Highlights Summer 2015

Concordia University, Nebraska was blessed with many successes throughout the 2014-15 academic year. The following list includes some of the many accomplishments achieved by our students, faculty and staff. 

Student Highlights

Amanda Abbott, Rachel Dahlke, Cody Eitzman and Katelyn Peterson served on a mission trip to Alaska with St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska, in the summer of 2014. Jan Bruick, administrative assistant for the College of Graduate Studies & Adult Education, also participated in the trip.

Josh Allwardt, Kara Einspahr, Evan Kucera ’14 and Alexander Scheiber were accepted to University of Nebraska Medical Center to attend medical school.

Josh Allwardt, Tanel Baehr, Lara Bergdolt, Rosa Gonzales, Meredith Hein, Shelby Hohnholt, Trevor Miller, Kelly Murray, Jami Nekoliczak and Shelby Stolze traveled to Guatemala March 6-12 on a health education and medical mission trip in conjunction with HHP 489: Global Health with Dr. Jennifer Janousek, program director for Master of Public Health, and Dr. Sarah Matthias, a friend of Concordia.

Jonathon Anderson, Jacob Henson and Joel Ristvedt placed in the top 10 percent at the ACM North Central North America Programming Contest at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nov. 8, 2014.

Zach Barz, Ashley Canfield, Kelli Mack, Makenzie Polacek, Sophie Simonsen, Emily Spieker, Angie Steinbacher and Jacob Tuma traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 7–14 with Christ for the City, International to complete a mission trip. Concordia alumna Melanie Wollslager Dehning CO ’80 GR ’06 led the students on this experience during which they worked with children and youth in outreach and social ministry activities.

Sean Berry will be working on an archeological dig in the summer of 2015 at Tel Gezer, Israel, near Jerusalem.

Mark Bender, Curtis Byal, Kali Robb, Kendall Schick and Aubrey Schultz completed the trap and skeet team’s first season, attending five tournaments. 

Lara Bergdolt received a fully paid graduate assistant position in biochemistry at University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Sylvia Braun, Hannah Miller and Hannah Willison placed at the 2015 Nebraska Independent College Foundation/O’Keefe Elevator Company Art Show
in Omaha, Nebraska. Braun earned the top spot in 3-D artwork for her piece “To Hang.” Miller earned third place with her piece “Wrestling Abstraction” in the 2-D artwork category. Willison won first place in the 2-D work category with her mixed media piece “Untitled.”

Sean Carpenter accepted a music and worship summer internship at Concordia Publishing House.

Matthew Chapa, Elizabeth King, Spencer Owen, Hannah Rose, Christian Schultz and Christine Young will attend Professor of Theology Dr. Mark Meehl’s Holy Land Tour in the summer of 2015.

Stephanie Coley and Carolina VonKampen co-edited the 50th anniversary edition of its creative writing journal, “Potpourri,” this spring. Dr. Gabriel Haley, assistant professor of English, helped lead Concordia’s chapter of the International English honors society Sigma Tau Delta to publish the journal.

Abigail Connick has been accepted into graduate school programs for library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Indiana University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Abigail Connick, Rachel Dahlke, Clyde Erickson, Emily Hayes, Montana Hayes, Justin Kathman and Elizabeth Keane will serve on a mission trip to Alaska with St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska, in the summer of 2015. Jennifer Freund, adjunct professor of biology, will also attend the trip.

Rachel Dahlke, Laura-Li Gaide, Mary Leising, Samarah Mourning, Maria Sasieta, Emily Spieker and Emma Wendorff, along with Rev. Dr. John Mehl, Concordia’s director of mission partnerships and church relations, and Julie Johnston Hermann, director of global opportunities, participated in an Urban Plunge in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the fall of 2014. The group did a prayer walk, FoodNet food distribution, reading program with Sudanese children and Evening Watch street meal program with The Salvation Army.  

Erica Ellis has been accepted into the Air Force SMART program and will be working at Hill Air Force Base’s Science and Engineering Lab.

Madison Euse studied in London, England, during the spring 2015 semester and served on a local mission project.   

Marol Feickert participated in the 18th annual Christian College Nationals for Forensics at Colorado Christian University. There she placed first in the Novice Program of Oral Interpretation, along with finishing second and sixth in Novice and Open Faith Literature, respectively.

Hannah Fortna spent the spring semester in an exchange program at Concordia College, New York.

Paul Gaschler’s original hymn tune “Jesus, Lead Thou On” was published in Lutheran Forum Magazine.

Jenelle Hallaert will be attending the University of Kansas in the fall of 2015 to earn her Master of Science in counseling psychology. She was also accepted to the other schools to which she applied: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Antioch University Seattle and Emporia State University.

