Awards were presented Wednesday during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Assembly at Morningside College.

Awards for student achievement, Faculty Person of the Year, and other awards were presented Wednesday during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Honors Assembly at Morningside College.

ODK is a national leadership honor society that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character.

David Elder, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric and director of the writing center, was selected by the students in ODK as the Faculty Person of the Year for his outstanding contributions to Morningside and its students. Elder teaches First-Year Seminar, Composition and Communication, Writing to Persuade, and Advanced Public Speaking.

The First-Year Teaching/Advising Award went to Alden Stout, visiting assistant professor of philosophy. The award, presented with assistance from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, is given to an exemplary teacher who has helped first-year students succeed in making the transition into college.

Shari Benson, director of new students, received the Staff Member of the Year Award. Benson is a 1982 graduate of Morningside College. She has worked at the college since 1989.

The Tommeraasen Award of Excellence for the outstanding campus organization went to the women’s basketball team.

The Student Government Event of the Year was the Waitt Lecture featuring Jared Cohen.

The ODK Sophomore Cup was awarded to Natasha Hongsermeier of Phillips, Neb., and Nick Misukanis of Mendota Heights, Minn. This award is given annually to a sophomore for outstanding leadership and campus participation.

The Alpha Lambda Delta Maria Leonard Senior Book Award for the graduating member of the freshman women’s honor society with the highest grade point average was presented to Cameron Oakley of Sioux City and Kelsie Pomerenke of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

Mikala Cooper of Lincoln, Neb., was recognized for being this year’s Alpha Lambda Delta nominee for the national honor society’s Jo Anne J. Trow national scholarship. 

Natasha Hongsermeier of Phillips, Neb., was this year’s nominee for the Alpha Lambda Delta Stemler Study Abroad Scholarship.

The Phi Eta Sigma Senior Book Award for the graduating member of the national freshman honor society with the highest grade point average went to Nick Brincks of Carroll, Iowa.

The Robert “Bob” Miller Academic Student-Athlete of the Year Awards, presented in Miller’s memory by his family to the senior male and female student athletes who have demonstrated outstanding academic and athletic performances during their Morningside careers, were presented to Danny Rudeen of Dakota Dunes, S.D., and Cameron Oakley of Sioux City. Rudeen is on the men’s basketball team, and Oakley is on the women’s golf team.

The following departmental awards were presented:


  • Marion Shapiro Art Award, presented in Shapiro’s memory by her family and friends to the student who best represents her commitment to excellence in art and life: Rachel Eisenbraun, Black Hawk, S.D.
  • Outstanding Art Awards, by class: junior, Laura Tomjack, Ewing, Neb.; sophomore, Amber Burg, Murray, Neb.; and freshman, Kelsey Ahart, Denison, Iowa.

Biology and Chemistry

  • Stephen Jay Gould Award, presented to a student who best exemplifies the spirit of the liberal arts college and has a record of excellence in biology and chemistry as well as the humanities: Kalee Gross, Omaha, Neb.
  • Outstanding Biology Student of the Year Award: Quinton Behlers, Sioux City, and Tanner Ferguson, Dakota Dunes, S.D.
  • Outstanding Chemistry Student of the Year Award: Kyle Kinney of Sioux City.

Business Administration and Economics

  • Outstanding Advertising Student Award: Demi Dunn, Cherokee, Iowa.
  • Outstanding Accounting Student Awards: Brett Cropley, Sioux City, and Brandon Widman, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
  • Outstanding Business Administration Student Awards: Emma Remy, Urbandale, Iowa, and Jordan Sitzmann, Le Mars, Iowa.


  • Maxine Nelson Award: Allison Schreiner, Remsen, Iowa.
  • Marcia McNee Elementary Education Award: Kelsie Pomerenke, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
  • Dr. Sharon Ocker Endowed Scholarship for Secondary Education: Jon Hauswald, Sioux Center, Iowa.
  • Cathy (Posey) Simons Scholarship in Special Education, presented to the special education major who exemplifies her spirit of teaching: Leann Osten, Columbus, Neb.


  • Margaret Coleman Crary Scholarship in Literary Arts, for the English student who is an outstanding writer: Ryan Ingalls, Sioux City.
  • Bill and Lorraine Knepper Outstanding Junior English Student Award: Hannah Hecht, Lansing, Kan.

History and Political Science

  • Albert Sellen Award, for the senior history student who best exemplifies a sense of service to the department, to the college and to the field of history that marked Sellen’s career: Sarah Swan, South Sioux City, Neb., and Emily Greenlee, Lincoln, Neb.
  • James Miller Award in History, for the history student who exhibits extraordinary academic achievement in and out of the classroom: Nick Misukanis, Mendota Heights, Minn.
  • James Miller Award in Political Science, for the political science student who exhibits extraordinary academic achievement in and out of the classroom: Kyle McGlade, Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Mass Communication

  • Outstanding Mass Communication Student: Nick Brincks, Carroll, Iowa.
  • Outstanding Media Contributor: Michael Lewis, South Sioux City, Neb.

Modern Languages

  • Department Of Modern Languages Book Award: Maggie Vander Stelt, Maurice, Iowa.
  • Dr. John Doohen Award for Excellence in Modern Languages: Jenna Bowmaster, Lincoln, Neb.


  • Music Department Award: Noah Towns, Sioux City.
  • Berdina Hospers Woodwind Award, for the student judged to have given the best performance for the school year: Sarah Hutchins, Sioux City.
  • Mrs. Ray J. (Mildred) Harrington Scholarship, for a piano student who demonstrates good moral character and citizenship: Emily Widman, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
  • Dorothy Paulson McLarnon Music Scholarship, for a junior or senior vocal music student showing exceptional potential: Noah Towns, Sioux City.


  • Professional Development and Academic Achievement in Nursing Awards: Kathleen Smith, Sioux City; Amber Patzlaff, Platte, S.D.; and Nathan Johnson, Alcester, S.D.


  • Joseph Uemura Outstanding Philosophy Major: Pat Whitsell, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Writing Prize in Philosophy: Hannah Hecht, Lansing, Kan.

Religious Studies

  • Robert Jewett Senior Book Awards, for the outstanding graduating seniors with a major or minor in religious studies went to Jesus Cendejas, Sioux City, and Allie Harris, Dakota Dunes, S.D.

Writing and Rhetoric

  • Award for Narrative Writing: Jenni Beaver, Sioux City.
  • Award for Persuasive Writing: Kayla Samek, Sioux City.