Highlights Summer 2016

Concordia University, Nebraska was blessed with many successes throughout the 2015-16 academic year. The following list includes some of the many accomplishments achieved by our students, faculty and staff.

Student Highlights

Jonathon Anderson, Peter Deberny, Jonathan Grant, Jacob Henson, Luke Kaldahl, Nehemiah Langness, Caleb Ristvedt, Caleb Pfeil and Cole Wohlgemuth participated in the annual Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) North Central North America Regional Programming Contest on Oct. 31, 2015. These students were split into three groups and competed against universities that extended from Colorado to Wisconsin and from Missouri into Canada. The Concordia team “FFoD,” which included Luke Kaldahl, Nehemiah Langness and Caleb Pfeil, placed in the top 20 percent, achieving a rank of 39 out of 223 teams.

Master of Public Health students Morgan Bennett, Grace Cook, Andrea Eden-Shingleton, Kourtney Griffin, John Harris, Lisa Hokanson, Corrinna Lenort, Laura Mischnick, Tamara Nelson, Katelyn Travis and Nicole Vogel participated in a mission trip to Port Au Prince, Haiti. The team worked in three children’s homes, improving the physical environment and teaching the orphan children about health topics including hygiene, dental care, pregnancy prevention and positive potential.

Anna Beune, Megan Burma, Samantha McConnell, Lisa Pope, Alexa Radic and Clarissa White took a marine biology study tour to Belize this last spring break. While there, they snorkeled the plant’s second largest barrier reef, throughout an atoll, and in mangrove lagoons. They also participated in night snorkeling to view nocturnal organisms.

Megan Burma presented her biology research project, Distribution of Tardigrades in South Dakota, at the 126th annual meeting of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences (NAS) on April 22, 2016. Her research abstract will be published in the meeting proceedings. Sadly, we have not had many students present at the NAS spring meeting over the years and her achievement is worthy of recognition.

Dakota Coon, a student pursuing a major in fitness studies and a coaching minor, accepted an internship in football strength and conditioning at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Art students Elizabeth Davidson, Sarah Johnson, Courtney Kuehn, Allise Loomis, Hope Martin, Emmi Moll, Austin Romine, Hannah Rose, Laura Sattler, Abi Schroeder, Grace Stange, Hannah Willison and Chelsea Wohlgemuth exhibited their work at Saint Paul United Methodist Church during the month of February 2016.

Organ students Laura Hedstrom, Micah Holten, Peter Klinge, Allison Mackie, Karl Rovey, Austin Theriot and Tom Wyatt performed a concert on the “First Friday” concert series at Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln in February 2016.

Laura Hedstrom won third place in the Regional Competition for Young Organists, sponsored by the American Guild of Organists and held in St. Louis, Missouri, in July 2015.

Organ Students Laura Hedstrom, Peter Klinge, Barb Leising and Tom Wyatt participated in a master class with international performing and recording artist Dr. Gail Archer in September 2015.

Emma Heidorn attended the Minnesota Iowa Nebraska Kansas (MINK) Women in Computing (WIC) Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 15–16, 2015.

Tina Kahn, Kathie O’Dell and Jennifer Schiermeyer traveled to Belize Oct. 10–17, 2015, for a health education and medical mission trip.

Jacob Kettner, an exercise science major, Adam Meirose, an exercise science major, and Creighton Pearse, a health and physical education major, received College Student of the Year awards at the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE Nebraska) awards luncheon in Kearney, Nebraska, on Nov. 3, 2015. Meirose and Pearse were also recognized as overall Students of the Year for Nebraska in exercise science and health education, respectively.

Jacob Kettner was accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.

Meredith Locke was awarded first place in both the Sophomore Women and Lower College Women Musical Theatre categories during the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) music competition in October 2015.

Adam Meirose was accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Kelli Niemeier was chosen to participate in UNMC’s Weeklong Undergraduate Public Health Workshop this summer. This workshop is limited in enrollment as it is free to all participants.  Kelli was competing with University of Nebraska and Nebraska state college students, as well as students from other private institutions for a spot.  Criteria for acceptance included GPA, pursuing a health profession career path, advisor recommendation, and completion of an essay. 

Spencer Owen and Malinda Standerfer co-chaired the inter-Concordia University Beautiful Feet Conference in November 2015.

