Michelle Widger
UNK Alumni Association, 308.865.8474

Five University of Nebraska at Kearney students have been named 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 and dedication to 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 in later this month.

The recipients include: Fort Calhoun- Kathleen Tinkham; Kearney- Megan Schliefert;
Plymouth- Michelle Hermesch; Schuyler- Paul Knutson; and Wayne- Nate Summerfield.

Tinkham, a visual communications and design major, is involved in numerous UNK student organizations. She is a member of Alpha Phi sorority, where she has served as the vice president of marketing, vice president of chapter operations and community service director. She is a member of the UNK Art Society, holding the office of secretary; AIGA Collegiate; president of the Order of Omega, a collegiate Greek national honor society and philanthropic group; and the historian for Mortar Board. She has also held additional offices in many of these organizations.

A Deans’ List student, she is also a UNK Track and Field letter winner, and has made NCAA and RMAC Academic All-American honorable mention. In addition, she has received thee Nebraska ADDY’s and was a bronze winner at the UNK Student Art Show. Further, she has also received the Kearney Chamber of Commerce Diversity Award.

Schliefert, a chemistry major, with an emphasis in molecular biology, is a member of the Honors Program. She is also the vice president of the Health Science Club, and a member of the Chemistry Club and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. She is also a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, a participant in the intramurals program and a Mortar Board member. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and at local preschools, and she organized the annual blood drive for the Health Science Club.
Hermesch is an exercise science major with a minor in health science. She has been involved in several community service events, including The Big Event, Honey Sunday, Campus Kitchen, the Health Science Club blood drive and St. Jude’s Up ’Til Dawn. In addition, she is the secretary for Mortar Board, the executive director on St. Jude’s Executive Board and a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. She is also a member of the Honors Program, the Health Science Club, Loper Liaisons, FCA and Panhellenic Council. In addition, she is a Student Diplomat for the UNK Admissions Office, a Resident Adviser and SAE Student Leader.

Knutson is a business administration major with an emphasis in accounting. A Deans’ List student, he is a Chancellor’s Ambassador and has been involved in Student Government. He is a member of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting society. In addition, he has been active in Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, holding offices as recruitment chairman, internal vice president, treasurer and community service chair.

Summerfield is a business administration major, with an emphasis in finance and minor in political science. A member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, he has served as the chapter president and the supreme council vice president. He has also been active in Student Government and was Student Body president, Student Body vice president, a business college senator and chair of the Student Programming Board. In addition, he has served as member of Mortar Board, the Order of Omega and Beta Gamma Sigma. He has participated in the Summer Student Research Program, and has received several honors, including the UNK Outstanding Sophomore Award and Homecoming King.