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He's back at UNK and loving it: UNK graduate takes job as Academic and Career Services advisor
Chelsea Archer
Antelope Staff

“Go Buckeyes! Er, I mean, go Lopers!” Aaron Estes, a Kearney native and two-time UNK graduate, sometimes forgets he’s not in Ohio anymore. Estes recently moved back to Kearney after spending three and one-half years at Ohio State University as an athletic academic counselor.

“I was pretty fortunate to go from UNK to the biggest athletic department in the country,” Estes said. “Going straight there was a cool thing, but it was a bit of a culture shock. There are about 50,000 students at OSU and 900 of them are athletes.”

Estes moved back to Kearney this January to take a position as a UNK Academic and Career Services advisor. Both Estes and his wife are UNK graduates, and they knew someday they’d like to return to Kearney.

“It feels great to be back,” Estes said. “I’m still trying to relearn UNK and get Ohio State pushed out of my brain. They were on a quarter system, which was only about 10 weeks, and it went really fast. I’m still trying to adjust to the pace here.”

Estes graduated from UNK for the first time in 2004 with a sports administration undergraduate degree.

“I knew I wanted to work in the athletic department working with students on academic and personal development, but then I realized I needed a master’s to do what I really wanted,” he said.

In 2006, Estes graduated from UNK with a degree in counseling. After graduation, he began working at Ohio State.

“The more I worked with athletes, the more I realized I like working with students in general,” he said. “I realized I didn’t need to limit myself to athletics only and that allowed me to broaden my horizons. I was excited when I learned that Academic Services and Career Services were combining together, because I like helping students plan their academic career and life after college.”

“I had a good experience here as an undergraduate student,” Estes said. “I was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, and it provided good times and opportunities to build leadership skills and do community service. I also participated in National Student Exchange with a friend, and we went to South Carolina paying UNK tuition. I encourage everyone to look into it.”

“My dad worked in the department where I was taking my graduate courses,” he said. “Unfortunately, he passed away early on in my graduate years. A lot of professors and students knew him and talked to me about him. He worked at UNK for 30 years. I like to think that UNK has a family atmosphere, because it was nice to be in that environment while dealing with my dad passing away. It dominated my graduate experience.”

“After graduation, the most surprising thing I experienced in my job at Ohio State was how prepared I was. I never missed a beat, and I stepped in and began working right away,” Estes said. “Some undergraduate students underrate the value of a UNK education, but they are very capable and ready to step in on their first job.”

When asked where he sees himself going career wise, Estes said he’d like to consider himself a UNK-lifer.

“I was basically born a Loper fan and I enjoy working with students,” Estes said. “It’s a fun and laid-back environment.”

Go Lopers!

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