Panther Push: Panthers share their passion for UNI

Most students spend their academic breaks relaxing with friends and family before school starts up again. Students involved in UNI's Panther Push program, however, spend their breaks talking about UNI at their high schools.

Panther Push
As part of Panther Push, Kevin Gartman will share his UNI story with students from his high school during Thanksgiving break.

Panther Push is an outreach program co-run by the Student Admission Ambassadors and Office of Admissions. Any UNI student can participate in the program after filling out an application and attending a one-hour training session. More than 138 school districts across Iowa will receive a visit by a Panther Push member during break.

Junior business teaching major Kevin Gartman first got involved with Panther Push in fall 2012 and is excited to discuss new experiences he's had as an upperclassmen this year. "I am looking forward to doing Panther Push once again," he said. "I plan to share my story about how far UNI has brought me as a student and person."

During their presentations, students share the usual facts about UNI, like student-teacher ratios and the friendly campus environment. But, according to Panther Push committee co-chair Emily Huckfelt, it's those personal stories that are the most inspiring. "The best stories are the ones that only you can share," she said.

Students typically do Panther Push presentations during Thanksgiving and winter breaks, but according to Huckfelt, "It's always an ideal time to talk to high schoolers about UNI." However, Panther Push is about more than just recruitment.

For UNI students, it's a great way to gain leadership skills and build resumes. It's also an opportunity for reflection. "I never realized how far I've come as a person and leader until I walked the halls of Waukee High School once again," said Gartman.

Those sorts of realizations help students appreciate their UNI experience even more and further motivate them to share their stories. "I couldn't have imagined a greater experience with my time at UNI," said Gartman. "This is my chance to give back and pass on that experience to others."

For more information about Panther Push, visit