2020-2021 NSSNA State Board

Mariah Orduna, President

Mariah Orduna is in her final year at Clarkson College. She will graduate in December of 2021 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Before Nursing school, Mariah was pursuing a Psychology degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she worked as a clinical conduct associate for a Medical Research company. Through her own journey as a patient and working in the clinical role as a phlebotomist, she decided to pursue healthcare. That is when she decided to become a CNA. After graduating from UNL, Mariah moved to Omaha to continue her education in nursing. After Mariah graduates from nursing school, she hopes to have a job working in critical care. Mariah served on the board as the Breakthrough to Nursing Degree in the 2021-2022 academic year and will be continuing on as President for her second year on the board. She enjoys volunteering for Open Door Mission, Foodbank for the Heartland, and Love Justice International. She is also a member of National Society of Leadership and Success and Sigma Theta Tau- Omicron Epsilon. Aside from nursing school, Mariah is currently planning her wedding and dreaming of when travel will become safe again. She also enjoys cheering on the Huskers, Phoenix Suns, and Seattle Seahawks in her down time. Her goal is to elevate Nebraska State Student Nursing Association to a higher level through recruitment, supporting the rest of the board, and offering members opportunities to give back to the community as student nurses. 

Brittany Masters, First Vice 

Brittany Masters is in the first year of the nursing program at Mid-Plains Community College expected to graduate with an Associates of Nursing Degree, May 2022. Nursing is a career change for Brittany as she earned her Bachelor of Science Psychology from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 2012. Brittany has worked in the children and family field since 2012, when she began her career with Child Protective Services. She has been involved with child abuse prevention for many years, working with families to identify their strengths and barriers. After graduation Brittany plans to advance her education to the Doctor of Nursing Practice level to become a Nurse Practitioner. This is Brittany’s first year on the Nebraska NSNA board. She is honored to have been selected to be 1st Vice President. Outside of the classroom Brittany serves her community by volunteering and has been active in the Child Abuse Prevention Counsel, Community Response Workgroup, Community Youth Initiative, Systems of Care, Drug and Alcohol Forum and the Transitions Counsel. Brittany enjoys traveling, being outdoors, spending time with family, friends and her dogs. As Vice President, Brittany’s goal is to cultivate regional collaboration, plan a successful 2022 conference and encourage nursing students across Nebraska to become involved in NSSNA activities. 


Douglas Shinner, Second Vice

Douglas Shinner is a Junior at Nebraska Wesleyan University and will graduate in May of 2022 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Douglas has been interested in helping others for as long as he can remember, and was drawn to nursing after he saw nurses provide compassionate care to his grandparents in their end of life care. After graduating from nursing school, Douglas hopes to pursue a career in either cardiac or emergency nursing, with a focus on public health and leadership. This is his second year serving on the NSSNA board, previously fulfilling the role of Legislative Director in the 2020-2021 school year. Douglas is active in his local SNA chapter and looks forward to more community-based volunteer opportunities in the upcoming year. Outside of the classroom, Douglas can be found enjoying the bicycle friendly trails across Lincoln and going on adventures with his boston terrier, Leo. While serving on the board, he hopes to be a representative of nursing students across the state and help steer the incoming generation of nursing students to leadership opportunities.

Joseph Polasek, Treasurer

Joseph Paul Polasek is a first year nursing student at Mid Plains Community College, and expects to graduate with his ADN in May 2022. Leading up to nursing school Joseph graduated with his Associates in Surgical Technology. He has been working as a surgical technologist in the surgery department at Great Plains Health in North Platte since moving from Houston, Texas in the Fall of 2019. Joseph's plans after becoming an RN is to complete a BSN program, gain critical care experience and attend an anesthesia program thereafter. Joseph has always enjoyed working with budgets, spreadsheets and anything numerical. After beginning to pursue accounting, he decided on a more personal way of helping others and entered the medical field instead. With his experience and passion for finances, it makes sense that he would be drawn to the title of Treasurer on the NSSNA Board. Joseph's plans for his time on the board is to bring fresh ideas and a diverse background to keep elevating Nebraska's student nurses community. Joseph also serves as Vice President on a Perioperative Unit Base Council, as well as holds a position on a volunteer donations committee at the hospital. Outside of school, Joseph enjoys traveling every chance he gets and finding the next best meal. Joseph is excited to be a part of a team of leaders and to hopefully make a difference in the year they have together. 


