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Wayne State to Hold Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on May 7

Published: 4-22-2011 2:45 pm

Wayne State College will hold commencement for graduate students at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium and undergraduates at 2 p.m. May 7 in the Willow Bowl. A total of 582 degrees -- 209 graduate degrees and 373 undergraduate degrees -- will be conferred at the ceremonies by Wayne State President Curt Frye. Nebraska state senator Greg Adams will deliver the commencement address at the baccalaureate ceremony.

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Graduate Invocation Speaker
Amanda Sindelar, daughter of Jim and Linda Sindelar of Howells, will deliver the graduate ceremony invocation. She holds a bachelor's degree from Wayne State in exercise science and speech communications with an emphasis in organizational leadership and public relations. During her time as an undergraduate at Wayne State, Sindelar was named to the Dean's List many times and was a member of Lambda Pi Eta Communications honor society, SHAPE club, American College of Sports Medicine and was involved in many service-learning activities.

Sindelar is receiving her master's degree in organizational management with an emphasis in sport and recreation management. She has served as a graduate assistant in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Sport for the past two years, during which time she has taught classes, served as the Wellness Coordinator for the past year, and on the Graduate Council for one year. Sindelar has worked at NorthStar services for the past four years supporting people with developmental disabilities to become actively participating citizens.  Her career plans include pursuing a management career in the health and wellness field.

Graduate Commencement Speaker
Angela Ossian, who will receive her master's in administrative education, will deliver the graduate ceremony commencement address. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and a teaching endorsement in elementary education from Wayne State. Ossian teaches second grade at Emerson Elementary in Kearney, where she has worked for 12 years. She has accepted a position as the assistant principal for the three elementary schools in Holdrege beginning in August. Her parents are Jim and Bev Ossian. Jim is a professor at Wayne State College in the School of Education and Counseling. Bev is a retired nurse. Her only daughter, Janelle, is a junior in the criminal justice program at University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Baccalaureate Invocation Speaker
Lucas Christensen, the son of Arlan and Geralyn Christensen of Harlan, Iowa, will deliver the invocation. His major is speech communications with an emphasis in organizational leadership and public relations. While at Wayne State he has served as president of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society, presented personal research on culture shock and adjustment at the first undergraduate communication conference at Wayne State in 2010, and worked as a Stride speech communication tutor. Christensen traveled to Taiwan in the spring of 2009 to teach English and study Chinese at Chienkuo Technology University in Changhua, Taiwan. His career plans include moving to Las Vegas to pursue a career in hotel management and hospitality services while using the Chinese he has learned to work with the Asian population there in hopes of eventually being transferred to a property in China.

Honored Retiring Faculty
Dr. Jean Blomenkamp came to Wayne State in 1986. She taught in the School of Education and Counseling. She served as department chair for the Educational Foundations and Leadership Department for six years and as interim co-dean during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years. Blomenkamp completed her bachelor and master of science degrees and an administration endorsement at Wayne State College. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was the elementary principal/teacher in the Stanton Community Schools for 13 years and began her educational career at Bryan Elementary-Millard Public Schools where she taught for four years.

Dr. Jack Imdieke, a professor in the Computer Technology and Information Systems (CTIS) Department, has spent 43 years as an educator: six years at the secondary level and 37 years at the collegiate level, with the last 31 years at Wayne State College. He has served on myriad college and departmental committees, has been a grant recipient, has presented at local, regional and national conferences, and has held membership in several professional organizations. He served as the local advisor for Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), a business fraternity, for 19 years and was twice recognized as the Nebraska State PBL Advisor of the Year. Imdieke was instrumental in the creation of the computer information systems major and its evolution into the CTIS Department that houses computer science and computer information systems majors.
 
Dr. Jean C. Karlen joined the faculty at Wayne State College in 1976. She earned all of her degrees in sociology (bachelor's, 1969; master's, 1976; and Ph.D., 1981) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Karlen served as division head of Social Sciences from 1989 to 2001 and Service-Learning campus coordinator from 1999 to 2010.  She has been WSC chapter advisor for the social sciences honor society of Pi Gamma Mu since 1978 and is currently past president of the International Board of Trustees. Karlen has received many awards and honors in her career. In 2003, she received the Nebraska State College System George T. Rebensdorf Teaching Excellence Award. She received the Midwest Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education Voyager Award in 2006 for outstanding commitment to furthering service-learning and the Midwest Sociological Society Board of Directors Distinguished Service Award in 2000. Karlen's career demonstrates a commitment to education, rural communities, women's issues, and her students, many of whom have gone on to complete master and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields.

