Alumni enews summer 2019

Paige McCoy speaking at the Celebration of Excellence

Watch new alumna Paige McCoy reflect on her time as a student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Nebraska and share where she is going next (3 min).

Summer plans? For some undergraduates,
it's driven by curiosity

Rachel Gordon, Beverley Rilett and Megan Ekstrom discuss the George Eliot Archive during a meeting June 15 in the Adele Hall Learning Commons at Love Library.

Above: Rachel Gordon, Beverley Rilett and Megan Ekstrom.

For one undergraduate student, it's synthesis of chiral phosphonates with a biochemist. For another, it's adolescent disclosure of peer victimization with a psychologist. For others, it's an ebook on ancient drama, or winged aphids, or cosmic ray muons.

This summer, 67 students will be working with faculty mentors on research or creative activity projects like these in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences through the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience program.

You may have been a UCARE student when you were at Nebraska. It's a great chance to gain skills, career-related experience, and connections. Students are not only paid a stipend to assist a world-class expert for 20 hours a week—they also participate in mentoring workshops, connect with undergraduates from other institutions in the Summer Research Program, and present their work at a research symposium in August.

We encourage students to open up more career opportunities for themselves by taking advantage of this hands-on experience. Check out the wide array of disciplines and topics our students will engage with this summer.

English major Megan Eckstrom will continue developing the George Eliot Digital Archive, a website housing the complete works of the renowned writer, with faculty mentor Beverley Rilett.

"This has been extremely helpful in showing me that I really do enjoy research, and it's something that I can get into and actually get something out of," she said. "I think this is something I do want to pursue at some level in the future, and I could not have been able to say that before UCARE."

Brooke Mott and Nichole Brady completed their UCARE project in the spring by organizing the university's second Homerathon under associate professor of practice Mike Lippman's guidance.

"It has been such a learning experience and I think it’s made me a better student and a better person,” Mott said. “It has made me much more confident and competent when speaking with people I don’t know, how to form working relationships and budget."

“It teaches us leadership, how to meet deadlines and work on a team project,” Brady said. “You can’t succeed without working together. When you’re in your career and you’re given a project or goal you have to reach, being able to work as a member of a team is really important.”

Spring commencement:
more alumni and new traditions

Pinnacle Bank Arena during spring 2019 commencement

Above: Pinnacle Bank Arena.

On May 4, 2019, over 650 undergraduate and graduate Arts and Sciences students became alumni—prepared to make an impact on the next part of their journey.

Recent alumni Allison Black, Anuja Bhalkikar, Justice Forte, Trevor Fellbaum, Edmon Adams, Binh Le, and Hunter Traynor talked about where their degree will take them in this video.

The 3,490 students of the class of 2019 were the first to experience new commencement traditions established for the university's 150th anniversary.

The robes and regalia included the Nebraska “N” and featured a red and black design alongside traditional colors—each robe unique to bachelors, masters, and doctorate degree earners. The degrees—for 2019 only—had the N150 logo added. Even the gonfalons—those banners the marshals carry—were updated.

Alumna Rebecca Richards-Kortum, mathematics and physics, gave the commencement address, encouraging graduates to run with purpose.

She recognized physicist David Sellmyer as critical to her undergraduate journey: “I don’t think I would be here with you today if Dave Sellmyer hadn’t taken 20 minutes to meet with me and say: ‘Come, run this race with us. I think you might like it.’”

She told the graduates to find people who believe in them and, in turn, support others.

“Believing in people is the most powerful fuel in the universe. And the great thing about this super-power is we all possess it,” she said. “Dave Sellmyer gave it to me, and I am giving it to you. Graduates: Use your super-powers … to inspire the people around you to do their best.”

Connect with CAS on LinkedIn

The college has joined the university on LinkedIn, and we'd like to bring our current and future alumni together to connect.

Visit and follow the College of Arts and Sciences on LinkedIn.