Fitness Instructors

Fitness Instructors

Adrienne Wilson

Adrienne Wilson


About myself:

• After reaching my goal of becoming a registered nurse in 2007, I realized I needed to care for myself as much as my patients. I decided to embrace fitness and a healthy, active lifestyle. I quickly noticed a positive change in my energy level, mood, confidence, and appearance after joining a gym. Group fitness class quickly became the best part of my day! I formed close friendships with other members at the gym as well as my fitness mentors. As my confidence level and skills grew, my fitness mentors encouraged me to instruct. It was one of the best decisions I have made! I'm currently ACE certified, BARRE INTENSITY certified, teach cardio dance and am in the process of completing my Yoga certification. My goal for the classes I teach is to foster confidence in my participants, make them feel successful, connect with their body, and love their bodies. My passion for fitness has a lot to do with the inspiration I get from my participants and the growth I see in their fitness journey. It is truly humbling and rewarding. I have a lot of extra energy and I spend it on hobbies like growing orchids, sewing, and gardening. Outside of the gym I stay active playing and walking with my ornery Irish Wolfhound mix-Gus, hiking national parks with my husband, and trying new things to keep me active. 

Alex Foutch

Alex Foutch

About myself:

I am currently a junior and am a Communication Studies major. I love to dance and that is what really motivated me to become an instructor. When I came to UNL in 2015, I started going to fitness classes and loved it. I was hired to start teaching my second semester of my sophomore year and have loved it! The goal of my class is to make my participants feel comfortable in their bodies, have some fun, and live, laugh and smile!

Amanda Robine

Amanda Robine

About myself:

I started group fitness to increase my knowledge about the body and exercise. I love learning different movements and challenging myself to build strength and stamina. Making personal connections is something that I really enjoy about group fitness, and how being around other members of a class can really influence the workout. To motivate my classes, I like to keep the classes fun and challenging.

Amber Harmon

Amber Harmon

About myself:

All throughout high school I was involved in sports and exercise without even thinking about it. When I got to college I knew that I needed to find a new way to keep myself healthy. For me, that was group fitness classes. Group fitness classes introduced me to several friendships that have helped to keep me motivated not only on my fitness path but also in school. During my first semester, some of my friends suggested that I should teach group fitness. I took instructor prep at UNL in the spring and can't wait to start this fall and share my love and passion for fitness as other instructors have done for me!

Caroline Jezierski

Caroline Jezierski

About myself:

Unlike many yoga instructors who can pinpoint when yoga entered their life, my path is less defined. My earliest memories are from my childhood. My family had a kids yoga book that my sisters and I used to practice poses. I took my first “official” yoga class in 1999 in a small cabin in a rural northern California. My teacher was a woman in her seventies who had started practicing yoga later in life. Her attention to detail in the asana or poses and her firmly held belief that we have the ability to change ourselves, no matter our age, continue to inspire me. Until the past few years, I practiced mostly on my own, but have grown to enjoy practicing in the company of others.

Throughout my life, I have been a guide; although the topics and settings have varied, my dedication to providing a safe, informative experience has remained the same. I thrive best as a student when I feel comfortable asking questions and learning more about the topic being offered. It is my hope that my yoga students will be comfortable enough to ask questions, make suggestions, and grant me time to research solutions when needed.

Casey Sorensen

Casey Sorensen

About myself:

Christine Reiners

Christine Reiners

About myself:

• Dance has always been one of my passions because even though I can sometimes be a shy person, I feel like I can be whoever I want to be when I'm dancing!  Group fitness has been my outlet to share this love and passion with others.  My initial reason for becoming a group fitness instructor was because I loved to dance.  Now that I have been teaching for a while, I have found that group fitness classes also provide a great place to meet new people, relieve stress, boost confidence, and most importantly, have fun!!  It's not about comparisons or body type; it is for everyone!!  Aside from group fitness, I was also a member of the UNL Flagline while in college, and I am now an interior design assistant at Fritz and Lloyd Interiors. 

Courteney Turner

Courteney Turner

About myself:

Yoga has been adventure for me ever since I discovered it while living in Wyoming. Some people come to yoga for the physical benefits and some come for the mental. I was definitely in the mental camp. Yoga helped me overcome anxiety and depression leaving me with an incredible urge to share its healing with others. I love to show others how wonderful they can feel in their own skin and how they can take that feeling off the mat and into their everyday lives.

