What’s Up?! June 2019

From the CEO

Something Big is Poppin!


There is a bit of a theme running through Lead Up these days: Adventure. We are pushing into ever more ambitious programming, forging creative partnerships to bring the professional world to life for our students, and developing new opportunities for the community to participate in our mission.

Which brings me to our most delicious adventure yet.

In support of Lead Up’s critical work to create opportunities for minority and low-income students, and to celebrate all things space, Simply Amaizen Popcorn has crafted a special, limited edition popcorn series called, “Out of This World.”

There are three flavors in the series, bringing to life the taste of imagination, courage, and the boundless possibilities of space.

The best part? This popcorn not only tastes good, it does good, too!

Now through early fall, proceeds from sales of Out of This World will benefit Lead Up.  Think gifting, recognizing friends, volunteers or co-workers, Apollo parties, or just some indulgent snacking.  Every delicious pop helps young people find their courage, and leap out of their world into new, boundless possibilities.

You can purchase these special popcorn concoctions at Lead Up events and order it online.  If you’re out and about, stop by Simply Amaizen in Clocktower or the new Foundry coffee bar at 211 N 14th Street.

But don’t wait too long. Out of This World is selling fast and will be, well, out of this world soon.

Julie Allen

Founder and CEO

Lead Up FAQ of the Month:

Isn’t Lead Up just another college-bound program?

College searches, applications, looking for scholarships and financial aid, ACT prep and assisting with completing the dreaded FAFSA; Lead Up coaches students through them all.  Yet one of the most overlooked parts of the post-high school planning process is helping young people develop their range of possibilities. Often called “finding a passion,” it is the critical task of discovering one’s talents and strengths, and exploring the best and most interesting ways to use them.

Lead Up organizes career exploration around a broad vocational area and builds quarterly programming that offers uncommon, in-depth experiences that connect students to real-life learning and problem solving alongside established professionals.  We call them “360’s.”

“More Than Words,” our most recent 360, explored careers and vocations that connected to the written word. Leaders got first-hand experience as they worked with writers, editors, illustrators, programmers, booksellers, library scientists and writing teachers while creating their own eBooks for publication.

Marion Wright Edelman famously said “You can’t be what you can’t see” and at Lead Up, those words are the heart of our mission.  Too often, students who lack resources or support, are excluded from enrichment activities, organized programs or other opportunities to build networks that provide access to the people and information they need to chart their course.

Lead Up helps them see, AND prepares them to be.

Notes & News

Welcome, Brooke!

There’s a new face on the Lead Up Team, AmeriCorps VISTA Brooke Crider. Brooke is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She entered college knowing she wanted to study art and to practice creative problem solving everyday. While participating in a work-study program at Calvert Elementary, she developed a passion for education and plans to combine this with her love of art. After her year of service with Lead Up she will return to school for her masters in art education. As a tutor and summer camp leader, Brooke knows the value of programs that allow students to explore their interests in a creative and meaningful way; Lead Up gives students this opportunity. Brooke is excited to work with Lead Up as an Americorps VISTA and is beginning to dive into her new role on our team.

We Need our Space

In a few weeks the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. According to NASA, it took more than 400,000 engineers, scientists, technicians and others to accomplish that amazing milestone. It was, in the words of Buzz Aldrin, “the greatest can-do team ever assembled on the face of the earth.”

Lead Up believes that the next great can-do team is forming up right now, and our current 360, “Space,” will be an opportunity to explore its many related career pathways.  Over the next few months, Lead Up students will have a wide range of experiences in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as space-related applications within the arts and humanities.

Here are a few highlights of our flight plan:


Genealogical research and data preservation

At Lead Up we are helping young people write their stories, so it fits perfectly to be a part of NASA’s oral history project, Apollo Stories. Lead Up leaders are interviewing Lincoln seniors and archiving their perspectives and memories of the Apollo era. The collected stories will be shared with NASA for inclusion in its compilation examining the Moon’s cultural and scientific influence over the last half century.

Learn and Lead

Our students are hard at work, surveying the facts and figures of the Apollo 11 mission and the science that helped the United States reach and walk on the moon. To celebrate all they’ve learned, they are creating fun and engaging activities, games and exhibits to celebrate the moon landing at the Nebraska History Museum.

Science Research – for real

The best way to learn is by doing, and as GLOBE Observer citizen scientists, leaders will be gathering data about clouds, water, plants and other life in support of climate research. As a part of the GLOBE Observer program, their data will be used by climate researchers to verify NASA satellite data tracking changes in our environment across the globe.

Observing the Night Sky

There’s nothing like a starry night to spark imagination and weave dreams for the future. Throughout the fall, we’ll be working with professional and amateur astronomers of the Prairie Astronomy Club to learn more about planetary science and related careers. Then, using all of that wonderful new knowledge, students will host the community for a Star Party at the Holmes Lake Observatory.

Go for Launch

Students will design, build, test, launch, track and recover a near-space satellite. The satellite will carry a miniaturized scientific payload, carried aloft by a high altitude balloon. This project will unfold in several stages over the course of the coming year and involve aerospace instructors and mentors from across the country. Simulating the NASA project cycle, students will work on interdependent sub-teams to carry out their mission including: Science, Engineering, Mission Logistics and External Engagement.

You’re coming, right?

July 18 - When We Went To The Moon

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.   –  History Nebraska Brown Bag Lecture Series

You’ll usually hear her talking about all things college, but did you know our CEO is also a space enthusiast and NASA Solar System Ambassador?

Join Julie and relive that momentous July evening when Nebraskans joined people across the globe to watch the enthralling images of Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin exploring the moon a quarter of a million miles away.  And back in Nebraska? Retrace the journey of Apollo 11 through the lens of life in the Cornhusker state in 1969. Learn more about the interesting connections and contributions Nebraskans made to the Apollo program, and to the space program today, as NASA continues to explore the wonders of the universe.

July 20 - Nebraska Goes To The Moon

1:00 – 4:00 p.m.   –  Nebraska History Museum

Join in the Apollo 11 celebration hosted by Lead Up! Free, family friendly activities including a moon rock scavenger hunt, science experiments and building a self-powered Mars rover. Play some popular 60’s games, hear lunar stories from around the world, and spend some time behind a telescope with some sidewalk solar astronomy.

Looking ahead – save these dates!

September 24 - Alumni Fair

October 4 - International Observe the Moon Night Star Party

Time to be announced   –  Holmes Lake Observatory

October 18 and 19 - 2nd Annual Carve Up

Join us for two days of fun at Gateway Mall

Questions or more information?  Email admin@leadupne.org.