Jaap van Gaalen was accepted into the Master of Science in Athletic Training program at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Stephanie Shearer was selected as the 2016 Nebraska English/ Language Arts Student Teacher of the Year/ Nebraska Future Teacher Award. The award is sponsored by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council (NELAC), which is the state affiliate for the National Council Teachers of English (NCTE).

Lauren Staehr was awarded first place in the Senior Women Classical category during the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) music competition in October 2015.

Claire White was awarded the 2015-16 Raymond A. Burke Scholarship from the Upper Big Blue NRD Board of Directors. The Burke Scholarship is awarded to students embarking on a career in natural resources and who are well-rounded in relation to school, volunteerism and extra-curricular activities.

Hannah Willison worked with St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska, to create charcoal drawings of humans each week during Lent to accompany the watchword chosen for the Wednesday of worship.  

Faculty & Staff Highlights

Dr. Vicki Anderson, associate professor of education, and Dr. Erica Lamm, assistant professor of communication, led 14 undergraduate students to Shenzhen, China, during summer 2015. The students taught English to K-8 grade Chinese students at the Buena Vista Concordia International School. Dr. Vicki Anderson will lead undergraduate students to BCIS again during summer 2016.    

Dr. Lisa Ashby, professor of English, presented a session entitled “Leading Up” at the Women in Higher Education Leadership Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Sept. 15, 2015.

Dr. Lisa Ashby earned a certification in ”Designing Digital Media for Teaching and Learning” from the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and the International Society for Technology in Education.  The certification was awarded in December 2015.

Dr. Lisa Ashby and Bryan Moore, associate professor of communication and theatre, led a group of undergraduates on a May-term study tour to New England in 2015. They visited significant literary sites, authors’ homes, historical locations and theatre productions. 

Dr. Curt Beck, Associate Professor of Business Administration led a group of seven students to the Phi Beta Lambda annual leadership conference in Omaha, Nebraska on November 6-7, 2015. Phi Beta Lambda is Concordia’s business club for students.

The following pieces were recently published by Professor of Music and University Organist Dr. Jeffrey Blersch: “Feast After Feast: Easy Preludes on Communion Hymns, Set 2” (with Concordia Publishing House); “For Manuals Only, Set 3,” part of a series of hymn preludes for organ (with Concordia Publishing House); “O Sing to the Lord,” an SATB choral anthem (with Concordia Publishing House); and “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star,” a hymn concertato (with Northwestern Publishing).

Two musical arrangements written and recorded by Concordia University, Nebraska’s Professor of Music and University Organist Dr. Jeffrey Blersch were featured during the second hour of American Public Media’s weekly production “Pipedreams” on May 30, 2016. Blersch recorded the two featured arrangements, “Still, Still, Still” and “While by Our Sheep,” on the 2008 Casavant Frères organ, Opus 3868, in the Recital Hall of the Music Center on campus.

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch was a featured organist on American Public Media’s production of Pipedreams the week of May 30, 2016. The organization played two of Blersch’s arrangements that were recorded in the Recital Hall on campus. Featured songs included: 2 Carol Settings: Still, still, still; while by our sheep

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch contributed a chapter entitled “Lead Me In Your Truth and Teach Me: The Church Musician as Teacher” to the “Festschrift,” a book honoring CUNE Professor Emeritus Charles Ore, published by the Institute for Church Music housed at Concordia University Chicago.

Dr. Jeffrey Blersch was commissioned by Concordia Publishing House to compose a new concertato setting on “A Mighty Fortress” in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

Dr. Ronald Bork, associate dean and head of teacher education, Beth Pester, assistant professor of education, and Dr. Bernie Tonjes, associate professor of education, were keynote speakers at the South Dakota District Lutheran Teacher’s Conference, presenting to teachers and administrators on integration of the Christian faith in classrooms and schools.

Dr. Ronald Bork served on three National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation teams during the 2015-16 academic year: Bethel University (Tennessee), University of Nebraska-Omaha and University of Central Missouri.

Professor of Health and Human Performance Dr. Vicki Boye, Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance Dr. Jennifer Janousek and Adjunct Professor Dr. Lea Pounds presented a breakout session entitled “Health & Religion: A Determining Factor” at the Public Health Association of Nebraska (PHAN) conference on Sept. 23, 2015.

