Peru State College
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News Release

Channel 10/11 Recognizes PSC Biology Club With Can Care-a-Van Spirit Award


Spirit Award
Spirit Award

(Peru, Neb.) The Peru State College (PSC) Biology Club has been recognized by KOLN/KGIN Channel 10/11 and News Anchor Serese Cole with the Can Care-a-Van Spirit Award for the group’s work with the Nemaha County Food Pantry and the Southeast Nebraska Community Action Council, Inc. (SENCA).


The 10/11 Can Care-a-Van is an annual food drive that takes place in communities across Nebraska and northern Kansas each year.


Promotions and Public Affairs Director for KOLN/KGIN Nikki Bates said, “The 10/11 Can Care-a-Van would not be possible without the help of volunteers and donors such as the Peru State Biology Club. It is truly a group effort to serve our community. We appreciate their hard work."


Members of the PSC Biology Club have volunteered their time to help SENCA raise awareness about hunger throughout southeast Nebraska and conducted a variety of food drives throughout the past year. The most recent drive for the Can Care-a-Van collected 2,465 pounds of food, surpassing SENCA’s 2,000 pound goal.


Biology Club President Dawn Plympton said, “As a part of the Peru State College family, we feel that we are meant to get involved outside of the campus setting. We know there are people and families who are in need of assistance and we are doing our best to help. Sasha Rightshall at SENCA has been wonderful, providing opportunities for us to achieve our goal of being involved. We are tremendously honored to be the recipients of this award, and we look forward to continuing our service on campus and throughout the community.”


Members of the Biology Club, along with their hometown, year and major, are:

  • Devin Garcia – Diller, Senior, Chemistry Education
  • Joe Helseth - St. Paul, Minn., Sophomore, Criminal Justice and Wildlife Ecology
  • Tina Helseth - St. Paul, Minn., Senior, Pre-Veterinary Science and Wildlife Ecology
  • Seth Lueck – Kearney, Sophomore, Accounting
  • Kimmy Miller - Cheyenne, Wyo., Junior, Biology Education
  • Dawn Plympton – Auburn, Junior, Wildlife Ecology
  • Robert Plympton – Auburn, Sophomore, Wildlife Ecology
  • Devon Roesener – Cook, Senior, Biology, Chemistry and Natural Science Education
  • Colleen Rothe-Groleau - Weeping Water, Senior, Biology and Wildlife Ecology
  • Justin Schomerus - Nebraska City, Senior, Biochemical Science
  • Jessica Shefferd - Nebraska City, Junior, Biochemical Science
  • Randi Steele – Burwell, Senior, Wildlife Ecology
  • Anthony Yates – Lincoln, Junior, Biology and Wildlife Ecology


The Can Care-a-Van began in 1988, when Nebraska Food Pantry Network Coordinator Joanne Komenda and former KOLN/KGIN General Manager Frank Jonas worked together for Farm Aid. The partnership worked so well, it became an annual event. Since then, the Can Care-a-Van has collected more than 3 million pounds of food for families in need. All the food donated stays in the community/area. For more information about the Can Care-a-Van, contact Bates at 402-467-9212 or visit


SENCA is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation headquartered in Humboldt, Neb. The organization offers a wide range of services aimed at reducing poverty, revitalizing low-income communities, and empowering low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient. SENCA works with individuals throughout southeast Nebraska, including Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson Counties. For more information, visit