Nebraska Alumni Association awards are May 3

· 5 min read

Nebraska Alumni Association awards are May 3

Herbie Husker crowd surfs with some help from the Cornhusker Marching Band, cheerleaders and Nebraska alumni outside the Wick Alumni Center.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
The Nebraska Alumni Association will host Alumni Honors Night, an all-university celebration on May 3, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center.

The Nebraska Alumni Association will recognize 17 accomplished University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumni, six promising students, a leading professor and an outstanding family at the annual Alumni Honors Night, an all-university celebration on May 3, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center.

The 2018 award winners have achieved successes in their careers and communities.

The winners were chosen by a selection committee comprising UNL alumni from across the country. A comprehensive list of the 2018 award winners and complete biographies can be found on the NAA website. at

2018 Alumni Award Recipients (includes graduation year)

Early Achiever Awards

Julie Abendroth, 2001, 2004, is a two-time graduate and the global lead for integrated seed product strategy for the agriculture division of DowDuPont.

Jeanette Samuels, 2010, graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science and then earned her juris doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2013. She is principal at Samuels & Associates. Notable cases include Campbell v. City of Chicago, a class action seeking a consent decree to oversee the Chicago Police Department; and People v. Jason VanDyke wherein she disqualified the Cook County State’s Attorney and had a special prosecutor appointed for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

Emily Schlichting, 2012, is a candidate for a joint master’s in public policy at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and in business administration at Harvard Business School. She spent the previous five years working in the U.S. Senate and Department of Health and Human Services on issues ranging from the Affordable Care Act to Ebola, Zika and nutrition and drug policies.

David Lockwood, 2002, is a chartered financial analyst and VP, chief investment officer of Assurity Life Insurance in Lincoln. In that role he is responsible for leading the investment team responsible for managing more than $2.7 billion in assets largely comprised of public and private corporate bonds, commercial mortgage loans, equities and direct investments in real estate.

Korey Van Wyk, 2012, earned a degree in nutrition and health science with an emphasis in exercise. Currently, Van Wyk is in his fourth year as a kinesiology instructor and strength and conditioning coach at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

Lee Redden, 2009, has experience at the leading edge of robotics, computer vision and machine learning. He has performed research at robotics labs at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, NASA Johnson Space Center and Stanford University. Redden is an National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and NASA Space Grant Scholarship recipient.

Alexander Jeffery, 2011, is an independent filmmaker who graduated from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film with degrees in both theater performance, film production and new media. In 2015, he received the prestigious Louisiana Film Prize for his touching film “The Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy.”

Marcus Powers, 2005, 2008, is the co-founder and chief of operations at Zipline Brewing Co. He graduated from the College of Law in 2008 with distinction and an emphasis in water and natural resources. Powers started his career as an assistant attorney general in the Nebraska Department of Justice, focusing primarily on disputes over the hydrology of interstate river systems. His passion for science ultimately led him away from a legal career and, in 2012, he co-founded Zipline Brewing Co.

Alumni Achievement Awards

Diana Carlin, 1985, is professor emerita of communication and former associate provost at Saint Louis University.

John Evans, 1983, is a program executive at NASA headquarters in the office of Safety and Mission Assurance in Washington, D.C. During his career, Evans has worked on the development of numerous complex space missions from the Cosmic Background Explorer to the James Webb Space Telescope.

Nancy Melby, 2004, 2005, serves as director of operations for the Omaha office of Leo A Daly. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in architectural engineering and is licensed as both a professional civil and structural engineer.

Jon Pedersen, 1982, 1988, 1990, is the dean of the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. The three-time UNL graduate earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction-science education; his masters in curriculum and instruction; and his bachelor of science degree in agriculture-biochemistry and nutrition. Today, he provides leadership and sustained growth in scholarship, teaching, outreach and the development of innovative programs to support faculty, staff and students in the college.

Janna Ronert, 1987, is the CEO and founder of Image Skincare, a professional skin care company she created 15 years ago. She received her bachelor of arts degree in 1987. Ronert is a licensed esthetician with vast clinical expertise, formulating innovative and advanced products at Image Skincare, available in 60 countries. Ernst & Young named her Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 and in 2016 the Florida Business Journal tapped her as CEO of the year.

Lynn Roper, 1970, is a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch. She joined the Lincoln office 40 years ago and served as resident manager for 26 years. A lifelong advocate for women, Roper has dedicated time and energy to empowering women through many organizations. A leader by nature, Roper has served many non-profits locally and statewide.

Jeffrey Stout, 1992, 1995, is a professor and department chair for educational and human sciences at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Stout earned his master of physical education and Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Nebraska. During his career, Stout has co-authored more than 270 peer reviewed publications, 300 national and international presentations and eight books that have focused on nutrition, exercise performance and body composition in young and older athletes.

Additional alumni award winners
  • Family Tree Award: Ostdiek Family

  • Doc Elliott Award: Ron Case

  • Distinguished Service Award: Duane Eversoll

  • Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network Alumna of the Year: Jane Hirt

Student award winners (includes hometown)
  • Charlotte Kramer Foreign Study Scholarship: Brooke Lampe, Lincoln

  • Jack and Sharon Miller Scholarship: Claire Berman, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Roy and Catherine Yaley Student Leadership Award: Rachel Kleist, Prior Lake, Minnesota

  • Howard and Judy Vann Student Leadership Award: Grace Mosier, Pensacola, Florida

  • Shane Osborn Student Leadership Award: Caleb Lindhorst, Lindsay

  • Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network Collegian of the Year: Brianna Ridenour, Alliance

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