Daniel “Lubangakene” Otto (born March 5, 1994) is a South Sudanese American entrepreneur and former athlete for Nebraska Cornhuskers of the of the Big Ten Conference. He ran high school track and field for Lincoln Northeast High School before joining the Huskers for the 2013-2014 season. Otto was born in Juba, Sudan
Daniel was born to Paul and Josephine Otto in Juba, Sudan. Facing persecution, the family fled to Uganda to escape the Second Sudanese Civil War. Otto spent his childhood in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. A refugee camp in Hoima District in Western Uganda. In November 2003, the UNHCR relocated the family to the United States when he was nine years old. The family eventually joined many other Sudanese refugees in Nebraska.
College and Sports
Otto joined the 2013-2014 huskers cross country team from Lincoln Northeast High School where he posted a personal-best of 1:55.48 at the 2013 NSAA Track and Field Championships, 1:57.11 at the Norfolk Invitational and a fourth place finish in the 800 meters with a time of 1:58.36 at the 2013 Nebraska District A-4 Championships. Otto was a two-time captain in cross country and track and field while running for the rockets. He was a three-time Nebraska State championships qualifier, earning two medals at the state meet. The South Sudan native did not compete in 2013. Daniel redshirted after suffering an early season injury in 2013 but chose not to return to the team for the 2014 year due to concerns about aggravating existing injuries.The oldest of six children, Otto continued to pursue degrees in accounting, economics, and political science after walking away from college sports. On August 3, 2014, Otto was featured in the Lincoln Journal Star in which he mentioned that “his college education is as much about being a role model to his younger siblings as it is achieving his own goals”.
In 2017, Otto joined Lincoln Literacy Council, a multi-award-winning nonprofit formed to teach the English language to immigrants and refugees arriving in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a volunteer instructor, he developed and maintained relationships with students from Iraq, Mexico, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and China. The nonprofit experience made a positive impact on Daniel. When the Trump administration began tightening immigration policies, and the U.S economy began to show signs of labor shortage, Otto later indicated that Otto Recruitment & Consulting’s values of community and diversity were inspired by his time at Lincoln Literacy Council. “We’re the future workforce — Arabs, Vietnamese, Mexicans, people of different faiths. Everyone’s tolerance is being tested.” Otto was quoted in a 2017 Dallas Morning News article. The story was picked up by more than 50 media outlet around the country.After finishing his coursework in economics, Otto was among nearly 3,200 graduates who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during commencement exercises. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne delivered the address at the undergraduate commencement and received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the university. The graduates were from 60 countries, 46 states and the District of Columbia, and 250 Nebraska communities.
Daniel is the son of Paul and Josephine Otto. The family migrated to the United States in 2003 and joined many other Sudanese refugees in Nebraska. The oldest of six, Otto has a younger sister, Elizabeth who is a Ronald McNair scholar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the summer of 2018, under the guidance of Dr. David DiLillo, she conducted academic research on sexual objectification and sexual assault among African American college students. The study examines African American women’s sexualization in hip-hop music through testing implicit biases: Otto’s uncle is the Luo writer, Taban Ongee, a South Sudanese Australians, he is the author of the dictionary “Acholi Dictionary-English (Acoli Edition)”. Otto is an Acholi of Luo descendant.