Business and Technology: Business Instructor Maryjan Fiala


Steven Hamling, reporter

Maryjan Fiala, Business Instructor at Northeast Community College says of her career, “I don’t know that I really chose higher ed, I think it kind of found me.”   She discovered her passion for teaching while working at her previous job at Central Community College in Schuyler, but her road to get there was filled with interesting and varied jobs in business.

She grew up south of Kearney, Nebraska and attended Wilcox-Hildreth High School.  She took college classes at various institutions including Wayne State, the University of Nebraska, and finally Peru State.   She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management. She has two Masters Degrees, one in Organizational Management, and another in Adult Occupational and Continuing Education from Kansas State University. At Central, she managed an Adult Education Program, and it was there that she found her love for classroom teaching. “I did not set out to be a teacher, no. I actually set out to be a business leader, a CEO somewhere. “ Fiala had a variety of jobs in business including her very first job working at Southfork Drive – In, Minden NE, where she served hamburgers and ice cream. After that, she was a bank teller and personal banker, did software support, and other business related jobs that prepared her to train business students. “It allows me to put my education and experience in business together with my education in education, and hopefully deliver meaningful content and experiences for my students in preparing them for 21st century business.”

Her first position at Northeast Community College was as the Associate Dean of the Business and Technology division. She also had the opportunity to be an adjunct instructor before deciding to become a teacher full time. She now teaches a variety of business classes and really enjoys educating students along with working with them one on one. “I absolutely love working with students. I absolutely love being in the classroom and planning meaningful activities to help them understand the complicated theories and concepts related to business. I love seeing those light bulb moments where they learn something new or are able to connect with something that they have experienced in the workforce.”

Her goal as a teacher is to educate her students and to prepare them for a career in business. She has also taught English as a second language, and she works as an advisor to the business students.  She works with students to help them with schedule planning, any obstacles they may face, and determine how to overcome those challenges. She also works with a team of four or more instructors to plan the business curriculum and serves on various committees.

Besides being a teacher, she is also a parent and a runner. “I really do enjoy running.  I have completed two half marathons, so two 13.1 mile races and have run several shorter races, 5k races. I really do enjoy running, I like to get out there, get fresh air, and get my heart pumping.”

She also enjoys watching Husker football and does quite a bit of travelling with her husband and young children, ages 4, 5, 6.   They traveled to Kansas City, Chicago, and last summer, toured New York City.  “ I think they have the same interests as their mom. They like to see new things and experience new experiences. Their favorite so far was getting to see the Statue of Liberty. They talk about seeing it a lot still.”

Between all the work she and her husband do, Fiala says they have a great support system between the college and their daycare. “ When we come home after work  it makes that time as a family even more special and those weekends together even more special. So we try to do fun things for the kids during that time and do the best we can to manage both our professional responsibilities and our responsibilities as parents.”