Husker alumna writes book with the hope of inspiring peers to reach their potential

Saturday, April 30, 2022 - 12:45pm

College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumna Nicole Kyung Buntgen has always loved writing, it’s what drew her to Andersen Hall in 2016. In high school she was actively involved with the student newspaper and yearbook clubs. Buntgen declared a journalism major early on, but eventually switched to advertising and public relations when she started to narrow in on her interests.

Now, Buntgen is the advertising account executive and contributing writer for Edge and Dine magazines in Omaha and at the age of 24 she’s fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

“When I turned 23, I experienced a huge year of growth and my life just started turning around in a really good way,” Buntgen said. “In my role at work I kept meeting with published authors and eventually I realized that becoming a published author was something I could achieve too.”

Buntgen knew she needed to refocus in September 2021 on her half birthday when she realized she hadn’t taken any steps to reach her goal of publishing a book by the age of 24. One week later she enrolled in a book publishing program that has helped guide her to becoming a published author.

After engaging in numerous writing workshops and narrowing down her many book topics, Buntgen decided she’d write what she calls a creative memoir. The memoir focuses on three foundational parts of her life that have made Buntgen who she is today– adoption, racial ignorance and mental health.

"When I told people I was writing a memoir, the number one thing people asked me was if I was too young to be writing a book about my life," Buntgen said. "But I truly think you're never too young or old to go after something you're passionate about."

Buntgen said the core people who would benefit the most from her book are young adults looking for growth in their professional and personal lives.

Readers may be looking for an outlet, positive reinforcement, or a call-to-action to chase after dreams. These elements along with reflective research can be found within Buntgen's book with a touch of personal flare.

“At first I thought it’d be easy to sit down and write this since I’m essentially writing about my life. I didn’t expect that I’d need to do a ton of research,” Buntgen said. “But it’s forced me to slow down and reflect, it’s helped me see how much I’ve grown.”

It’s important to Buntgen that her creative memoir has educational value in addition to her personal stories, so she ended up conducting more research than was initially planned to ensure her topics inspired the reader’s sense of curiosity.

Interviewing her parents about the story of her adoption and fact-checking statistics with her doctor was a crucial step in Buntgen’s book development process. The need to verify information and fact check throughout her writing journey speaks to her degree from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

“This book highlights areas of my life that not many people know about and while there are some sad stories, I wanted to be as real and raw as possible,” Buntgen said. “I want my readers to feel inspired and motivated; I want them to realize that their potential is obtainable.”

"Onward and Upward" is set to publish in September 2022. Learn more about Buntgen and how to support her campaign here