Michelle Widger
UNK Alumni Association, 308.865.8474

UNK – Five University of Nebraska students have been chosen as recipients of the Student Alumni Foundation Outstanding Senior Award.

The Outstanding Senior Award recognizes seniors for excellence in scholarship and leadership, as well as involvement in and dedication to, the UNK and the Kearney community. The Student Alumni Foundation has been making these awards since the group was founded in 1981.

The recipients will be honored at the UNK Mortar Board Honors Convocation later this month.

Recipients are:

Krystine Hoefer is a psychology major with a criminal justice minor from Elgin.  Krystine is a member of the Alpha Phi social sorority where she served in several capacities including president.  Krystine is a member of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi where she also served as president and treasurer.  She is involved with UNK Theater, Order of Omega, UNK Honors Program, Martin Hall Council, Women’s Chorus and intramurals.  Krystine is a member of Nebraska Leadership Seminar and has been published twice and presented at several conferences.

John Blecha is a chemistry major and a molecular biology minor from Gothenburg.  He is a graduate of Gothenburg Jr./Sr. High School.  He has served as a Chancellor Ambassador and a Student Senator, and been involved with Campus Kitchen and Loper Program Activities Council.  John has been on the Dean’s List for seven semesters and been honored as a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, the Honors Program and Mortar Board.  He has also presented at the Midwest Regional Meeting of The American Chemical Society.

Jessica Obermier is a psychology major and special education minor from Henderson. Obermier is a member of Psi Chi where she served as secretary, Sigma Xi, a scientific research society, and Phi Eta Sigma a national honor society. She has aided in the organization of several professional workshops as well as presented at a number of psychology, therapy and counseling conferences nationally. She has earned a place on the Deans’ list every semester, is a member of the UNK undergraduate research fellows program, and has had her work published three times.

Meagan Smejdir, a Lincoln native, is a Spanish translation and interpretation major with a minor in sociology. Smejdir is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, a social sorority where she has served in several leadership capacities including president. She is involved in Alpha Mu Gamma, a foreign language honor society, Gold Torch Society women’s mentoring program, Mortar Board senior honor society, Order of Omega Greek honor society, Phi Eta Sigma and Sociology Club. She also served as president for both the Student Alumni Foundation and executive vice president for the Panhellenic Council. Smejdir has extensive work experience in her field of translation and studied abroad in Toledo, Spain.

Cristobal “Criss” Salinas, Jr. is a Spanish education/ESL major and dance minor from Schuyler. Salinas is a member of the Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Commission, Chancellor’s Ambassadors and Chancellor’s Leadership Class. He has been active in Multicultural Affairs at UNK where he served as student coordinator and chaired the Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference. Salinas is currently student teaching in Houston, Texas. He previously was selected as one of only 21 students nationwide to participate in a paid internship program at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Internship in Washington D.C. He also served on the admissions counselor search committee, was a Student Diplomat and assisted with Summer Advising and Enrollment. He also served on UNK Student Government where he was director of student organizations. Salinas has won several awards including Congressional Youth Leadership Council Recognition, UNK Distinguished Service Award, Deans’ List, Multicultural Affairs Leadership and Academics Award, UNK Homecoming King and many others.