Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Keni Nelson is one of the most dynamic and liveliest communication majors at Westminster. She received the “Outstanding Communication Major Award” and made Dean’s list every semester at Westminster. Keni was Editor-in-Chief of The Forum student newspaper, a Resident Advisor for two years, on the Judicial Council of ASWC, member of the Women’s Golf Team, and a student representative on the Communication Faculty Search Committee. Choosing to be a Communication major is the greatest decision she has made at Westminster. Sharing lessons and discussions with her classmates helped her grow as student; she met people that truly inspire and motivate her to better herself in all areas of life.
As Editor-in-Chief, Keni represented The Forum with her staff at the Associated Collegiate Press College Media Association conference and attended information sessions about upcoming trends in social media, journalism, and editorial writing. She gained new management and leadership skills from the conference that would benefit her senior year and professional experience. The Forum received 2nd place in the “Best of Show” competition – the highest honor the newspaper has ever received.
Keni was also a member of the women’s golf team at Westminster attended Nationals in the spring of 2011. The team traveled to North Carolina and competed against the best schools in the country that played in the NAIA. Keni said, “For our first time ever at nationals we did a great job, and it was a lot of fun to go out and compete against schools we’ve never played against before.”
Being a big fan of history and never having left the country, Keni’s May Term Trip to Germany, Austria, and Italy was an incredible experience. She was excited to explore the art and architecture she learned about, experience the culture, and immerse herself into the different cultures. “It was also a very humbling experience. We visited the Dachau Concentration camp outside of Munich, Germany, and seeing the camp and the buildings housed within was really life changing,” she said.
She was also part of The Alumni Mentoring Program, which was the cumulating event of her college career. Through the program, she began to better understand herself. Not only did she gain a better understanding of who she was as a person, but she also learned more about her professional aspirations. She now feels more confident in who she is, where she’s from, and where she’s going.
Keni’s favorite Westminster memories came from her position as a Resident Advisor. Working with a wonderful staff and meeting great people changed her time at Westminster from “awesome” to “crazy awesome”, in her own words. During the spring semester, she went on a retreat up to Brighton Resort and truly bonded with her staff. “There’s nothing like being stuck in a cabin with 20 other college students, getting to know each other. It really is a wonderful learning and growing experience.”
After graduation, Keni plans on setting some time aside to travel and explore the world. She will be applying to positions in the advertising and social media fields in the fall. During her time at Westminster, Keni made wonderful relationships with faculty that encouraged her and supported her in all her efforts. They presented opportunities that she would never have dreamed up herself and gave her the confidence to try new things. Being an RA and Editor-in-Chief taught her about teamwork, collaboration and crisis management, which are valuable and applicable skills for anywhere Keni chooses to go.
“The general support that I’ve experienced is just so overwhelmingly positive that I can hardly express how much it means to me. Of course, the Communication major gave me a variety of skills that will help me be successful in future endeavors, but I learned so much more from Westminster than just terminology and theories. I’ve learned how to be a successful member of society, which I think is more important than anything else,” Keni said.
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