Laura Hedstrom won the Lincoln, Nebraska, chapter competition of The Regional Competition for Young Organists on March 14, 2015. Hedstrom will compete at the North Central regional competition in June in St. Louis, Missouri. The winner of that competition will perform in June 2016 in Houston, Texas. Both of these rounds of competition are held during conventions of the American Guild of Organists.

Daniel Heiser and Nicole Perry were inducted into Concordia’s chapter of Phi Epsilon Kappa, a national professional fraternity for persons engaged in physical education, health, recreation, dance, human performance, exercise science, sports medicine and sports management. 

Danielle Jarvis spent a semester studying history in Florence, Italy.

Nicole Jensen and Kelli Ryddner, both special education majors, served hundreds of campers with significant disabilities and their volunteer buddies at Bethesda’s Camp Matz in Watertown, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2014.

Peter Klinge earned a Research Experience for Undergraduates internship at Kansas State University in physics.

Emily Kollbaum and Melonie Kotschwar finished in fourth place in Novice Duo Interpretation at the 18th Annual Christian College Nationals for Forensics held in Colorado. Kollbaum and Kotschwar also placed fourth and seventh in Novice Dramatic Interpretation, respectively.

Amber Leifeld was the first graduate to complete an online initial birth through third grade teacher certification while completing the early childhood master’s degree program.

Jordan Miller’s choral arrangement was commissioned and performed by the Tomball (Texas) Intermediate School Choir.

Katelyn Peterson studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica during the fall 2014 semester.

Alyssa Renken and Renee Williams were the first early childhood majors to complete their student teaching overseas in Hanoi and Panama.

Louvell Rogers placed third in Novice Dramatic Interpretation in the 18th annual Christian College Forensics Nationals held in Colorado.

Austin Romine and Evan Balleweg, operations manager of the Center for Liturgical Arts, exhibited a collaborative art show at the Wolfram Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Christine Ruskamp has been accepted into a highly competitive summer internship with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Marcie Sindt received a fully paid graduate assistant position in plant sciences at Kansas State University.

Dane Stahr studied and interned in London, England, during the fall 2014 semester.

Marty Trainor has been accepted at ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law, DePaul University College of Law and Loyola University Chicago School of Law, all in intellectual property and patent law.

Carolina VonKampen, an English major, earned a summer internship at Concordia Publishing House.

Concordia’s forensics team achieved several awards at the 18th annual Christian College Nationals held at Colorado Christian University, including National Champions in Readers Theater and a second place sweepstakes overall for Division III schools.

Mission Minded Students compiled 33 gift boxes for children in Mexico as part of the annual Operation Christmas Child gift packing party.

Twenty-six students traveled to Concordia University, Texas to participate in the annual Beautiful Feet Mission Conference to learn more about mission opportunities. They were led by Julie Johnston Hermann, director of global opportunities, Rev. Dr. John Mehl, director of mission partnerships and church relations, Matt Myers, ESL coordinator, and Alicia Oldre, admissions counselor.

Faculty & Staff Highlights

Dr. Curt Beck, associate professor of business administration, was selected to present “3-2-1 Action: Building a peer-to-peer online learning community by student presenters filming themselves and creating a space for feedback” at the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference at the University of La Verne in California.

Dr. Curt Beck led a group of students to the Phi Beta Lambda annual leadership conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Professor of Music Dr. Jeffrey Blersch performed the hymn festival “Christ, The Song of Love Incarnate” at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians convention in St. Louis, Missouri. He also led a hymn festival “With Saints and Angels Sing Before Thee: a Hymn Festival for the end of the Church Year” at Zion Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Missouri.

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch taught an organ master class at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri, during the convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch wrote two new books published this year with Concordia Publishing House: “Feast After Feast,” volume 2 and “For Manuals Only.”

Dr. Talea Bloch, adjunct music instructor, presented at the Great Plains Regional conference of the College Music Society.

Dr. Talea Bloch was a soprano soloist for Handel’s “Messiah” for the Axtell Oratorio Society and also for Handel’s “Messiah” at Grace University.

Professor of Art James Bockelman was represented in a national juried exhibition at the AXIS Gallery in Sacramento, California, last fall.

James Bockelman will be exhibiting his recent oils on paper and several large graphite drawings at Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha, Nebraska.

James Bockelman will participate in “Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln” held at the Joslyn Museum of Art in Omaha, Nebraska.

James Bockelman was selected to exhibit his canvas artworks by the Memphis Gallery Circuitous Succession in Tennessee this summer.

Seth Boggs, assistant professor of art, is designing the graphic treatment for the 2016 LCMS National Youth Gathering. This is the third National Youth Gathering for which Boggs has been the lead graphic designer.

