In December, the Design Studio staff saw some major changes. In two consecutive weeks, Mark Antonson, Director of Design Studio, and Jeremy Suing, Program Lead announced their acceptance of new opportunities outside of the University system. Jeremy was with the program for 17 years and Mark for 5 years. Both played vital roles in growing Design Studio. Though they have moved on, their ties to the school are strong and they continue to actively support the transition of leadership. The Raikes School thanks them for their contributions and wishes them success in their new roles.

With these changes, the Raikes School was excited to welcome three new staff to the Design Studio team.

Portrait of Cheryl Nelson

Cheryl Nelson has taken over as the Director of Design Studio effective March 1, 2022. Cheryl is a Nebraska native. She attended East Butler High School in Brainard, Nebraska, before moving to Kansas City. Cheryl has 20+ years of experience managing and directing programs and teams for large fortune 500 companies, mostly in and around the Kansas City area. Cheryl joined Design Studio four years ago as a Program Lead. Cheryl mentored students in the best practices of product development and has been instrumental in business development and sponsor relations. These interactions have led to several innovative partnerships with Design Studio.

Jake Koperski has joined Design Studio as a Program Lead. Jake earned his undergraduate in Software Engineering from UNL and is an alumnus of the Raikes School. He has experience working as a software engineer for Box on the Partner Integrations team and later led the front-end engineering efforts at Feathery, a Silicon Valley startup. During his professional career, he has lived in San Francisco, Kansas City, and Lincoln. His diverse experience leading projects in large tech and startup companies is valuable in mentoring Design Studio students.

Portrait of Cheryl Nelson
Portrait of Cheryl Nelson

Rachel Michaela Bradley has been named Architecture and Engineering Lead effective May 23, 2022. She is currently a graduate assistant with Design Studio. Rachel will be responsible for supporting the core Design Studio systems, mentoring students in hardware and software engineering as well as helping with the technical support needs of the school. Before arriving at UNL, she was a senior IT technician-turned-software consultant with over a decade of experience consulting, designing, and developing systems for a variety of industries. Rachel has her undergraduate degree from The Open University in the United Kingdom and is pursuing her master's degree in Computer Science here at UNL.

Design Studio has been a quality and consistent program of excellence for many years, with compliments to all past leaders, including Jeremy and Mark. Design Studio staff are eager to build upon this foundation of excellence. That building continues with recruiting a candidate to fill the remaining Program Lead position to complete the team.

Design Studio is built upon a solid foundation, equipped with skilled staff, and surrounded by a community of supporters. With focused goals for the future, it will continue its history of excellence in capstone education.