Blue Gold BriGade gives Outstanding Senior Awards

Blue Gold Brigade Group 2
Recipients of the Blue Gold BriGade 2014 Outstanding Senior Awards include, left to right, Whitney Nelson, Hastings; Shelby Zimmerman, Beatrice; Michael Christen, Anselmo; Amanda Swenson, Grand Island; and Yi Zhao, China. Not pictured is Brandon Drozd. (Photo by Michelle Widger/UNK Alumni Association)

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Six University of Nebraska Kearney students have been chosen as recipients of the Blue Gold BriGade Outstanding Senior Award.

The honor recognizes seniors for excellence in scholarship and leadership, as well as involvement and dedication to UNK and the Kearney community.

“The competition for these awards was very tough. We had over 30 applicants, which were narrowed down to 15,” said Brette Ensz, assistant director of engagement with the UNK Alumni Association. “Those 15 were interviewed, and six were selected by members of the UNK Alumni Board and University of Nebraska Foundation staff.”

The Blue Gold BriGade, formerly known as Student Alumni Foundation, has been giving these awards since the group was founded in 1981.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Michael Christen, a math major and finance minor from Anselmo. Following graduation, he will attend graduate school and pursue his Master of Business Administration.
  • Brandon Drozd, an organizational communication major from Genoa. After graduation, he will attend the University of Kansas to pursue a master’s degree in rhetoric and serve as a graduate teaching assistant in the communication department.
  • Whitney Nelson, a biology comprehensive major with an emphasis in health science from Hastings. After graduation, she will join the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s one-year accelerated nursing program in Omaha.
  • Amanda Swenson, a business administration major with an emphasis in finance from Grand Island. She has accepted a job as commercial deposit specialist in Omaha’s banking industry.
  • Shelby Zimmerman, an exercise science major and public health minor from Beatrice. Following graduation, she will attend UNMC to pursue a master’s degree in public health.
  • Yi Zhao, a student in the international program and business administration major from China. Zhao is pursuing post-graduate studies and intends to work in banking and finance for an international company.


Source: Brette Ensz, 308.865.8465
Writer: Todd Gottula, 308.865.8454,

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