Danielle Trejo

Danielle Trejo

About myself:

I began my yoga journey in 2012 following many years of sports and high intense workouts. I completed my yoga teacher training with Lotus House of Yoga in March 2016. While living here in Nebraska, I have had incredible opportunities to train with and learn from many leading yoga instructors. Before moving here to Lincoln, I was teaching yoga to military members at Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue, Nebraska. My classes are vinyasa based flow that weave in meditation, stress reduction and a sense of fun.

Erin Benner

Erin Benner

About myself:

Growing up, the majority of my time was spent swimming laps at the pool or learning a new routine at the dance studio. There was never a dull moment- always go, go, go! The "always busy lifestyle" is a recipe for unnecessary anxiety and exhaustion, so as I grew older, I learned the importance of making mindfulness and meditation a part of my daily life. I now study psychology and am interested in learning more about the complicated relationship between our physical and mental health because they both play such important roles in our overall well-being.

Erin Ng

Erin Ng

About myself:

Upon returning to UNL for graduate school, I decided to make fitness a larger part of my life. I've always had trouble with motivating myself to exercise, so group fitness classes gave me the perfect environment of support in my fitness journey. After being inspired and encouraged by some truly amazing group fitness instructors, I decided to become a group fitness instructor myself. Although I love going to all types of fitness classes, with my dancing background, I have focused on dance-based fitness classes. Since I'm getting my master's in Spanish, one of my favorite parts of teaching Cardio Dance is being able to add a latin flair and teach my students some Spanish along the way! I am very excited to help and inspire students in my classes, just as my group fitness instructors have done for me.

Heather Neale

Heather Neale

About myself:

I have been a devotee of yoga for almost a decade. I first began practicing yoga when a friend of mine invited me to join her for a class at our local park recreation center. As a mom of 3, I was looking for a way to get back into a healthy lifestyle. The benefits I experienced in yoga reached far beyond my expectations. No matter how stressed I was, when I walked into this space I left a calmer, more peaceful self. My ultimate goal is to help others experience the benefits of yoga in a manner that is most beneficial to them and believe that success is measured when my students reach their own unique individual goals. My calming approach is enthusiastically met by my students who have expressed to me many times over that my classes provide a much needed outlet to the stresses of daily life. My approach towards yoga can best be described as holistic, with an equal emphasis on body, mind, nutrition, and overall wellbeing.

Jennifer Harms

Jennifer Harms

About myself:

I started attending group fitness classes with a few friends back in High School and quickly grew to love the atmosphere they provided. Group fitness gave me motivation and a desire to continue exercising even after my sports career was done. This style of working out provided me with some awesome lifelong friends and gave me the team feeling I greatly missed since High school sports. The instructors of these classes have so much energy and excitement regarding exercise and it sparked the passion I now have for group fitness. I am so grateful for the chance to be leading group fitness classes at UNL and the opportunity to engage with others, motivate them and help guide them to remain physically fit throughout their busy lives.

Jill Cornelius

Jill Cornelius

About myself:

I have been a dancer from when I started walking up until I graduated high school. Once I got to college, I realized that I missed that part of my life, and I wanted to continue to stay active. I heard about the group fitness classes that Campus Rec was offering and decided to give them a try. I started out taking Cardio Dance classes since they were the most similar to what I was used to, and instantly loved the structure and atmosphere of the class. I am very excited to get to teach each week and hope to provide a fun atmosphere to my classes as well!

Kate Likens

Kate Likens

About myself:

I've always enjoyed fitness, I grew up taking dance classes and playing every sport that my parents would let me! After my first year of college, I really started to miss dance and wanted to get back into it - that's when I discovered group fitness! I instantly fell in love with the idea of being able to share my passion for dance with others as well as being able to make fitness fun! What I love most about group fitness is that it creates a positive, fun environment!

Katelyn Cook

Katelyn Cook

About myself:

In high school I struggled with my self-esteem, happiness, and trying to find something that I truly love. That all changed when l discovered a YouTube channel called Blogilates. I was never someone who was very active or fit until I began doing Blogilates' YouTube videos and was instantly hooked on what is known as POP Pilates. After two years of doing POP Pilates at home, it was announced that there was going to be a certification available to become a POP Pilates instructor and I immediately knew that I wanted to do just that. I worked towards getting my group fitness instructor and POP Pilates instructor certifications simultaneously, allowing me to begin my journey into teaching group fitness classes. I love teaching as it allows me to spread that same joy and happiness that fitness has brought me POP Pilates is known for having tons of positivity and happiness incorporated into it and that is one aspect of all my classes that will never be forgotten.