Jan Bruick, administrative assistant, Jennifer Fruend, assistant professor of biology, Dr. Kathy Miller, professor of sociology, Dr. Kathleen Wheeler, director of the Master of Education in literacy program, and four Concordia undergraduate students will be leading Bible and basketball camps in Akiachak, a Yupik village in southwest Alaska. They will be in the village from June 17–27, 2016.

Jan Bruick now serves as the board chairman for the Alaska Mission for Christ (alaskamissionforchrist.org).

Concordia welcomed Ryan Burger and Krista Barnhouse as new members of the Board of Regents and began new terms for two existing members of the Board as of Sept. 1, 2015. Rev. Richard Snow also began a three-year term on Concordia’s Board of Regents by virtue of his election to the office of president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s LCMS Nebraska District.

Kregg Einspahr, head track and field and cross country coach, earned 2016 National Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year honors from both the NAIA and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The USTFCCCA also named Einspahr the 2016 NAIA Men’s Outdoor Midwest Region Coach of the Year, and he raked in Nebraska small college coach of the year honors from both the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald. Einspahr won his second national championship as head coach in 2016.

Jennifer Fruend, assistant professor of biology, and Joe Gubanyi, professor of biology, led a marine biology study tour in Belize this last spring break. While there, they stayed at Tobacco Caye and snorkeled patch reefs, barrier reef, and atolls. They also visited the mainland to learn about the historical Mayan culture, rain forests, and modern Belizean culture.

Dr. Amanda Geidel, assistant professor of education, successfully defended her dissertation from Northcentral University in Arizona in the area of exceptional learners.

DrAmanda Geidel presented “Successful Intervention Plans from Start to Finish” at the LCMS Nebraska District Educators’ Conference on Oct. 22, 2015.

Jeremy Geidel, director of enrollment management initiatives, Beth Pester and Dr. Bernie Tonjes presented at the Northern Illinois - Southern Wisconsin District Teacher Workshop. Geidel presented on admission and recruitment essentials for Lutheran schools, Pester presented a crash course on young adolescent development and Tonjes presented on brain development and teaching with the brain “in mind.”

Jeremy Geidel presented “Admission and Recruitment Essentials for ALL Lutheran Schools” at a teachers’ conference in August 2015 at Rockford Lutheran High School in Rockford, Illinois.

Heidi Gubanyi, assistant professor of nursing and director of the RN to BSN program, and Dr. Joseph Gubanyi, emeritus professor of biology, led a team of students to Belize Oct. 10–17, 2015, on a health education and medical mission trip.

Dr. Gabriel Haley, assistant professor of English, completed a chapter, “Countercultural Beatrices?: Don Meets Dante,” which will be published in the book “The Universe is Indifferent: Theology, Philosophy, Mad Men,” edited by Ann W. Duncan and Jacob L. Goodson.

Dr. Gabriel Haley completed an article, “A Story about Song: Narrative Ethics Versus Lyric Isolation in Charles d’Orléans’s English Lyrics,” which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Essays in Medieval Studies.

Dr. Gabriel Haley published an article, “9.5 Theses,” on the topic of Imago Dei, a theological term applied uniquely to humans and that denotes the symbolical relation between God and humanity, in Issues in Christian Education in the fall of 2015.

Dr. Gabriel Haley published an article, “The Reading Cure,” in The Cresset in 2015.

Dr. Gabriel Haley presented on “C.S. Lewis, the Moral Imagination, and Two-Kingdoms Thinking,” at the Higher Things Conference Te Deum 2015, held at Concordia University, Nebraska.

Dr. Carol Hoban, adjunct professor of the Master of Public Health program, published two articles: “Activation of Protein Kinase Cα Increases Phosphorylation of the UT-A1 Urea Transporter at Serine 494 in the Inner Medullary Collecting Duct” in American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology, published in September 2015, and “Vasopressin Regulation of Multisite Phosphorylation of UT-A1 in the Inner Medullary Collecting Duct” in American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology, published November 2014.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek, director of the Master of Public Health program, and Dr. Kelly Wheeler, adjunct professor, led a group of 11 students on a mission trip to Port Au Prince, Haiti. The team worked in three children’s homes, improving the physical environment and teaching the orphan children about health topics including hygiene, dental care, pregnancy prevention and positive potential.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek presented “Think Tank: Global Health, Sustainable Health Goals & Ethics” at the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE) annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in April 2016.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek presented “Prayerful Intentions” at the Beautiful Feet Conference in Seward, Nebraska, in November 2015.

