Achievements: Four honored at NATS national conference

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Achievements: Four honored at NATS national conference

Music students (from left) Nathaniel Sullivan, Angela Gilbert, Kayla Wilkens and Jeremy Brown at the NATS National Conference.
Courtesy photo
Music students (from left) Nathaniel Sullivan, Angela Gilbert, Kayla Wilkens and Jeremy Brown at the NATS National Conference.

Four students from the Glenn Korff School of Music received recognition at the National Association of Teachers of Singing National Conference July 4 and 5 in Boston.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan, of Bettendorf, Iowa, who received his Bachelor of Music degree in May, won the collegiate musical theatre men’s division.

  • Angela Gilbert, of Ralston, a senior music major, won the collegiate musical theatre women’s division.

  • Jeremy Brown, of Elwood, Neb., a junior music education major, was awarded second place in the men’s musical theatre division.

  • Kayla Wilkens, of Salem, Ore., who received her Master of Music in May, received the Dorothy Kirsten-James Browning Award for Most Promising Singer and was awarded second place in the NATS Artist Awards Competition. She received a $3,000 cash prize, a $2,500 scholarship to attend AIMS in Graz, Austria, and a $500 gift certificate from Hal Leonard Corporation for the second place finish. She also received $1,500 for the Most Promising Singer Award.

The undergraduate winners received $1,500 each and second place winners received $750.

“Winning the Most Promising Singer Award was a wonderful surprise, and it was especially notable because most of my competitors were at least four to five years older than I am and currently singing professionally,” Wilkens said. “The award was a special recognition of my talent and potential, and I’m very thankful to have been recognized among peers and colleagues.”

More than 700 regional winners from across the nation were eligible to begin the national portion of the competition. Winning required success in four rounds of independent judging, with each narrowing the pool of contestants.

In addition to the students listed above, the following UNL students were awarded semi-finalists in other divisions: Kamerin Churchman, a senior music and music education major from Ankeny, Iowa; Kate Johnson, a sophomore music major from Omaha; Robert Klein, a sophomore music major from Aberdeen, S.D.; David Ricart, a junior music major from Omaha; and Sebastian Sorensen, a sophomore music education major from Fremont.

Semi-finalists were selected from more than 400 students as one of the top 14 students in a division. There are six collegiate divisions in this national competition.

The professional competition requires each competitor to prepare a 14-song recital that fulfills a number of repertoire requirements.

Wilkens will be returning to Portland, Ore., in August to sing with the Northwest Young Voices concert at the Portland Summerfest, in addition to appearing in the “Broadway Tonight!” benefit cabaret at the Lincoln Community Playhouse on Aug. 21. In September, she will sing in Menotti’s “The Telephone” at Lincoln Public Schools through an educational outreach opportunity through Friends of Opera.


• Margaret Jacobs, Chancellor’s Professor of History, is the author of “A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World,” a new book to be published by the University of Nebraska Press in September.

In “A Generation Removed,” Jacobs examines how government authorities in the post–World War II era removed thousands of American Indian children from their families and placed them in non-Indian foster or adoptive families. By the late 1960s an estimated 25 to 35 percent of Indian children had been separated from their families.

“Using compelling stories and weighty evidence, Jacobs has uncovered a modern and ongoing story of child-stealing in the United States,” said Anne F. Hyde, Bancroft Prize–winning author.” “She lays out the shocking history of Native American adoption and the good liberal logic that enabled it in a page-turner of a book.”

Jacobs is also author of “White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880–1940” (University of Nebraska Press, 2009). The book won the Bancroft Prize in 2010.

Departments/Campus Units

A UNL Extension publication has won the 2014 Educational Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

The publication, “Stormwater Sleuth and Running Rain: Keeping It Clean! Slowing It Down!,” uses the title characters to teach educators and students about effective stormwater management practices.

Authors recognized by the award include Erin Bauer, associate Extension educator; Kelly Feehan, Extension educator; Katie Pekarek, assistant Extension educator; and David Shelton, professor of biological systems engineering and Extension agricultural engineer. Ami Sheffield, who illustrated the publication, was also recognized.

The award was presented at the ASABE/CSBE Annual International Meeting on July 14 in Montreal.

“Stormwater Sleuth” is available online at To learn more about stormwater management, visit

This column is a regular feature of UNL Today. Faculty, staff and students can submit their achievements to be considered for this column via email to For more information, call 402-472-8515.

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