Kelsey Pruss

Kelsey Pruss

About myself:

• For the last 6 years, I have taught group fitness classes for UNL Campus Recreation. I received two degrees in Nutrition and Health Sciences and still love to learn about the ever-changing realm of health and wellness . After working in several "big-girl" wellness settings, I recognized what actually fuels my passion, and am now teaching health education at a private college in the area. Apparently teaching never leaves the blood :) I love to set up my classes like a community, where everyone helps build each other up. Plus we get a little chatting and laughing in while participating in a great workout!

Kenzie Burnham

Kenzie Burnham

About myself:

Kim Barrett

Kim Barrett

About myself:

I am the Assistant Director of Wellness Services & Fitness Programs for UNL Campus Recreation and serves as chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on Wellness. I have been in the health and fitness industry for 18 years serving in various aspects of wellness, including: cardiovascular health, obesity and disease prevention, personal training, group fitness, stress management and holistic wellness programming. I am a busy mom with 3 kiddos and 2 black labs—and one hubby. My favorite motto is “what doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.”

Kristina Kors

Kristina Kors

About myself:

• I came to yoga in high school through my mom and sisters and thought it would be a good way to help my body recover from the other sports that I participated in. While I came to yoga as a physical practice, I stuck around for the exploration of self that comes from connecting the mind and body. I earned my 200-hour teaching certificate from One Tree Yoga in 2015 and my passion for teaching has only grown since then. In my classes you’ll find a safe space to be vulnerable while exploring and challenging yourself both physically and mentally.

Leah Adams

Leah Adams

About myself:

I have been teaching at UNL’s Recreation Center since the summer of 2013. I grew up playing volleyball, and have always enjoyed fitness and going to the gym. During my time as an undergraduate, I discovered the group fitness classes offered at the Rec Center. Needless to say, I fell in love with the classes and admired the passion and energy that the instructors embodied. After participating in group fitness classes at the Rec for three years, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and peruse becoming a group fitness instructor. Through this experience, I was lucky enough to meet a ton of great people, and make life-long friends.

My ultimate goal as a fitness instructor is to provide experiences that are not only fun, but also challenging and rewarding. I love seeing my participants improve and surprise themselves with their progress. Having participants approach me and say that they have noticed changes truly fills my heart. I genuinely believe that their positive energy and dedication to fitness is what has made me grow as an instructor.

Madeline Wiseman

Madeline Wiseman

About myself:

Hello! My first yoga teachers were Patricia Walden and Rodney Yee on VHS. I’ve been practicing since 2000 and teaching yoga since 2011. I completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program. I also teach cycling. Before moving to Nebraska, I married my college sweetheart, and we fell in love with bicycles. There’s so much here in Lincoln—great bicycling trails, friendly community, variety of fitness classes. I practice yoga daily to become a better teacher. Yoga is a path towards kindness, body acceptance and awareness, flexibility, and the quietude of the mind’s chatter. Welcome! It’s good that you’re here.

Madison Hayes

Madison Hayes

About myself:

Fitness became very important to me when I got to college. I started going to the rec center as a way to relieve stress. Running became a great outlet. During this time I realized that fitness not only helps your body but also your mind. I ended up loosing close to 30 lbs., and found that fitness really helped with my anxiety, stress, sleep and concentration. I have always loved to dance and was a cheerleader in high school. Once I got to college I really wanted to do something with dance but never new what, or how to accomplish this. One day a friend invited me to a Zumba class and I fell in love. I loved going to the fitness classes here at UNL. The atmosphere was always so much fun. I remember talking to my friends about how much fun it would be to be a fitness instructor, and it would be a perfect way for me to do something in dance. Both my friends and family pushed me to get my certification. I can say I am so glad that I did! I love coming up with new choreography and watching others have fun dancing to something that I created, and making exercise fun! I am a very positive person, and love to laugh. Life is too short to not live life to its fullest.

