in Phelps County.


Alex Hamling, a 2013 Holdrege High School graduate, is a junior studying agriculture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He plans to earn a degree in agronomy and return to Phelps County for a career in agronomy or livestock production.


In high school, Alex played football, basketball, Legion baseball and ran track. He also was involved in FFA. In college, he has participated in intramural sports. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has helped with the organization’s annual free-throw contest.


He has worked for Jacobson Farms for five years and coached Legion baseball in Holdrege this past summer. While attending school, Alex also works UNL’s Stewart Seed Lab


Alex, the son of Jon and Fawn Hamling, said he wants to return to Phelps County to pursue his career in agriculture because he loves the “close-knit” feeling of a small community.


“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” he said. “I love the fact that it’s an agriculture-based community.”


Zachary Gray, a 2013 graduate of Holdrege High School, is also a junior studying agronomy and ag business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


At UNL, Zachary is involved in the Pepsi Service Scholars, the Iron N Organization, UNL Agronomy Club and UNL FFA Alumni. This past year, he received his American FFA degree. He has volunteered for 9/11 Day of Service, Safe Quarters, Boo at the Zoo, Dare to Care and Toyland for Kids.


His past work experience includes Gray Farms, Dry Creek Electric and Tri-Basin NRD. He worked as an intern at the USDA’s NRCS office in York this past summer.


Zachary is the son of Brian and Shelley Gray of rural Holdrege. He looks forward to a career in agriculture or possibly ag law back in Phelps County someday.


“I just like how there’s a lot of open space, and I’m not really into the big city where you can’t even see a block away,” he said. “It feels a lot more like home and a lot more slowed down (in Phelps County).”


Cheyenne Gdanitz is a 2015 graduate of Bertrand high school with plans to earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy. She is attending Wayne State College this fall.


In high school, Cheyenne participated in cross country and track, choir, band and speech. She has volunteered for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, National Honor Society group service projects, the American Red Cross Community Blood Drive and has assisted the Lion’s Club Fair Games during the Bertrand Fair.


She has worked as a baby-sitter, cook and physical therapy technician.


“The opportunity to live in a small community such as Phelps County gives you the opportunity to have more hands on work,” Cheyenne said. She describes herself as outgoing and likes to meet new people and help people.


Cheyenne’s parents are James and Elizabeth Gdanitz.


The high-demand jobs scholarships are funded through LB840 sales tax funds, Prosperity Project donations and a matching grant from the Phelps County Community Foundation. This is the second year the scholarships have been offered.