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Cultural and Social Studies Alumni Stories

Alums Making it Happen

Here directly from Cultural and Social Studies alumni about their experience at Creighton.

Jessica Ploen

Jessica Ploen was a double-major in Sociology - Criminal Justice and Philosophy - Applied Ethics. Jessica engaged in undergraduate research, doing a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) study. She also was active in the Schlegel Center for Service & Justice and studied abroad. Her international experiences led her to working directly with refugees and immigrants at Lutheran Family Services. Her work with data and research as been a significant assistant in her work with refugees in the nonprofit sector.

Alumni Advice

  • Do what makes sense for you to be doing.
  • Learn other languages and some technical skills as an undergraduate.
  • If you have the momentum to attend graduate school immediately, then do it, but you do not have to do it right now.

Tim Langdon, JD

Tim Langdon, JD, majored in Health Administration & Policy and minored in Philosophy. Because of his exposure to social science and humanities, he thinks of healthcare in terms of the full spectrum of someone's needs, all of the social determinants of health. Tim's position at United Healthcare is to work specifically with Medicaid and to consider the social determinants of health and healthcare costs. Tim seeks to understand the intersection of health and healthcare systems and how they work together to affect healthcare outcomes of Nebraskans.

Alumni Advice

  • Consider the full spectrum of a person's needs. The more you know the better you can serve them.
  • Do good things and be good to people.
  • Life has a lot of ups and downs - not everything is going to work out and that's okay!


Gwen came into Creighton as a nursing student. When she took a Social Work class her second semester freshman year though, she realized she was called to do something else. Gwen double-majored in Social Work and Justice & Society. Gwen did her Social Work practicum hours with Nebraska Appleseed, assisting in healthcare community organizing. Post-undergrad she did Jesuit Volunteer Corps in California, working with clients on issues such as housing & immigration. Today, she is back at Nebraska Appleseed as a Community Organizer.

Alumni Advice

  • Find a major you love, but remember a major does not define your life.
  • Always be a person for and with others. BE in the process of listening to others and making their voices heard.
  • Consider how people are impacted directly by systems and how you can help their needs be met by systems.

Gus Von Roenn

Gus Von Roenn was an anthropology major and sociology minor. He credits his anthropology degree for helping him understand what he wanted, and to helping him develop a worldly understanding of community. Gus served on the Omaha Metro Food Council which is where he began applying permaculture principles to vacant land. Permaculture focuses on sustainable living for both people and the earth. This led him to found Omaha Permaculture as a way to assist low-income communities in Omaha utilize vacant land and structures to become something of value to their community.

Alumni Advice

  • Stay curious.
  • Everything you try will teach you something that you would not know otherwise.
  • What are your values and what do you want your community to be? Let this guide you.