WAYNE, Neb. -- Wayne State announced Monday that 46 students have been chosen for the highly selective Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) for Fall 2022.

Established in 1989, RHOP is a cooperative program between Wayne State and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to meet the health care needs of rural communities, which make up a majority of Nebraska.

Students selected for the program come from rural Nebraska. 

“I’m excited to welcome this class of RHOP students,” said Dr. Ron Loggins, dean of the School of Science, Health, and Criminal Justice at Wayne State. “Our RHOP scholars are among the most academically talented and dedicated students in Nebraska. Wayne State is proud to help prepare them for their careers in healthcare. At Wayne State, not only do students engage in a rigorous curriculum, but they also benefit from the close advising and mentoring our faculty and staff provide. We are confident that when students graduate from our science programs, they have a solid foundation and are prepared to succeed.”

RHOP’s benefits include a full-tuition scholarship at Wayne State and guaranteed admission to UNMC. RHOP participants pursue their studies at WSC and UNMC, with the amount of time at each institution determined by the program in which they are enrolled. Students who apply for the program must be a rural Nebraska resident.

RHOP participating fields include Dental Hygiene, Dentistry, Medical Lab Science, Medicine, Nursing, Occupational Therapy (new for Fall 2022), Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, and Radiography.

Students selected for RHOP for Fall 2022:

Dental Hygiene

Drew Kratochvil of Seward


Bryna Fanta of Creighton

Jacob Melliger of Columbus

Jordan Ondracek of North Bend

Cadyn Uttecht of Hartington

Medical Laboratory Science

Madison Mandel of Snyder

Elizabeth Martinez of Wilber

Brooklyn Schuler of Gretna

Natalie Stallbaum of Ewing


Travis Byrd of North Bend

Sydney Escritt of Hebron

Mariah Hansen of Tilden

Cal Janke of Fremont

Shannon Kennicutt of Elwood

Saige Miserez of West Point

Ansley Noyes of Kearney

Maycee Zimmerer of Creighton


Courtney Brink of Wayne

Jordyn Coe of Crete

Angela Espinoza of South Sioux City

Raina Lade of Battle Creek

Lainey Meyer of Page

Emily Mlnarik of Neligh

Anna Tyler of Creighton

Lauryn Zessin of Wood River

Occupational Therapy

Olivia Dartman of Creighton

Ella Jaixen of Loup City

Shae Junck of Bellwood


Kayla Fischer of West Point

Avery Hermesch of Saint Libory

Megan Lukert of Hebron

Kenzie Mosel of Neligh

Macey Peterworth of Sutton

Vance Sayer of Schuyler

Ryland Stephens of Ashland

Physical Therapy

Amber Bockelman of Norfolk

Ashlynn Garcia of South Sioux City

Physician Assistant

Blaike Bryan of Osceola

Luke Polacek of Wahoo

Emma Wray of Blue Hill


Leah Bloomquist of Wausa

Cassandra Granquist of Laurel

“The University of Nebraska Medical Center recently added the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OT) to their program offerings and this year we celebrate the addition of pre-occupational therapy to RHOP,” Loggins said. “After four years at Wayne State studying Applied Human Sport and Physiology, our graduates enter OT school at UNMC. This rapidly growing profession is a great fit for students that want a career in health care that involves a lot of one-on-one patient interaction. What’s even more exciting is not only are we bringing in new freshmen to this program, but we also are able to offer current Wayne State students seats in this program. By including current students, we are rapidly responding to the need to develop and educate more occupational therapists to meet the needs of Nebraskans.”

Students selected from among current Wayne State students for the College’s new pre-occupational therapy track for RHOP:

McKenna Leonard of Laurel

Austin Fernau of Carroll

Cheyney Loper of Callaway

Abbey Seevers of York

“In the last few years, Wayne State created a new pathway to nursing with UNMC, a dual-degree nursing pathway with Creighton, an early admission program with Kansas City University for the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Doctor of Psychology programs, and many others,” Loggins said. “While the pandemic was raging, Wayne State stayed true to its mission and continued to serve the students of Nebraska. Together with our partners, we designed new, exciting curriculum and program pathways that will prepare students for current and future workforce challenges.”

Learn more about RHOP at www.wsc.edu/rhop and Wayne State nursing programs at www.wsc.edu/nursing-programs