NGTC Hosts First Student Fellows Retreat

Wed, 08/31/2022

The Nebraska Governance and Technology Center (NGTC) held its first Student Fellows retreat from August 26th through August 28th in Ashland, Nebraska. Complete with overnight lodging rooms and dining options, the Carol Joy Holling Conference and Retreat Center warmly welcomed us as the retreat unfolded. Following introductions on Friday evening, there was a guided night hike and Center campfire.

On Saturday morning, Wayne Bennett from TeamWorx guided us through Battle Robots. Teams of Student Fellows assembled balloon-popping robots – the winning team in just 37 minutes and 45 seconds – and lead them into battle. This was a great team building exercise, and we thank Wayne for coming to Ashland from Sacramento! His blog post on the event can be found here: 

Following Professor Kyle Langvardt’s talk on the First Amendment and unregulated speech protection by digital platforms, Student Fellows were able to go ziplining, practice archery, or go canoeing. After dinner, Professor Mark van Roojen gave a presentation on his work on philosophy, philosophical ethics, and metaethics. Since Student Fellows are interdisciplinary, this was a great presentation to expand upon our law-technology knowledge.

Niloofar Mansoor, a NGTC Postdoctoral Student Fellow who attended the retreat, comments

"I had a great time during the NGTC retreat. I enjoyed the robot building and battle because the activity required group work and collaboration, and I got to know a few other student fellows better. Also, building robots was cool! I found [Professor Kyle Langvardt’s] talk about the First Amendment and social media very informative and interesting, as it gave me a clearer perspective on that matter. Overall, the retreat was both informative and fun!"

Jamieson Battistella, a Student Fellow who studies Psychology also attended, states    

"It was so amazing to be able to be out in nature, learn from some incredible academic minds and spend time with a group of people who while all are so different, also have so much in common. Even the activities like archery and battling robots forced us all out of our comfort zones to grow and connect more with each other. I’m excited to see what we all can do next with the skills and knowledge we have gathered from the retreat."

The Student Fellows Retreat was the first event of many this semester. It provided a safe and supportive learning environment for those who attended, and we are grateful to everyone who made it possible.

Launched in 2020, the NGTC studies the ever-changing relationship between law and technology, and the issues faced by society in a technological world. The Center is housed in the College of Law, and collaborates with the Nebraska Colleges of Business, Journalism and Mass Communications, and Engineering. For more information, please visit

Tags: Center News, Fellows