Nicole D'Angelo

Nicole D'Angelo

About myself:

Hello! My interest in group fitness began by taking Zumba classes during my undergrad here at UNL. I found that I enjoyed the cardio classes, but wanted to incorporate strength into my workouts. After branching out and trying some strength classes, I discovered that my favorite kind of workout is mixing both strength and cardio together. This past spring I was able to get my group fitness instructor certification. My degree is in Education and being a group fitness instructor has allowed me to combine two of my favorite things: fitness and teaching!

Nicole Searcey

Nicole Searcey

About myself:

After reaching my goal of entering dental school, I wanted to strive toward another goal: becoming a fitness instructor to further promote health in my community. Group fitness classes are so enjoyable and beneficial because they bring people together, promote positivity, and encourage us to work our hardest. The benefits of mental concentration, stamina, and determination translate from the gym to other aspects of our life. This is why I love group fitness and I hope you will too!

Nicole vonAschwege

Nicole vonAschwege

About myself:

I am a Nutrition, Exercise, and Health Sciences major beginning my second year here at UNL. I run for the Nebraska Track and Field team and am a part of FCA, the National Leadership Society, and the Athlete to Athlete Mentoring Program. Health and fitness have been a huge part of my life since I was a little kid and becoming a Group Fitness Instructor is such an exciting step for me because I get to share that love with others and be a role model and grow in this journey with my class goers! My goal is to create a better community through promoting health and wellness in those around me. 

Rachel Huenink

Rachel Huenink

About myself:

My first few years with yoga I spent more time off the mat than on it. I would try a class every now and again, try a video at home and even the WiiFit. It became routine during pregnancy. I found my peace and strength through the practice up until the day of delivery. After that I kept coming back to my mat to find even more healing, strength and peace. I kept having this calling to teach yoga. I checked out the teacher training program at Lotus House of Yoga and haven’t looked back. I successfully completed the 200 hour training program and am now Yoga Alliance Certified.

My hope is to get everyone to try yoga and to let go of whatever assumptions they may have about it and themselves. I hope that my students will feel safe to have fun and explore in my class while finding inner peace through this moving meditation.

Rachel Lukowski

Rachel Lukowski

About myself:

I grew up being very active, energetic and hard-working. I played every sport in grade school, and in high school I stuck to volleyball, cross country and track and field. I fell in love with running and the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of every practice or long run. As an athlete, I always had a strong interest in the way we train and fuel our bodies. I believe that total health starts from the inside out. The more love and respect we show ourselves, the better we will perform in all aspects of life. I decided to pursue my passion for wellness, nutrition and fitness by studying to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I went to Iowa State University, where I received my Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science in a 5-year Diet and Exercise program. While at Iowa State, I worked with Campus Recreation Services as a Group Fitness Instructor and taught a variety of classes including: cycling, strength training, boot camp, cross training, jump fitness and TRX. I earned my ACE Group Fitness and have my Schwinn Indoor Cycling Coach Certifications. As an Omaha native who was born and raised a Husker fan, I am super excited to have been accepted into UNL’s Dietetic Internship and complete the final steps to become a Registered Dietitian. I look forward to sharing my passion for wellness with my participants, helping others find joy in working out and moving mindfully and embracing their physical and mental strength!

Rae Thomas

Rae Thomas

About myself:

Growing up in Colorado I was always doing something active whether it was hiking, sports, snowboarding, or dance! Naturally health and fitness has always been an interest of mine, but I spent the majority of my younger years focused on a very narrow version of health which ended up being super unhealthy. This has since fueled my passion for holistic health and body positivity! I have combined what I learned from past experiences and my education in the Counseling Psychology program at UNL in order to help others on their path towards health both physically and mentally! For more information, inspiration and resources feel free to check out my Instagram @healthywayrae

Rebecca Plantenga

Rebecca Plantenga

About myself:

I currently work full-tine at Anderson Ford as a Service Writer, a former student of UNL, studied Music Education. I found my passion for fitness when I was 12 years old on my schools Universal machine. Did I just age myself? Don't let that fool you. I competed and coached many sports, but swimming was my primary love. Hanging up my goggles just a few years ago, but itching to return. I've been a dancer my whole life, the daughter of a professional dancer. I've been a member, coached, and judged many dance lines and flag corps. Performed in bowl games and professional games. I have competed in powerlifting and bodybuilding and choreographed for other competitors since 1991. I have personally trained and most recently was the General Manager of Gold's Gym. I've trained many new fitness instructors who have blossomed into amazing instructors. My drive started out as a typical young woman but after a life altering experience I've shifted to passing on safe practices but still pushing your body to its limits. I broke my spine 14 years ago, told I would only walk again and stripping my identity from me. Here I am, 14 years later, teaching all kinds of fitness classes from kickboxing, cycling, Zumba, toning and core classes, running, and swimming. Empowering others with knowledge, passion, and the will to be better, to live a healthy lifestyle. Working out to me is now my way of avoiding a wheelchair while inspiring others to move and overcome obstacles to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The benefits are endless, DON'T GIVE UP!!!