Dr. Ronald Bork, head of teacher education, served on the Board of Examiners on two National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education teams.

Dr. Ronald Bork served on the Lutheran high school accreditation team for Lincoln Lutheran in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dr. Ronald Bork served as co-chair of the Scholar Awards Committee for the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for the Teacher Education national convention.

Jan Bruick, administrative assistant for the College of Graduate Studies & Adult Education, serves on the Board of Directors for Alaska Mission for Christ, a ministry arm of the LCMS Pacific Northwest District. 

Dr. Vicki Boye, professor of health and human performance, served on the Nebraska Council on Teacher Education Health Services Endorsement Ad Hoc Committee.

Dr. Vicki Boye led students Tanel Baehr, Meredith Hein, Creighton Pearse, Nicole Perry and Mark Wilcox to attend the Nebraska Healthy Youth Conference in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Dr. Bruce Creed, professor of communication, and Professor Lynn Soloway, professor of art, will accompany 22 travelers on the Creed/Soloway European Study Tour May 12-26 to visit cathedrals, museums and other sights in Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Toledo and Figueres, Spain.

Dr. Bruce Creed and Bryan Moore, associate professor of communication and theatre, led a group of six students on a 16-day theater study tour to Chicago, Illinois, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, in May 2014.

Jennifer Freund, adjunct professor of biology, will serve on a mission trip to Alaska with St. John Lutheran Church in the summer of 2014. 

Professor Amanda Geidel, director of special education, presented “Successful Intervention Plans from Start to Finish” at the 2014 Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival.

Amanda Geidel is serving as a university liaison to the LCMS Disability Task Force.

Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo, assistant professor of music, was a guest recitalist at the Lectures in Church Music conference at Concordia University Chicago last fall.

Dr. Gabriel Haley, assistant professor of English, presented his paper “A Story about Song: Narrative Ethics Versus Lyric Isolation in Charles d’Orléans,” at the 32nd Annual Illinois Medieval Association Conference held at St. Louis University in February.

Dr. Gabriel Haley’s article “Charles d’Orléans as Vernacular Theologian,” will be published in an upcoming issue of Cahiers de Recherches Médiévales et Humanistes.

Dr. Gabriel Haley presented his paper “Associating with Solitude: Shirley’s Lydgatean Chaucer,” at the 39th annual meeting of the Mid-America Medieval Association, held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in February.

Dr. Gabriel Haley helped lead Concordia’s chapter of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta to publish the 50th anniversary edition of its creative writing journal, Potpourri, this spring.

Dr. Danielle Hartigan, Master of Public Health adjunct professor, published six scholarly articles in national health journals.

Joel Helmer, professor of geography, took two classes to the Nebraska GIS/LIS Biennial Symposium in La Vista, Nebraska. Each student at the event presented a research poster based on original research.

Philip Hendrickson, director of library services, published “Cardboard Conundrum: Why a Small University Library has Grown a Monthly Board Game Night,” in the Nebraska Libraries Journal.

Professor of Music Dr. Joseph Herl’s hymn tune “Ich liege, Herr, in deiner Hut,” written for Jochen Klepper’s hymn of the same name, will appear in the Finnish hymnal supplement Luterilaisia virsiä, to be published in September 2015.

Julie Johnston Hermann, director of global opportunities, Rev. Dr. John Mehl, director of mission partnerships and church relations, Matt Myers, ESL coordinator, and Alicia Oldre, admissions counselor, led a group of 26 students to Concordia University, Texas to participate in the annual Beautiful Feet Mission Conference to learn more about mission opportunities.

Dr. Carol Hoban, Master of Public Health adjunct professor, published an article called “Vasopressin Regulation of Multisite Phosphorylation of Ut-A1 in the Inner Medullary Collecting Duct” in the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology.

Dr. Timothy Huntington, associate professor of biology and criminal justice, conducted three forensic entomology workshops for nearly 75 regional investigators.

Dr. Timothy Huntington served as a forensic entomology consultant in seven homicide investigation cases from five different states in 2014.

Dr. Timothy Huntington gave an invited presentation at the annual Wyoming Coroner’s Association Meeting and CSI Conference in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek, program director for Master of Public Health, presented “Banish the Belly Bulge” and “Stress Happens” at the LCMS Kansas District Pastor Convention.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek led a team of students to Guatemala March 6-12 on a health education and medical mission trip.

Jessica Kite, adjunct instructor in music, and members of the Concordia Handbell Choir and Handbell Choir II participated in the Nebraska Spring Ring 2015 Workshop in April, where students attended classes led by members of The Agape Ringers, the premier handbell ensemble of Chicago, Illinois, and their conductor David Weck.

Dr. Erica Lamm, assistant professor of communication, co-presented a paper titled “Listening as Civic Engagement” to the International Listening Association’s annual convention in March 2015.

