SCC biotechnology student drawn to variety in STEM

Logan Wessel
Logan Wessel

An untraditional collegiate path shapes how Southeast Community College student Logan Wessel views careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

After graduating from high school, Wessel entered the workforce but found himself unfulfilled and struggling with feelings of uncertainty.

Five years later, Wessel decided it was time to go back to school.

Now a second-semester freshman at SCC, Wessel’s wide range of interests within STEM have allowed him to engage with multiple fields of study and become a member of SCC’s first cohort of STEM CONNECT Scholars, a grant funded by the National Science Foundation.

Wessel will participate in a program that provides support to academically talented, low-income students at SCC, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) with interest in careers that require strong skills in mathematics or computer science. More Scholars from SCC will join STEM CONNECT in Fall 2020.

“I think I’ve always been curious,” Wessel said. “I’m a product of my social situation, so growing up, all my favorite classes and professors were my science teachers, and they took interest in me as well, so I just kind of followed suit.”

When he enrolled in SCC in Fall 2019, Wessel declared a nursing major, but as he began visiting his academic advisors more frequently to ask questions and discuss his academic path, one advisor prompted him to change his major to biotechnology and guided him to opportunities that would hone his interests and satiate his curiosity.

SCC counselor Misty Wehling also suggested Wessel apply for STEM CONNECT, which allows students from STEM disciplines at SCC and WNCC to transfer to UNL after two years of study.

While in hindsight, STEM CONNECT was always the perfect opportunity for Wessel, he credits his post-high school job for giving him the confidence both to apply and thrive in college.

“I would say I’m an introverted person in the first place, but being out in the real world and seeing how things work and working for a business, the sales aspects helped me a lot with how I talk, how I speak to people, how I think about things and analyzing them for what they really are,” Wessel said.

Wessel’s entire college experience has been predicated on change, especially in light of the social distancing and remote learning experiences of this spring, but Wessel advises students to embrace the change and learn from it.

“Some people come to college and they change their majors five or six times, and I think that’s OK—that’s part of the learning experience,” said the Wexford, Pennsylvania, native. “So is making mistakes—and they’re not even mistakes, they’re just changes. I think that really helps you mature and progress as a person.”

About the Author: This feature on Logan Wessel was written by Gabrielle Cottraux, a UNL sophomore majoring in English and advertising and public relations. This semester she is working in the CSMCE as our recruitment and social media strategist.

Read more about the Spring 2020 STEM CONNECT Scholars