Professor Spotlight: Sean Ahern

Professor+Sean+Ahern+with+Willy+the+Wildcat

Whitney Winter

Professor Sean Ahern with Willy the Wildcat

Kristian Perez, Staff Writer

Sean Xavier Ahern is an assistant professor in the communication Arts Department at Wayne State College. Ahern teaches Sports Writing, Radio Production and Radio workshop. Ahern is also the advisor for the on-campus radio station, KWSC-FM 91.9 The Cat. Ahern received his Bachelors of the Arts in Communications Studies in 2009 at Colby-Sawyer College. He then got his Masters of the Arts in Popular Culture in 2012 at Bowling Green State University. Ahern then took his education a step further and earned a doctorate degree in American Studies in 2019 at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Ahern credits the COVID-19 pandemic for his arrival at WSC.

“I remember I had interviewed at a college in New Jersey, I was feeling really good about it than two weeks later COVID hit really hard,” Ahern said. “I had interviews set up at different places as well but because of COVID they all go canceled.”

Ahern’s move halfway across the county to Wayne, America was unplanned, and very sudden.

“Summer of 2020 I wasn’t sure what my future was going to look like,” Ahern said. “I was living with my roommates in New Jersey when I saw there was a job opening in Wayne, Nebraska. When I submitted my application, I got a call two hours later, and got interviewed over zoom. They asked when I could start, so I packed up my life and moved to Nebraska this past August.”

Dr. Deborah Whitt, chair of the Communication Arts Department, has been teaching in her department at Wayne since 1985.

Ahern works with students during his classes and while helping with the production of KWSC-FM 91.9 The Cat.

“My favorite thing about Wayne State College is the collaboration between my staff and I,” Ahern said. “I like how we work together; everyone is very helpful both in and out of the classroom, they prepare my students while in their classes to do great in my classes.”

Whitt admires Ahern’s relationship with his students and how interactive each of Ahern’s classes are.

“I work closely with Sean, I love to see his energy and passion for the radio on campus, his students are very interactive with his energy. Sean is a long way from home but has handled it so well,” Whitt said.

Moving to Nebraska came with many culture shocks for Ahern, casual midwestern politeness being one.

“My biggest adjustment after coming to Wayne is not being used to people being so nice!” Ahern said. “Waving is not a thing you see very often in New Jersey, but I see it all the time here.”

The culture of Wayne, NE is polar opposite of Ahern’s home state of New Jersey.

“Back home you put your head down and go about your day, here in Nebraska, everyone knows you which is a good thing but then again everyone knows you,” Ahern said. “Which means eyes on you, I love that people wear their hearts on their sleeves, they’re all so kind which can be strange to me at times.”

Patience is big for me ever since moving to Nebraska, I come from a place that’s high speed, everyone is always going but here in Nebraska I have to have patience when I’m driving, when I’m working with students, it’s not that people out here are slower it’s that they have more reasonable expectations, I’m very appreciative of Wayne the students are so bright.” Ahern said.