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CSC student accomplishments top the news in 2016

December 28, 2016

CHADRON – Student accomplishments on the state, regional and national levels were among the top Chadron State College highlights in 2016.

Two students earned national scholarships, Missy Jech from the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Megan McLean from the Army ROTC program.

Laramie Schlichtemeier distinguished herself as Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2017 and five Phi Beta Lambda members earned top 10 national awards from competitions during their organization’s leadership conference in Atlanta.

CSC students continued to serve the community and region in numerous ways this past year.

Students and faculty involved in The Big Event, an annual day of service to local residents, organizations and businesses where students volunteer alongside CSC staff members, presented at a national conference in Texas. Other service projects featured Family and Consumer Science students who constructed quilts for veterans. Eleven theatre majors designed and performed a program of Shakespeare’s histories, tragedies, comedies and sonnets for children at five Panhandle schools in April. The same month, hundreds of students donated clothing at the annual Nearly Naked Mile.

In rodeo, Shelby Winchell became the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s goat tying champion and the team was recognized for their service supporting the Black Hills Stock Show. The cowboys won the regional team championship, led by Clayton Van Aken.

In athletics, the women’s track and field team was the 2016 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Outdoor Track and Field Champion, bringing the program its first title in history. Head coach Brad Gamble earned Coach of the Year honors from the RMAC and the South Central Region.

In March, long jumper Stachia Reuwsaat became the first CSC female student-athlete to earn an individual NCAA Championship in any sport. Damarcus Simpson placed second at nationals in the long jump and Shelby Bozner earned a gold in the women’s heptathlon.

Reuwsaat and Simpson went on to compete in the Olympic Trials in July. Meanwhile, Alejandro Garcia earned the RMAC’s Summit for having the highest GPA among all participants at the RMAC  Cross Country Championships. He also earned the NCAA equivalent, the Elite 90 award, when he competed at the national championship meet.

In the spring of 2016, the softball team concluded a successful season finishing with the program’s best-ever win total, best winning percentage, and qualified for the conference playoffs.

Science majors studied the Zika virus and assisted professor and entomologist Dr. Mathew Brust in beetle research. Three biology students were accepted into veterinarian schools in Washington and Illinois.

International students expressed their fondness for the institution by designing and helping to produce a promotional video. Other publicity came in the form of a coffee table book about the Great Plains published by Jaycie Cheatham and Mackenzie Swanson based on their research project in a capstone course.

Annual festivities included Ivy Day. Joslynn VanDerslice of Columbus, Nebraska, was crowned queen and Kale Lytle of Wall, S.D., was crowned king. Homecoming royalty included king Taylor Osmotherly of Crawford, Nebraska, and queen Kayla Morgan of Alliance, Nebraska.

During May commencement, 235 undergraduates earned their degrees and 144 in December. Ninety graduate students earned their degrees in May and an additional 90 earned master’s degrees in December.

In addition to student accomplishments, faculty members represented CSC across the country and internationally in 2016.

Bruce Hoem was honored with the CSC Teaching Excellence award and went on to be named the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence award recipient.

Dr. Brad Wilburn, English and Humanities professor, delivered two lectures at the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy in Hong Kong during a sabbatical year. Also speaking in Asia, Dr. Laura Gaudet, addressed colleagues at the Neurotalk-2016 conference about her area of expertise, traumatic brain injury.

An article published in “The Coleopterists Bulletin” and on the BioOne website by Brust and W. Wyatt Hoback shared their findings from examination of specimens in the CSC collection and Brust’s personal collection.

Other science professors, Dr. Joyce Hardy, Dr. Ann Buchmann and Dr. Wendy Jamison, presented at the annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching and Learning in Newport Beach, California, in February.

A silkscreen print, “Bingo,” by art professor and department chair Laura Bentz was included in a portfolio purchased by the Library of Congress for its prints and photographs department in July.

In June, music department members Bobby Pace, Brooks Hafey, McKay Tebbs appeared on a live taping of “Friday LIVE,” a weekly arts and culture program on NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations. Sarah Polak, director of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, was also interviewed by host Genevieve Randall.

CSC staff members also received accolades in their fields.

In March, Lucinda Mays, campus horticulturist, received the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s (NSA) Jim Kluck Honor Award recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to the NSA or its affiliates.

Polak was interviewed in June by Jon Vanderford with KOLN/KGIN TV for several segments on “Pure Nebraska.”

Four retirees – Bonnie Eleson, Frances Gonzalez, Kathy Mason and Jim Moore – were recognized at the annual Faculty and Staff Recognition Luncheon. Employees were also honored for their years of service.

Visiting experts to CSC this year featured Kent Meyers and Karen Gettert Shoemaker as part of the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the English and Humanities department in collaboration with the CSC creative writing program.

Leading prairie restoration expert Bill Whitney of Aurora, Nebraska, was hosted by the Rangeland faculty during the fall when he taught an eight-week evening course in the recently open Rangeland Lab about holistic range management practices made possible by a Practitioner-in-Residence grant from the Bill and Virginia Coffee Family Foundation.

Jeff Kurrus, author of a children’s book about a swift fox, spoke on campus in April. Dr. Teresa Frink, chair of the applied science department wrote the forward of the book and reviewed its scientific facts for accuracy.

Other luminaries on campus included Quinton Aaron, film star of “The Blind Side,” and autism authority and livestock handling expert Temple Grandin.

CSC alumni were recognized for noteworthy and varied attainments.

Chris Carlisle and Keanna Leonard received the institution’s Distinguished Alumni Award and Travis O’Gorman, Trevor Schmidt and Corey Staab were honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Members of the Joe and Larry Lytle were honored with the Family Tree Award during Homecoming.

Kelsey Hinesley, a graduate student at Arizona State University-Tempe, earned international design honors and Amy (Peterson) Campion returned as a guest scenic designer for Peter and the Starcatcher.

—CSC College Relations

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