Huntsman Scholar Program Welcomes New Assistant Director
The Huntsman Scholar Program began almost ten years ago as way to provide an outstanding undergraduate curricular and extracurricular experience to high ability students. Due to a significant donation from the Huntsman Foundation, this program now brings together roughly 20 percent of Huntsman undergrads (400 total), representing a four-fold expansion of the program, and pairs them with incredible teachers and professional staff for a cohort-based, rigorous, one-of-a-kind undergraduate business education program. Students will participate in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences across four years, with a program of study focused on academic rigor, critical thinking, and mentoring to provide a solid understanding of business enterprise, with a heavy emphasis on professional development and career placement. Huntsman Scholars will receive a $2,000 annual scholarship for up to 4 years and a fully-funded international experienced focused on their career development.
A key part of the future of the program will be Huntsman Scholar alumnus Blake Nemelka, the new assistant director of the Huntsman Scholar Program, with responsibility for day-to-day administration of the program as well as recruiting and selection of students. Blake comes to the Huntsman School most recently from the University of California Santa Barbara where he led a strategic enrollment initiative in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor. He is also currently finishing his PhD in higher education administration from Purdue University. His research there focuses on higher education administration, program and learning design, and college/career readiness. He and his twin brother Bo, also a Huntsman Scholar alumnus, published their first book, The Middle School Student's Guide to Academic Success, with Simon & Schuster and FranklinCovey in 2016. Blake has worked in enrollment management administration roles at both Purdue University and Dixie State University. He has an MEd in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University, the nation’s top graduate school of education, and three BA degrees in business administration, marketing, and international business from the Huntsman School of Business. Blake was a Huntsman Scholar and University Ambassador during his time at Utah State.
When speaking of his new position, Blake noted that, “the nature of higher education, especially among highly ranked programs, is such that continuous assessment and innovation is essential to student success. As a former Huntsman Scholar who has tried my best to do everything my mentors told me to do at Utah State when I expressed personal career interest in business education administration, I believe I am not only qualified for the new task at-hand, but bring today’s top research and experience with me to assure our undergraduate business education at the Huntsman School will be among the best.” Blake believes that while academics are perhaps the highest standard for the program, his recruiting and retention philosophies take into account a holistic review, placing importance on non-academic factors such as determination, leadership, and creativity.
“We are so pleased to have an alumnus like Blake join our team to help further the Huntsman Scholar expansion,” said Dean Douglas Anderson, “I have known Blake for many years and followed his career path and I am elated that he is back at his alma mater.”
Blake and the rest of the faculty and staff involved in the Huntsman Scholar Program reviewing top-ranked peer institutions and beginning in the Fall 2018 semester, a new “Scholar Development Model,” as Blake puts it, will be fully implemented to implement the vision for the program. When speaking about this model Blake said, “Employers and graduate schools want students who excel in all areas of their life. The Huntsman Scholar Program will continue to be purposefully designed to meet key aspects of personal success and wellness. While career development/placement and academic rigor will continue to have a heavy emphasis, we are going to implement various extra- and co-curricular programming strategies that hit on other areas of success such as service, leadership, and personal communication. Additionally, it won’t be uncommon for scholars to learn more about and practice better techniques to be prepared physically and emotionally for the demands of the workplace and life in general. We will develop students who are thinking well beyond the classroom, both during their time here and in their future. When I picture a ‘scholar’ I want to be able to see a well-rounded individual who is ready to Dare Mighty Things and change the world!”