Featured Testimonial About Creighton University
This program transforms us. It changes our lives. It changes our perspectives. Union Pacific isn’t just funding our education. It’s taking the time to help us become good, inclusive leaders for our communities.
This December, Heider College of Business seniors Roland Onwona-Agyeman and Ophelie Koffi will become the first two members of the Union Pacific Diversity Scholars Program to graduate from Creighton.
This program, they said, has shaped every day of their Creighton experience. It’s influenced the type of work they want to do and the kind of leader they want to become. It’s given them early access to real-world opportunities and prepared them for their post-Creighton careers. It’s shown them what’s possible.
“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” said Onwona-Agyeman, an Iowa native majoring in marketing. “I would definitely say it’s helped me grow a lot since my freshman year. I was a little shy at first, but the program allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and become a better networker and communicator and to seize opportunities when they come along.”
In January, Onwona-Agyeman — who has been a marketing and sales intern at Union Pacific Railroad since May 2021 — will begin as a commercial consultant at UP. He can’t wait to join the company full-time and continue working with a team of people who, he said, “welcomed me with open arms on day one.”
The Union Pacific Diversity Scholars Program is a prestigious award offered through Union Pacific Railroad. The program — formed in 2020 by a partnership between UP and the University — awards a $25,000-per-year scholarship to incoming freshmen for their full four years at Creighton. Through the program, each student receives support, training and mentorship toward their future careers.
This fall, the UP Scholars program merged with the Next Generation Leaders Program. In this program, students will continue to receive support, personal and professional development, internship and job-shadow opportunities and training in equity, diversity and inclusion approaches.
Ophelie Koffi, who is also graduating from the Heider College of Business in December, said that, for her, the key benefit of the UP program has been its mentorship opportunities.
“As students, we get direct access to someone at UP whose work aligns with our major,” said Koffi, an Omaha native majoring in management on a pre-law track.
Koffi’s mentor is a Union Pacific senior counsel who meets with her regularly to share advice, insights and resources. Koffi has also had the opportunity to become a mentor herself, taking a younger student in the UP Diversity Scholars Program under her wing. It’s a great opportunity for her to share what she’s learned — and to realize just how much she’s learned.
Koffi said the real-world immersion of the UP program (and her past year working as a UP Risk Management intern) prepared her in multiple ways. One was giving her the confidence of experience.
“Through the UP program, I’ve gotten to see what the working world actually looks like,” she said. “I’ve been able to apply my studies to real-world scenarios before I even graduate. Having that experience makes me feel like I’m ready for what comes next.”
Ready to apply for law school. Ready to intern and later work for an Omaha law firm. Ready to become the kind of attorney she knows she wants to be.
“This program transforms us,” Koffi said. “It changes our lives. It changes our perspectives. Union Pacific isn’t just funding our education. It’s taking the time to help us become good, inclusive leaders for our communities.
“I’m so grateful to be a part of a program and a company that focuses on the whole being of the person.”
Ophelie Koffi and Roland Onwona-Agyeman, back row, pictured with the first cohort of Union Pacific Diversity Scholars in 2021. The rest of the group includes (from left) Christian Purnell, Jayden Liu, Mackenzie Spigner, Jenna Kristan, Rebekah Alvarez and Luke Estrada.