Dr. Jennifer Janousek received her Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification in April 2015.

Jake Knabel, director of athletic communications, garnered the College Sports Information Directors of America Fred Stabley District 7 writing award under the category of “season preview/recap” for his piece titled, “Recounting a run for the history books.” Additionally, Knabel placed six entries among the top 10 in NAIA publications and media contests.

Dr. Sharon Link, adjunct professor in the Master of Business Administration program, and her 20-year-old autistic son were invited to be keynote speakers and present six workshops at the Idaho Council for Exceptional Children’s Conference Oct. 3 and 4, 2015.

Scott Mattera, head volleyball coach, led the volleyball program to its first-ever national tournament appearance and was recognized as the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tri-Coach of the Year.

Ed McLaughlin, assistant track and field coach, tutored the top-ranked group of throwers among all NAIA track and field programs and collected the three different NAIA national Assistant Coach of the Year awards in 2016 from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. This past outdoor season he was named the NAIA National Assistant Coach of the Year for both men and women. McLaughlin also swept all four Midwest region Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2016.

Director of Church Relations and Mission Partnerships Rev. John Mehl now serves on the board of Lutheran Bible Translators (us.lbt.org). 

Dr. Kathy Miller will lead a trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from May 28 to June 4 with three other leaders and 16 high school and college students from the Seward, Nebraska, area. They will help families on the reservation with various projects.

Dr. Kevin Miller, adjunct professor of education, published “A whole new world: Technology and its impact on students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing” in Themes in Science and Technology Education in 2015. He also published “Don’t know much about hearing loss: Supervising teachers of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing” in the Journal of Special Education Leadership in 2015.

Dr. Kevin Miller is the co-author of the chapter “High standard competencies for teachers of the deaf and other qualified professionals: Always necessary, not always guaranteed” in Diversity in Education, to be published in 2016 by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Kevin Miller presented “Who is supervising teachers of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the State of Pennsylvania?” at the 22nd International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Athens, Greece, in July 2015. He also co-presented “Deaf Education: Where are we and where do we need to be?” at The Council for Exceptional Children Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, in April 2016.

Dr. Russell Mosemann, professor of computing sciences, successfully completed the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) Reverse Engineering Malware (GREM) exam. Mosemann was also invited to become a member of the SAN/GIAC Advisory Board based on his outstanding performance/grade on the certification exam.

Angela Muller, Associate Director of Athletics, earned the Above and Beyond award for her service to many departments on campus.

Dr. Kristen Nugent recently took her doctorate upon successfully defending her dissertation.

Annette Oliver, assistant professor of education, and Beth Pester traveled to Belize City, Belize, in July 2015. While there, they presented workshops for Belizean educators in cooperation with the Central American Lutheran Mission Society and the Ministry of Education of Belize to assist them with their efforts to improve the education system in Belize.

Annette Oliver presented “Play: Its Place in K-2nd Grade Best Practices” to early childhood public school educators in Shickley, Nebraska, for their Winter Professional Development Day.

Assistant Professor of Education Shanna Opfer made two presentations at the Inaugural Hong Kong Synod Teacher’s Conference in Shenzhen, China. The presentations were entitled “The Truth about the Common Core State Standards” and “Every Student Responds Assessment Strategies.” The conference was hosted by Buena Vista Concordia International School.

Devin Smith, Director of Athletics, received induction into the inaugural Hall of Fame class at his alma mater, Anselmo-Merna High School. In 2015-16 Concordia athletics finished as the runner up in the GPAC All-Sports Trophy standings.

Assistant Professor of Theology Rev. Russ Sommerfeld now serves on the board of the Transforming Churches Network (transformingchurchesnetwork.org).

Dana Vote, head wrestling coach, collected Great Plains Athletic Conference Coach of the Year accolades for the second-straight season while leading the wrestling program to back-to-back conference and regional postseason championships. The Bulldog grapplers own an active GPAC dual win streak of 14 matches and finished eighth at the 2016 NAIA Wrestling National Championships.