Ms. Janet M. Schmitz, associate professor of French, came to Wayne in 1971, and has taught all the courses in French and English literature. She holds a B.A. with honors from Avila University, Kansas City, Mo., and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, earning her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with further graduate study at Wisconsin, Universite Laval, Quebec, UNL, and the Sorbonne and the University of Avignon, France. Before coming to WSC, she taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She was the advisor of the WSC French Club and Alpha Mu Gamma language honorary and a longtime member and past president of the American Association of Teachers of French. She served as chair of the WSC Faculty Senate, coordinator of the annual Modern Language Day, led numerous WSC study tours to France, and sponsored teaching abroad programs. Her teaching awards include the Burlington-Northern Foundation Achievement Award, places in five NEH Summer Seminars for College Teachers, four Nebraska International Languages Association Awards, Nebraska French Teacher of the Year in 2003, and the 2010 Balsley-Whitmore Award.

State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award
Dr. Andrew Alexander, professor of British literature and philosophy, will be presented with the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award at the baccalaureate ceremony. This prestigious honor is awarded on the basis of rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching. Alexander also was Wayne State's nominee for the Nebraska State College System George Rebensdorf Teaching Excellence Award.

Alexander began his career at Wayne State in 1993 after serving as an assistant professor at Iowa State University and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. He earned his Ph.D. in English from University of Toronto, his master's in English from South Dakota State University and his bachelor's degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the nomination materials for the award, a former student praised Alexander for a teaching style that encouraged students to explore, challenge and defend their personal beliefs. Colleagues echoed the student's comments and added that Alexander has "a rare ability to convey and transmit his love of learning to students and an uncommon capacity to make students feel that their ideas and opinions are valuable and valid."

David Ley, State National Banks' chairman of the board and a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation, established the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award in 1998 as a way of recognizing and strengthening outstanding teaching at Wayne State. Ley and State National Bank of Wayne support the college through scholarships and other invaluable forms of assistance.

Alumni Achievement Award
Dr. Brad Bigelow is the recipient of this year's Wayne State Alumni Achievement Award. A graduate of Lyons High School, he earned his bachelor of arts in education in 1957. While at WSC, he was active in theatre, lettered in tennis, and as a senior served as editor of the Spizz and the Goldenrod. He went on to earn his master's in education/clinical psychology in 1958 and doctorate in 1964, both from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Bigelow served as the guidance counselor at Lincoln Northeast from 1959 to 1960. He became the first psychologist for the Nebraska Penal and Correctional complex in 1960 and served as the chief psychologist until 1968. He co-hosted a one-hour monthly TV series, The Prisoner Speaks, on channels 10-11, and originated Project Youth, a panel of inmates that spoke to various schools, civic and religious groups around the state.

He later served as psychologist/program director at Kearney Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center from 1968 until retirement in 1998. He created the State of Nebraska Evaluation Program for pre-adjudicated adolescent male offenders. Bigelow still maintains a private practice, serving as psychological consultant to school districts, rehabilitation services, the courts, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Bigelow's professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, American Association of Professional Psychologists, National Rehabilitation Association, Nebraska ELCA Prison Ministry Steering Committee and former member of the ELCA Church Vocations Committee and Examining Board.  A current member of the Buffalo County Mental Health Board, Bigelow also completed a four-year term on Lutheran Family Services Board of Directors and served a five-year term on the Governor's Behavioral Health Oversight Commission.

He was the co-founder of Kearney Friends Program (Big Brothers, Big Sisters); co-founder and board member of Campus House Group Home for Girls; co-founder and former president of Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association (recipient of association's Service to Youth Award in 1986 and 1998); and co-founder, former president and current member of South Central Behavioral Service.

Bigelow's wife, Karen, attended WSC from 1953 to 1955, graduated from UNL and worked as an elementary teacher. Brad and Karen's family includes a daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Jeffrey Kurtz; daughter Leann Welsh; and several grandchildren.

Baccalaureate Guest Speaker
Nebraska State Senator Greg Adams will deliver the commencement address at the baccalaureate ceremony. Adams graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1974 and a master's degree in education in 1975, both from Wayne State College.

Adams represents the 24th District in the Nebraska State Legislature. He was elected to the legislature for the first time in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. He serves as chair of the legislature's Education Committee, serves on the legislature's Revenue Committee, the Committee on Committees, the Midwestern Higher Education Commission, Education Commission of the States, and the Nebraska Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Committee (EPSCor).

Adams began his teaching career in 1976 at York High School where he taught American government and politics until 2006. During his 30 years as an educator, Adams served as president of the Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies from 1980 to 1981, was a member of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Curriculum Committee from 1992 to 1994, administered the Washington, D.C. Close Up Program since 1982, and served as the K-12 Social Studies department chair from 1982 to 2004.

His service in government began in 1986 with election to the York City Council. After 10 years as a councilman he was elected mayor of York, a post he held until 2006. He was appointed by the governor in 1997 and again in 2000 to the Nebraska Information Technology Commission.

Adams married Julie A. Epke on Oct. 8, 1992. He has three children: Heather Loveless, Shawn Levitt and Sarah Adams.

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