Four UNK Graduate Students Recognized for Outstanding Thesesa

Jan Mitchell
secretarial specialist, Office of Graduate Studies and Research , 308.865.8843

A collection of original poems has earned Mary Dixon of Hastings  both the Outstanding Thesis in the College of Fine Arts and Humanities and Outstanding Thesis campus-wide at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Dixon, who is now studying for an MFA at the University of Notre Dame, received a full-ride scholarship worth nearly $30,000 from Notre Dame, according to Dr. Barbara Emrys, Dixon’s faculty adviser at UNK. Dixon was one of only 10 students accepted into the Notre Dame program.

Also recognized for outstanding theses were Benjamin Zechmann of Elm Creek , Sarah Boury ofOmaha  and Wendy
Korenek-Flesner of Kearney .

Zechmann was honored with Outstanding Thesis in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Zechmann said his dissertation focused on insect defoliation of potatoes and the affect defoliation has on the crop in Central Nebraska.

“This research may possibly reduce potato production costs, aid the environment in insect management treatments and also reduce the amount of pesticides needed for insect resistance,” he said.

Boury was recognized for Outstanding Thesis in the College of Education. She researched the perceived parental barriers associated with elementary school students walking to and from school.

“It’s important because walking provides children with a unique way to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine,” Boury said.

Korenek-Flesner, whose thesis earned honorable mention behind Dixon’s thesis in the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, wrote a creative thesis of fictional short stories, vignettes and interludes with a common character. The pieces were structured as points, sets and games within an abstract tennis match between the main character and outside forces of her life.

“I fell very much in love with the form during the process and believe it will only gain popularity with modern audiences,” Korenek-Flesner said.