Connect

Midland University - Fremont, Ne
 
 
 

Weston Shepard is Intentional Using His God-Given Talents

Weston Shepard is Intentional Using His God-Given Talents

Nov 7th , 2018

In the spring of 2018, Midland University Campus Ministries hosted their 2nd annual “Restore” retreat for young Christians. The theme of the event was “The Dash”, that symbol between a person’s birthdate and date of death. The motto “We all get one "dash... What will you do with yours?” beckoned students to consider, “Are you making the most of the time you have? Are you using your God-given talent to serve others and to make a positive impact?” Weston Shepard was on the leadership committee for this event. A person who lives his life aware of that “dash”, it was no coincidence that this was the theme. Be it in academics, athletics, ministry, leadership, or his relationships, he is intentional about using his God-given talents and the opportunities he has been given to serve Christ every day and to have a positive impact on others. He is an amazing example of “Learning…Applied!” at Midland University.  Weston has applied his strengths and welcomed opportunities to enhance his knowledge and skills, and has carved out a career path and a life he wants to build.

Weston chose Midland based on his goals to attend a University with a strong faith history, play basketball at a college level, and obtain a solid education in Business and Accounting. Midland met those requirements, and more. He was offered an outstanding scholarship and an opportunity to be a part of a community.

While a rigorous academic and basketball schedule kept him busy his freshman year, Weston desired to grow spiritually during his time at college. He attended Bible Study and began to build strong relationships with Reverend Brandon Van Marel, Director of Campus Ministries and the other students attending Campus Ministry functions. During his sophomore year, he volunteered his time and talents to Campus Ministry, and that became an opportunity for him to serve as the Campus Ministry student work study for his junior and senior college years. He also facilitates Bible study groups for the “Joshua Team”, a Campus Ministry leadership team consisting of 7 students.  

When the team decided to execute an annual spring Campus Ministry Conference, Weston jumped at the opportunity to lead and serve. The first year of the conference, he said, was about planning an event – the details and the organization and the ability to think things through quickly and making the best decisions. Year two of the conference, he said, was more about building community – working with many different people and learning about how to best motivate and reach people. He relied on his talent to delegate to assign tasks and set people up for success. “I learned a lot about my faith in the planning process, as well. Through the stress of planning, I found that you can get lost in the details and lose track of the main point of the event. It made me realize that I needed to focus on the event’s mission of leading people to a deeper relationship with Christ, and base our decisions on what would help us attain that goal.”

Rev. Van Marel had this to say about Weston, “I met Weston his freshman year and early on I knew he was special, but I had no idea how gifted, passionate, and wise that he would become.  Over the past four years, I have seen him demonstrate hard work and perseverance in the middle of challenges.  He has shown maturity and leadership as he took on new endeavors.  He has shown care and compassion for those that are struggling.  Anyone who has met Weston will immediately recognize that there is something special about him.  He has a joy that never seems to waiver and hope that allows him to push through all things.  He is the type of person that any accounting firm would love to have; he makes things better because of the standards that he sets for himself and others.” 

While Weston was growing spiritually, he was also growing in his leadership and as a young professional. He was chosen to be a Resident Advisor at Midland his sophomore and junior year. Now, in his senior year, he is a “Student Hall Director” for Beegle, Midland’s largest Co-ed Freshman residence hall. In this capacity, Weston mentors the male hall advisors. While training for this position last fall, he felt the following, “My perspective shifted. I realized that this would be my last year as a hall leader at Midland, and I asked myself what I could do to help prepare the next leaders…what am I pouring into them to help them grow as men and leaders?” He decided to do more mentoring, in the halls, in Campus Ministry, and as a member of the Midland Men’s Basketball team. He took on the role of an Assistant Coach, where he has the capacity to mentor and “push the guys to help them be more successful in the program. Coach Oliver Drake said, “We are really thankful that we have had the opportunity to work with Weston throughout his college career. Weston is an unbelievable teammate and person. He embodies our core values, living his life with great faith, unselfishness, integrity, and toughness. Weston does it all...from helping guys with their homework to leading team prayers, building community and modeling selflessness with everything that he does. We are truly blessed to have Weston in our program and we can't wait to see what he accomplishes next.” 

