Published Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
A total of 345 students will receive degrees at the ceremony in Rice Auditorium. Nicole Brungardt ’12 will receive the Alumni Achievement Award.
Wayne State College will hold a commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, in Rice Auditorium. A total of 345 degrees will be conferred. The ceremony will also be livestreamed.
Those students receiving their diplomas will include 214 undergraduates and 131 graduate students from the college’s Master of Science in Education, Master of Organizational Management, Master of Business Administration, and Education Specialist programs.
Download the Commencement Program (PDF)
(includes list of candidates for degree)
Aspen Bennier, Invocation Speaker
Aspen Bennier of Sioux City, Iowa, will deliver the invocation. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She is the daughter of Gary and Angel Bennier of Sioux City and the mother to Ainslee Bennier.
Bennier was named to the dean’s list and served as a substitute teacher in area schools as part of the College’s Northeast Nebraska Teacher Academy (NENTA) while completing her undergraduate degree. Bennier plans to teach elementary school after graduation.
Aubreanna Miller, Commencement Address
Aubreanna Miller of Milford, Neb., will deliver one of two commencement addresses. She is graduating with a bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Journalism and Communication Studies, with a minor in Editing and Publishing. She is the daughter of Jeremy and Kimberly Miller of Seward, Neb., and Dave and Tosha Dunham of Crete, Neb.
Miller was active on campus, serving as editor-in-chief of The Wayne Stater from August 2022 to May 2023; news editor from August 2021 to May 2022; and staff writer from January 2021 to May 2023. She also served various roles with Theta Phi Alpha sorority and served as president of Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society from August 2022 to September 2023. Miller was also active in the Honors Club and Greek Council from Fall 2020 through the present.
Miller was the recipient of numerous scholarships while studying at Wayne State. She earned the Neihardt Scholarship, Nebraska Press Association Student Journalist Scholarship, Partners in the Park Honors Trip Scholarship, Omaha Press Club Jim Denny “Good News” Scholarship, and the Dick Manley Journalism Scholarship through the Wayne State Foundation.
Miller was recognized for her academic achievements through the Golden Leaf student journalism awards for best general news story, the dean’s list, and for the top paper at the Flatwater Research Conference.
Miller plans to continue working at The Wayne Herald, where she has worked for more than a year. In the fall of next year, she said she would like to start graduate school to pursue a doctorate in Health Communications to become a professor.
Emily Steinhoff, Commencement Address
Emily Steinhoff of Seward, Neb., will deliver one of two commencement addresses. She is graduating with a master of science degree in 7-12 School Administration. She is the daughter of Bill and Peg McAllister of West Point, Neb.
Steinhoff serves as an Instructional Coach at Schuyler Middle School in Schuyler, Neb. She plans to continue in her capacity as an instructional leader with an eye toward working as a principal later in her career.
Steinhoff is married to Travis Steinhoff, with whom she has two children, Ben and Olivia.
Alumni Achievement Award: Nicole Brungardt ‘12
Nicole Brungardt will receive the Alumni Achievement Award during the ceremony. Brungardt graduated from Wayne State in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Brungardt was a standout student-athlete for the volleyball and track and field programs from 2008 to 2012. She was a four-year letter winner and defensive specialist on the Wildcat volleyball team, making the NCAA National Tournament four years in a row. Brungardt also competed in women’s track and field for two seasons (2011 and 2012), earning recognition as a four-time All-American, eight-time All-Region selection, and five-time NSIC champion.
After Wayne State, Brungardt pursued a dream in the summer of 2017 and qualified as a member of the United States Bobsled Team, competing with Team USA for five years (2017-2022). In her final year, she traveled to Beijing to train and compete on the Olympic track, just missing making the 2022 Olympic team.
Brungardt lives in Omaha, Neb., and works as a project manager for Pearce Services, providing engineering services for CenturyLink. In addition to working full time, Brungardt also volunteers for two organizations: Rescue America, a national telephone hotline to help sex trafficking victims gain freedom, and Victory Riding Academy, an equine therapy academy that helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other disabilities.