KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alumni Association has selected four Outstanding Senior Award recipients.
The honor recognizes seniors for excellence in scholarship and leadership, as well as involvement and dedication to UNK and the Kearney community. Students were selected by a panel of UNK alumni.
Brooke Carlson of Elkhorn graduates in May with degrees in mathematics and physics with an emphasis in pre-mechanical engineering. She will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and serve as a graduate teaching assistant.
Carlson was a member of the UNK women’s basketball team for five years. She served as a captain, earned multiple MIAA regular-season and tournament honors and was a four-time academic all-conference and scholar athlete. Carlson was in the UNK Honors Program, Professional Development Academy and Undergraduate Research Fellows program, and she served as an FCA student leader and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president. She also participated in a name, image and likeness (NIL) program that served as a charitable endeavor for elementary schools in the Kearney Public Schools system. Carlson completed internships with RD Industries and Baldwin Filters.
Joseph Hiatt of Spencer graduates in May with a degree in political science and a minor in ethnic studies. He plans to complete the Master of Business Administration program at UNK and will work in investor relations at Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.
Hiatt served as a New Student Enrollment leader, campus visit assistant and Honors Program student coordinator at UNK. He was also chief of staff for UNK Student Government and president of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Interfraternity Council and UNK Future Business Leaders of America Collegiate chapter. Additionally, Hiatt was active in the Honors Program, Chancellor’s Ambassadors, Locke & Key Society, Undergraduate Research Fellows and Mortar Board, Order of Omega and Pi Sigma Alpha honor societies. He also volunteered his time with numerous organizations.
Tristan Larson of Trumbull graduates in May with a degree in exercise science with a health science minor. She will attend physical therapy school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center this fall.
Larson participated in the UNK Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Fellows, NU Alliance, Circle K and Chancellor’s Ambassadors. She was also active in the Alpha Phi sorority and UNK Student Government, serving as student body vice president. Additionally, she was a resident assistant, UNK Distinguished Scholar and student adviser for the General Studies Council. Larson worked as a physical therapy technician at New West Orthopaedic & Sports Rehabilitation.
Grace McDonald of Rockville graduates in May with degrees in multimedia and journalism. She will work as a multimedia journalist at 10/11 KOLN-TV in Lincoln.
At UNK, McDonald served as editor-in-chief of The Antelope student newspaper, anchored and reported for the “Antelope News” show, served as Welcome Week coordinator, was a campus visit assistant and served as a counselor for the Digital Expressions Media Camp. She was also involved in the Honors Program, Honors Student Advisory Board, Mortar Board, Choraleers and Catholic Newman Center. McDonald received multiple awards for her collegiate work, including the Eric Sevareid Award for spot news, team multimedia storytelling, soft feature, story series, newscast and general reporting; Nebraska Broadcasters Association Pinnacle Award for best television news story; Nebraska Press Association award for in-depth coverage; and six Golden Leaf awards. She has been a columnist for the Grand Island Independent and completed internships at the Kearney Hub and 10/11 KOLN-TV.