Natalie Kennicutt, Secretary 

Natalie Kennicutt is currently finishing up her second semester at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Kearney, Nebraska and will graduate in May of 2022 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Natalie has always known she wanted to work in healthcare, and when she started working at CHI Health Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney as a CNA  her decision to become a nurse was solidified. Throughout this year Natalie is excited to serve as the secretary on the NSSNA board and represent student nurses all over Nebraska. She also serves on the UNMC Dean’s Student Advisory Council, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and Student Alliance for Global Health.  Natalie enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering in her community, and sitting down with a warm cup of coffee. After graduation Natalie plans to work as an ICU nurse and continue her education. Natalie is passionate about serving others, is a life-long learner, and is honored to represent you as the NSSNA State Secretary.

Tracy Tran, Breakthrough Director

Tracy Tran is currently a second semester student attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Kearney, Nebraska and is expecting to graduate with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in May of 2022. Tracy always knew that she belonged in the healthcare field. She worked as a CNA at CountryHouse in a memory care unit and is now working at CHI Health Good Samaritan as a Student Nurse Technician. Her plans after nursing school is to work on a neonatal intensive care unit as a registered nurse while she continues to advance her education to the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in order to become a nurse practitioner. Tracy currently serves on the Disciplinary Committee at UNMC-Kearney. Outside of school, she enjoys weight-training, spending time with friends and family, and drinking her daily dose of iced coffee. Tracy’s goal is to recruit students to be a part of NSSNA as this is an organization that will help future nurses become leaders of the nursing profession. Tracy is honored to serve you as the next NSSNA Breakthrough to Nursing Director. 


Jessica Papke, Legislative Director 

My name is Jessica Papke, and I am a senior student in the BSN program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at the Lincoln campus. This year I have the opportunity to serve as the 2021-2022 Legislative chair. I am eager to get involved in healthcare policy and learn more about how we as nurses can have an impact on these issues. I am excited to have the opportunity to learn more about healthcare legislation and collaborate with fellow nursing students on how we can create change in our communities. Outside of school I enjoy drinking coffee, traveling, and spending time outside. 

Ann Aufdengarten, Nominations Director

Ann Aufdengarten is currently in her 1st year of the nursing program at Mid- Plains Community College and is expected to graduate with an Associate of Nursing Degree, May 2022. Ann was always destined to become a nurse. She has been in the nursing field for 20 years. She started at the bottom as a CNA. In 2004 she graduated from the Licensed Practical Nursing program at Mid-Plains Community College. She has worked in various fields of nursing and has expanded her knowledge of nursing by doing so. Her children are getting older and flying the coop,  so she thought now would be a great time to further her education. She plans on going on to get her Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing and working her way to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. This is Ann’s first year on the Nebraska NSSNA board. She is honored to have been selected as the Nominations chair. Outside the classroom Ann works at Perkins County Health Services where she works very hard to be a great mentor by being a leader and encouraging her fellow staff to follow their dreams, no matter their age. Ann enjoys traveling, being outdoors gardening, and spending time with her husband, four children,  family and friends camping, fishing or just sitting around a fire enjoying the stars. As the Nominations chair she wants to use her knowledge and experience as a nurse to encourage nursing students across Nebraska to join the NSSNA.

Raven Lance, Consultant

Raven Lance is the NSSNA Consultant. She is currently a Cardiovascular ICU Staff Nurse at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. She previously served on the NSSNA board from 2018-2019 as the Image of Nursing Director. During that time, she worked to revamp the social media presence and  created the Image of Nursing Social Media Award with the Image of Nursing Committee. She served in many professional organizations during her time in nursing school and participated in many community service activities. She was the 2019 Nebraska State Student Nurse of the Year, which she notes as one of the greatest honors that she has ever received. She graduated in the spring of 2019 with her BSN from Clarkson College. She enjoys her time as a nurse, and spending time with her husband and two children. She hopes to eventually go back to school and study law with the end goal of working on health policy. She has also been extremely interested in CRNA school for many years. "There are many very different career paths, but that is the beauty of nursing you can go in so many different directions!"


Roseanna Vapenik, Student  Advisor 

Roseanna Vapenik is a second year ADN student at Mid Plains Community College. She is currently attending Mid-Plains Community College and will be graduating in May of 2021. Before starting the ADN program at Mid plains Roseanna started in the medical field 13 years ago as a CNA. She then continued her education and pursued her degree as an LPN. She has continued to work as an LPN for the last 10 years. She has been blessed to work with Chase County Community Hospital for the last 6 years where she has been on the safety committee as well as the planning officer for the incident command team. In the last year she accepted the position of Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.  Roseanna also enjoys volunteering for her local Emergency Medical Service where she has served as an EMT for a little over 4 years.  After graduation she is looking forward to bringing her knowledge back to rural Nebraska. Roseanna had the pleasure of serving as the 2019-2020 Nominations Chairman and is looking forward to spending another year on the board as Student Advisor.