Achievements | i2Choir receives grant from Cooper Foundation

· 7 min read

Achievements | i2Choir receives grant from Cooper Foundation

Kraft earns national award; 12 students collect Gilman scholarships
Rhonda Fuelberth, associate professor, directs the i2Choir in a performance at Sheldon Museum of Art.
Courtesy photo
Rhonda Fuelberth, associate professor, directs the i2Choir in a performance at Sheldon Museum of Art.

The Glenn Korff School of Music’s i2Choir, under the direction Rhonda Fuelberth, has received a $5,000 grant from the Cooper Foundation.

“I was very excited to hear about the grant,” said Fuelberth, an associate professor of music education. “We have been operating this year on an initial ‘Let’s try this out’ basis with a lot of internal support from the Glenn Korff School of Music, so we’re very pleased to move forward with the kind of support we need to really do the best work for our singers and for the community.”

The i2Choir is an inclusive and intergenerational choral ensemble that has partnered with the Glenn Korff School of Music and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum to provide music-making opportunities for individuals of all abilities.

The grant will support a pianist, a videographer to document the year, the purchase of music and stipends for undergraduate students in the Glenn Korff School of Music who will become partners in the ensemble, providing support for ensemble members and also receiving valuable training in the process.

Using the principles of Universal Design for Learning, i2Choir singing activities are designed to maximize the learning potential for everyone who participates. Participants this year ranged in age from fifth grade to adults.

“The concept of Universal Design for Learning actually stemmed from universal design in architecture,” Fuelberth said. “So the educational community has learned from this idea of making physical spaces accessible from the start.”

The IQSCM, which was designed with that architectural concept, provides staff support and physical spaces for rehearsals and performances.

“Historically, quilt making was an important form of expression and communication for a population whose voices and words were, at one time, diminished by oppression,” Fuelberth said. “Through their artistry, quilt makers were able to not only communicate, but also express themselves through this medium. It is also the intent of the i2Choir to provide a vehicle for communication and expression for underrepresented voices. We are inspired by the beautiful art all around us in the IQSCM.”

The community choir is open to all participants who can sing, as well as those who want to learn to sing. Participants are encouraged to join in cross-age, cross-ability groups or “singing teams” of two to four who want to participate in the ensemble together.

The choir grew from 28 participating in the fall semester to 40 participating last spring.

“My hope is that it continues to expand as a program and becomes a place where we study the use of this Universal Design for Learning framework for music education,” Fuelberth said. “The i2Choir provides a model for that approach, and we will continue to share this work at national and international conferences.”

The i2Choir model will be presented at International Society for Music Education Conferences this summer, as well as at the 2014 Examining the Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Conference, sponsored by the Kennedy Center’s VSA, the international organization on arts and disability.

Fuelberth has worked with Lynda Laird, a doctoral student in music education and Hixson-Lied Fellow in the Glenn Korff School of Music, on the i2Choir project. Area teachers participating include Jessica Happold, David Woods and Jessica Rajewich.


• Gary Kraft, director of UNL Procurement Services, received the Bob Ashby Mentor of the Year award at the annual meeting of the National Association of Educational Procurement in Louisville, Ky.

The award recognizes an individual who has been a mentor to a member, is active in NAEP, and cares about the success of their co-workers, their organization and ultimately the profession.

Kraft has served in higher education procurement for 28 years at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the Community College of Baltimore County, Oklahoma State University and UNL. He also worked as a special projects coordinator in Thailand for two years and is a certified purchasing manager.

Kraft started at UNL in 2006 and has transformed Procurement Services into a collaborative, diversified, forward-thinking work environment. Recently, the department has implemented the university-wide electronic-procurement system, created an IT procurement team, dedicated a sourcing manager for facility projects, and implemented a campus-wide contract management system. The department also supports educational efforts of students through a student-worker program and collaboration with the supply chain management program at the College of Business Administration.


• Twelve UNL students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awards to study abroad this summer. The nationally competitive scholarship is awarded three times a year to undergraduate students seeking to study or intern abroad. The awards are for up to $5,000. Students studying a critical need language may be awarded additional funding.

UNL students receiving the award and their study abroad opportunities are listed below.

Mirvat Al-Hajj will be participating in two UNL faculty-led programs to South Africa and Ethiopia. In South Africa, Mirvat will be learning about the history and culture of the country and in Ethiopia Mirvat will be studying food security, nutrition, and health.

Jazmin Castillo will be participating in a UNL faculty-led program to Botswana. While in Botswana, Jazmin will be learning about conservation in Southern Africa.

Selwan Fadhil will be studying in the United Arab Emirates, taking classes at the American University of Sharjah.

Katie Farris will also be studying in Botswana and participating in the UNL faculty-led program led by Dr. John Carroll, learning about conservation in Southern Africa.

Jessica Hughes will be studying in Costa Rica, taking Spanish language and Latin American culture classes at Veritas University.

Shane Kleier will be participating in the UNL Nebraska at Oxford program, administered through the College of Business. While at Oxford, Shane will take Economics and Theatre courses.

Jacob Manyang will be participating in a UNL faculty-led program to Ethiopia. While in Ethiopia, Jacob will study food security, nutrition, and health under Dr. Shimelis Beyene and Dr. Shimelis Beyene.

Emanuel Maldonado will be studying in Spain at the University of Deusto through a program sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages.

Hope Npimnee will be participating in an internship program in Brazil, focusing on minority health disparities.

Anastasia Sanderson will be participating in an internship in Australia. Anastasia will be earning credit towards a degree in Biological Systems Engineering.

Flor Villanueva will be studying in Morocco through a program co-sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Minnesota. Flor will be studying Arabic language and culture.

Marna Wiu will be studying in Madagascar, focusing on traditional medicine and health care systems.

The Gilman International Scholarship is congressionally funded and sponsored through the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

A UNL team of journalism students finished in the top eight in the 2014 National Student Advertising Competition in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 29. Hosted at the American Advertising Federation, the NSAC taps into the mindset of millennials by challenging undergraduate advertising students across the United States to think creatively and strategically on behalf of the country’s most recognizable brands each year.

Mary Kay Inc., the 2014 NSAC sponsor, engaged more than 140 AAF College Chapters to develop a $10 million proposal for a national, fully-integrated marketing campaign targeting women 18-25 years old and potential Gen Y Independent Beauty Consultants.

UNL won its district competition to advance to the semifinal round. UNL, which won the national championship in 2012, has won its regional competition six years in a row.

Purdue University-Calumet was selected as the national champion with its “Beauty Goes Soul Deep” campaign. The University of Miami and Texas Tech University finished second and third in the competition. Additional teams that competed in the finals included Johnson and Wales University-Providence, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley.


• The College of Engineering has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Technical University of Clausthal in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany. The partnership between the two universities will enable students to study abroad, as well as provide teaching and research collaborations among faculty.

As part of the agreement, Dietmar Möller, a Technical University professor who teaches stochastic models, has been appointed an adjunct professor in the UNL’s electrical engineering department.

Faculty representing UNL at the signing of the agreement in Germany were Jerry Hudgins, chair of electrical engineering; and Hamid Vakilzadian, professor of electrical engineering.

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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