FHSU's VIP Student Ambassadors represent best of the best

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By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- The VIP Student Ambassadors represent the best of the best at Fort Hays State University. FHSU recently released the names of 22 students who will represent the school in this select organization for the 2016-17 school year.

"I really want to represent the excellence of Fort Hays State and to show what I can offer," said Ottawa junior Carlie Snethen, an organizational leadership major who will be a first-time ambassador starting with the fall semester. "I really do take it as an honor to be selected."

There were 22 slots to be filled for the upcoming academic year for the organization, whose members work at official university functions.

"They have to prove they are the best of the best," said the group's advisor, Lisa Karlin, assistant to the president and director of marketing. "That being said, it's very difficult to make the selections, because they are all superstars.

"Just because we didn't have enough slots for everyone doesn't mean that we don't think they are great," said Karlin, a student ambassador at Fort Hays State herself in the 1990s.

A student can be an ambassador for two years but must re-apply for the second year. Shelby Dinkel, a senior accounting major from Hays, is an ambassador this school year. She applied for next year and was accepted. She is one of three returnees.

"It's been very interesting," Dinkel said. "I've learned a lot of things about how sporting events work on campus, as far as how the president goes about participating in them."

Shelby Stewart, a senior organizational leadership major from Hill City, also returns to the ambassador program next year. She said this year's involvement has been fulfilling.

"So many good experiences and interactions with people," Stewart said. "It was a lot of fun and so rewarding."

A student ambassador will work 7 to 8 events per school year. Karlin said the events provide the ambassadors an opportunity to hone their interpersonal skills. She added the students also put their leadership abilities to work in representing the university while giving back through volunteer service.

"That was a huge reason I re-applied," Stewart said. "I love the honor of representing the university."

Dinkel said as an ambassador she has been able to see President Mirta M. Martin's deep involvement with everything Fort Hays State.

"It's been a good way to see a different type of Fort Hays State," Dinkel said. "I've gained a huge amount of respect for President Martin through this process, and how much she does, and how much she tries to be at every event she can on campus."

Dinkel's favorite event to work this school year was the Hays High School homecoming game at Lewis Field Stadium.

"I am an alumni of Hays High," said Dinkel, who worked in the press box for that event. "I got to see a lot of teachers I had when I was there, and I got to watch the game."

Stewart said one of her favorite events was a reception for international students at the president's house before the spring semester. Stewart was called on to relate her FHSU experience.

"Just working side-by-side with President Martin has been such a blessing for me this year," Stewart said. "Getting to know her and form a relationship with her has been really awesome."

Snethen was beyond thrilled when she learned she was selected to be an ambassador.

"I was very excited," she said. "I called my parents. I texted my friends. I told everybody (that) I went kind of nuts."

The complete list of FHSU's Student Ambassadors for 2016-17, listed with their current classifications and their majors:
Lorenzo (Trey) Basa, Saint George senior, English.
Amy Bergkamp, Cheney junior, nursing.
Derek Bixenman, Hays senior, health and human performance.
Wade Buck, Grinnell senior, technology studies.
Alyssa Danler, Hutchinson senior, tourism and hospitality management.
Kylee Davis, Haven junior, nursing (returning VIP).
Shelby Dinkel, Hays senior, accounting (returning VIP).
Brock Elgin, Topeka senior, chemistry.
Renee Elpers, Cheney junior, agriculture.
Hannah Heinz, Fowler sophomore, biology.
Jessica Herber, Fort Wayne, Ind., junior, health and human performance.
Peter Marston, Great Bend senior, accounting.
Drew O'Brien, Hays senior, marketing.
Marisol Regaldo, Liberal junior, organizational leadership.
Haydee Reyes, Olathe junior, organizational leadership.
Brianna Schuck, Harvard, Neb., senior, biology.
Whitney Schultz, Brewster senior, general studies.
Carlie Snethen, Ottawa junior, organizational leadership.
Lauren Solzman, Highlands Ranch, Colo., senior, tourism and hospitality management.
Shelby Stewart, Hill City senior, organizational leadership (returning VIP).
Zoe Walsh, Concordia junior, management.
Dusty Watkins, Montezuma senior, information networking and telecommunications.

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