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

About myself:

I fell in love with teaching group fitness as an undergraduate at Western Illinois University. I decided I wanted to pursue campus recreation as my career and went on to graduate school at Colorado State University. I was recently hired as the Group Fitness Coordinator here at UNL. I love being able to impact those around me by helping them lead healthier happier lives. My favorite classes to teach are strength and kickboxing, but if I’m honest I love all of them.

Shantel Gassman

Shantel Gassman

About myself:

My whole life I have been passionate about health and fitness, more recently I have merged this interest with my field of study, psychology. Throughout high school I participated in sports and in undergrad I maintained activity by visiting the Campus Recreation Center. While in undergrad, I majored in psychology and began to realize the connection between our mental and physical states of health. I became fascinated by the interaction of these systems, how participating in exercise and maintaining a healthy diet benefited my mental health and how being in a pleasant and mindful mental state benefitted my physical health. Now in graduate school, I have continued this interest by focusing my research on health psychology and optimal human functioning. I believe in a holistic view of health, that we all can be the best versions of ourselves when we are attending to our physical, social, and psychological states simultaneously. 

Shelly Sorensen

Shelly Sorensen

About myself:

I have been involved in the fitness world teaching group exercise since the mid-80's when Jane Fonda and leg warmers were all the rage! I was working as a business manager at Arizona State University at the time and participating in group exercise classes over my lunch hour. I discovered how much I enjoyed working out in that environment and was encouraged by an instructor to think about leading classes. After becoming certified I began teaching those noon hour aerobic classes at ASU, continuing until I moved to Lincoln! When I landed a job at UNL as a business manager I explored the possibility of teaching group classes over my lunch hour again and was fortunate to have been welcomed in to UNL's fitness world. I have been teaching group fitness classes here since the mid-90's. Many things in the fitness world have changed since Jane Fonda and leg warmers, but there has always been one constant...the people. I love getting to know my participants. The students, the faculty, the staff. Making a difference in people’s lives is the most rewarding. Encouraging participants, offering variety, modifying exercises and adapting to individual needs to keep them coming back is what it’s all about. My role as a group fitness instructor is to facilitate the experience, making it effective and most of all FUN.

Sierra Mongeon

Sierra Mongeon

About myself:

My relationship with how I viewed myself has ultimately shaped my journey in to becoming a group fitness instructor. Everyone has had past struggles and I can relate. I don’t think fitness should be a competition. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and that’s okay. I also am someone who really likes to read the latest studies relating to health and fitness (you should see my inbox…#full) and apply the science to real life. I want people to see that fitness can be fun and something you look forward to! Lastly, I want to share the confidence and mental strength fitness has given me with everyone. I think the world could use some more of that.

Taylor Sidore

Taylor Sidore

About myself:

• I am the Group Fitness Graduate Assistant starting my second year earning my Master’s towards Nutrition and Exercise Physiology! I began my fitness journey in my undergrad at University of Oregon realizing I needed to find a new team setting after playing soccer my whole life. I discovered I loved strength classes and thought I would totally love teaching, but wanted to work one-on-one before I moved to a group, so I began personal training. Once I started teaching, I fell in love with the creativity of designing classes and getting a group of people to take time out of their day to do something amazing for their body and minds. It is such a cool experience seeing individuals pushing themselves outside their boundaries and trying new things they have never done before.  

Vanessa Delaney

Vanessa Delaney

About myself:

I am a life long fitness addict. I started teaching group fitness classes when leg warmers were popular ( the first time). I began practicing yoga in 1993 and teaching yoga in 1998 and Pilates in 2003-time flies when you are having fun:) I love to share my love of fitness with others. My fitness motto is "Fitness is a life style with no finish line."



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