Kris Dvorak, Midland’s Director of Student and Residential Services, has had the opportunity to work with Weston throughout his years at Midland. “His heart is as big as his faith, both of which he shares with others. He is an excellent student, Senior Resident Advisor, Admissions Ambassador, involved with the men’s basketball program, Campus Ministries, and not to mention his internships with Fremont Contract Carriers and Seim Johnson. To say he is an involved and busy student is an understatement. Weston is a natural born leader and I am excited to see what he does with his talents after graduation. Whatever he chooses to do, I am certain he will excel.”

Weston also dedicated himself to building his knowledge and skills in accounting by being an active learner in the classroom and by embracing opportunities to learn in real-world business environments.  Jon Moxness, his accounting professor, said, “Weston is not only an outstanding student, but he has used his time at Midland to develop himself in many ways.  He has participated in athletics, gained leadership experience as a Resident Advisor, served in the campus ministry program, and had two accounting internships.  It takes good time management skills to be able to excel in so many areas.  These experiences will position him well for success in the future.”

Weston interned at Fremont Contract Carriers (FCC) for the full summer of 2017.  According to Lisa Mayer, Controller, “During his time here he tackled many projects handed to him by myself or our CEO, Tim McCormick.  Tim and I quickly learned, no matter what we gave Weston, he could process the task given and deliver it timely and without errors.  I was most impressed with Weston’s analytical skills.  He truly understands what he’s doing and is not just going through the motions.  If Weston did not understand something, he would ask questions until it did make sense, allowing him to proceed.  His eagerness to learn and his overall understanding of the basic fundamentals was very refreshing as you could tell, he has paid attention as he has worked towards his degree.” 

 

“When Weston’s internship ended, FCC offered to keep him on part time, but understandably his academic and athletic schedule wouldn’t allow this. To my surprise, in the spring of 2018, Weston emailed me and asked if we had any temporary work we could offer.  We did not hesitate in bringing Weston back as he proved to be a reliable asset for FCC.  Weston has matured into a fine young man and we were thrilled and excited to have him come back and work, what little time he could. He will go on to do good things in the Accounting and Finance world.”

 

During the summer of 2018, Weston was chosen to be an Auditing Intern at the Seim Johnson accounting firm. In this six-week program, he had the opportunity to train and work on audits with professionals in 2 hospitals and a sanitation improvement district. “I learned a lot about what a CPA does daily, what an audit is like, and how to communicate and build relationships with clients. The learning was constant, challenging, fast-paced, and fun!” At the end of this internship, he was offered a full-time job. Upon his graduation in May, he will join Seim Johnson as an “Associate 1 Auditor”.

 

Job in hand, Weston is now making the most of his senior year to prepare himself for life after college. He took on the opportunity to be a Becker Ambassador on campus, promoting their Certified Public Accountant test preparation resources to other students. He knows this will benefit him greatly, as he will use their resources to study and reach his goal of passing the CPA Exam within one year of graduation. He is challenging himself to not relax but rather, to be engaged and soak in all the knowledge he can. He is taking his Auditing course now and feels his internship has helped him attain a deeper understanding of the material. He chose to take a Sales & Marketing course in order to be more well-rounded and knowledgeable for his future clients. He said, “Knowing that I have a great job secured, I need to learn all I can about business and how to work with a wide array of people who will have different needs.”

May 2019 will be an awesome month for Weston. He will graduate and then marry his college sweetheart, Michaela Millikan, a recent Midland graduate.  During his tenure at Midland, Weston has intentionally learned, led and volunteered. Leading with his CliftonStrengths of Self-Assurance, Responsibility, Achiever, Relator and Significance, he has grown in positive ways in all aspects of his life – in his knowledge, experience, personal life, and in his quest to be close to Christ.  He desires to make a positive impact in all of these areas throughout his life. No doubt he will.

Weston’s advice and challenge to himself and to current and future Midland students? “Think about ‘the dash’. Are you making the most of the time you have? Are you using your God-given talent to serve others and to make a positive impact? Strive to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Have a relationship with The Lord and live it out as a student, in your career, and in your personal life. When you do that, all falls into place.”