Dr. Mark Meehl, professor of theology, will lead his Holy Land Tour in the summer of 2015. Students participating include Matthew Chapa, Elizabeth King, Spencer Owen, Hannah Rose, Christian Schultz and Christine Young.

Rev. Dr. John Mehl, director of mission partnerships and church relations, presented at The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Rural & Small Town Mission Festival in Concordia, Missouri, in January 2015 and at a Lutheran Laypeople’s League rally in Julesburg, Colorado.

Rev. Dr. John Mehl preached for Concordia Sunday celebrations at LCMS congregations in Nebraska and surrounding states.

Professor of Sociology Dr. Kathy Miller led her social work class of 35 students in completing community service learning projects, including developing an elderly visitation program, helping inmates prepare for job interviews and learn from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, interviewing refugee families about their health care, identifying landlords who will rent to low-income families, sorting clothing for the organization Foster Friends, advertising Food Net distribution needs, helping run the Superhero Race to fundraise for Court Appointed Special Advocates and developing activities for residents at Ridgewood Care Center in Seward, Nebraska.

Dr. Kevin Miller, adjunct education instructor, published two scholarly articles titled “Thinking Anew: Trends in the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing and Their Implications” and “Trends Impacting One Public School Program for Students Who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing.”

Dr. Kevin Miller gave a presentation at the Council for Exceptional Children conference in San Diego, California. Miller also plans to present in Athens, Greece, in July.

Bryan Moore, associate professor of communication and theatre, coordinated and hosted the University Caucus Hot Topics session at the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas conference last June in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bryan Moore served as conference planner of the Dramaturgy Focus Group for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education in Scottsdale, Arizona, last July.

Drew Olson, women’s basketball coach, was recognized as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Region II Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. 

Dr. Jerrald Pfabe, emeritus professor of history and Concordia’s archivist, published his article “The Social Gospel is No Gospel:  The Critique of Theodore Graebner,” in the Journal of the Lutheran Historical Conference, 2012.

Professor of Art Don Robson presented the sectional “The Importance of Diversity in Higher Education,” along with students Ana Cuellar and Ceron Francisco, at The Association of Lutheran College Faculties at Concordia College Alabama.

Don Robson presented the sectional “Sensory Perception” at the Heartland Summit/High School Teachers’ Conference at Concordia University, Nebraska.

Dr. Brent Royuk, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, presented an hour-long science and religion talk to a group of students at Faith Lutheran in Las Vegas, Nevada, and conducted a two-hour faculty in-service session titled “Thinking about Science and Religion: The Christian Landscape.”

Professor of Art Lynn Soloway was selected to participate in the Sheldon Memorial Gallery’s Artisan Showcase in November 2014. During that event in Lincoln, Nebraska, Professor Soloway exhibited 20 selections from her Oberon one-of-a-kind jewelry designs.

Dr. David von Kampen, composition music instructor, co-wrote a musical comedy called “American Smoothie” that was accepted into the 2015 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.

Dr. David von Kampen earned the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award.

Dr. David von Kampen has commissioned works for the Vancouver (British Columbia) Chamber Choir and Nebraska Music Teachers Association and published various choral works through Concordia Publishing House, MusicSpoke and davidvonkampen.com.

Dana Vote, wrestling coach, was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference Wrestling Coach of the Year and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics North Qualifying Group Coach of the Year. 

The Center for Liturgical Art, led by Mark Anschutz, managing artist, and Evan Balleweg, operations manager, continues to produce artwork and promote the use of visual arts in worship. Completed pieces from the previous year include:

  • Three stained glass windows for Lutheran Church of Vestavia Hills, Birmingham, Alabama. 6’ x 2’
  • Hanging sculpture at Corpus Christi Catholic School in Lawrence, Kansas. 25’ x 5’
  • Large mosaic chancel cross for Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minnesota. 8’ x 8’
  • Glass mosaic cross for St. Paul Lutheran Church and School’s new event center in Orange, California. 8’ x 4’
  • Chancel furnishings, at the request of Orphan Grain Train, to assist the congregation in Pilger, Nebraska, whose church was destroyed in 2014 by tornadoes.
  • Three changeable banners for Rock Springs United Congregational Church of Christ, Arlington, Virginia. 8’ x 10’
  • Chancel window for Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Olathe, Kansas. 6’ x 15’
  • Window for the entryway of Faith Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska. 5’ x 4’
  • Communion ware for Emanuel Lutheran Church, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • More than 500 bibelots with local mission teams attended the 2014 Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music in Seward, Nebraska, and hosted a booth and open house.
  • A complete set of furnishings for Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Nebraska.
  • A complete set of furnishings for Resurrection Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.