Awards for student achievement, faculty person of the year and other awards were presented recently during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Convocation at Morningside College.

Awards for student achievement, faculty person of the year, and other awards were presented recently during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Honors Convocation at Morningside College.

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

Dr. Valerie Hennings, assistant professor of political science, was selected by the students in ODK to receive the Dr. Bruce Forbes Faculty of the Year Award for her outstanding contributions to Morningside and its students. Hennings has been on the faculty at Morningside since 2014. She also is director of the Col. Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement.

Andy Nelson, campus chaplain, received the Staff Member of the Year Award. He has worked at the college since May of 2017.

The Tommeraasen Award of Excellence for the outstanding campus organization went to the Morningside Civic Union.

The Student Government Event of the Year was the 24-hour movie marathon organized by the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honor society.

The ODK Freshman of the Year was Sterling Stecker of Forest City, Iowa. This award is given annually to a freshman who has shown great leadership and participation in his or her first year on campus.

The ODK Sophomore Cup was awarded to Kevin Hancock of Grand Island, Neb. This award is given annually to a sophomore for outstanding leadership and campus participation.

The Alpha Lambda Delta freshman women’s honor society presented the Maria Leonard Senior Book Award for the graduating member with the highest grade point average to Ashton Schweers of Wayne, Neb., and Karissa Heckens of Omaha, Neb. Heckens also was this year’s nominee for the honor society’s Jo Anne J. Trow National Scholarship. Allyssa Stevens of Omaha, Neb., received the Gladys Pennington Graduate Fellowship Award, and Natasha Hongsermeier-Graves, a 2017 Morningside graduate, received the Dr. Mike Nichols Graduate Fellowship Award.

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 Matthew Nieland of Auburn, Iowa; Austin Schmidt of Remsen, Iowa; and Jason Kenny of Schaller, 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 Jason Kenny of Schaller, Iowa, and Jenna Bork of Sioux City. Kenny is on the cross country and track and field teams, and Bork is on the basketball team.

The Col. Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement’s Campus Engagement and Leadership Award was presented to Ally Hecht of Lansing, Kan.

Volunteer awards for participation in AmeriCorps were presented to Karissa Heckens of Omaha, Neb.; Torie Sykes of Sioux City; Allyssa Stevens of Omaha, Neb.; Sabrina Guerra of Red Oak, Iowa; Josie Obenauer of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Kelsey Brenner of Schaller, Iowa.

The following departmental awards were presented:

Applied Agricultural and Food Studies

Outstanding Senior: Jason Kenny of Schaller, Iowa.


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: Shaina Le of Sioux City.

Outstanding Art Awards by class: junior Jesseca Ormond of St. John’s, Antigua; sophomore Rae Clinkenbeard of Denison, Iowa; and freshman Ben Hieb of Mitchell, S.D.

Arts Administration

Outstanding Arts Administration Seniors: Alyssa Nehring of Humboldt, Iowa, Anna Zetterlund of Keokuk, Iowa.

Biology and Chemistry

Faculty Award in Biology: Matthew Nieland of Auburn, Iowa, and Austin Schmidt of Remsen, Iowa.

Faculty Award in Chemistry: Jacob Green of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Nicci McGuire of Rapid City, S.D.

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: Ashton Schweers of Wayne, Neb.

Biology and Chemistry Department Service Awards: Brook Boyd of Goldfield, Iowa; Matthew Nieland of Auburn, Iowa; and Ashton Schweers of Wayne, Neb.

Business Administration

Outstanding Accounting Senior: Nate Glisar of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

Institute of Management Accountants Student of the Year: Allie Gillette of Sioux City.

Outstanding Business Senior: Jadyn Mohr of Holstein, Iowa.

Outstanding Advertising Senior: Emma Miller of Corder, Mo.


Maxine Nelson Award: Audra Corbit of Laurel, Neb.; Dakota Drenth of Clarinda, Iowa; Kendy Kube of Crofton, Neb.; Paige Lansink of Manilla, Iowa; Megan Maaske of Woodbine, Iowa; and Haylee Twillman of Sioux City.

Marcia McNee Elementary Education Award: Jessica Paxton of Kansas City, Kan.

Dr. Sharon Ocker Endowed Scholarship for Secondary Education: Garrit Shanle of Columbus, Neb.


Margaret Coleman Crary Scholarship in Literary Arts, for the English student who is an outstanding writer: Elizabeth Roop of Marcus, Iowa.

Bill and Lorraine Knepper Outstanding Junior English Student Award: Lindsey Smith of Glidden, Iowa.

Mathematical Sciences

Elsie C. Muller Math Scholarship: Usame Suud of Fellbach, Germany.

The Terra Industries Scholarship for Computer Science: Alex Boettger of Wheatland, Iowa.

Robert Wood Green Pre-Engineering Scholarship: Reid Jurgensmeier of Wahoo, Neb.

Modern Languages

Department of Modern Languages Book Award: Karissa Heckens of Omaha, Neb.

Dr. John Doohen Award for Excellence in Modern Languages: Evelyn Hernandez of Santa Ana, Calif.; Sheila Ruiz of Santa Ana, Calif.; and Elba Mendoza of Santa Ana, Calif.

Gahlon Family Study Abroad Scholarship: Tyler Haberman of Fairbank, Iowa; Sarah Sadler of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; and Devin Phaly of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.


Professional Development and Academic Achievement in Nursing Award: Alex Allen of Crofton, Neb.; Kianna Kramper of Jackson, Neb.; and Samantha Umberger of Glenwood, Iowa.

Michelle Madsen Scholarship: Maurice Blackbird of Rosalie, Neb.

Performing Arts

Marvin and Merry Klass Endowed Scholarship: Tyler Nordstrom of South Sioux City, Neb.

Dorothy Paulson McLarnon Music Scholarship, for a junior or senior vocal music student showing exceptional potential: Katelyn Stewart of Crofton, Neb.

Mildred Harrington Scholarship: Emily Widman of Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

Berdina Hospers Woodwind Award: Dylan Root of San Diego, Calif.

Political Science

James Miller Award in Political Science, for the political science student who exhibits extraordinary academic achievement in and out of the classroom: Joschua Schanda of Villingen, Germany.

Extraordinary Achievement in Political Science Award: Daphney Miller of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Religious Studies

Robert Jewett Senior Book Award, for the outstanding graduating senior with a major or minor in religious studies: Karissa Heckens of Omaha, Neb.

Writing and Rhetoric

First-Year Studies Award for Narrative Writing: Marianna Pizzini of Helena, Mont.

First-Year Studies Award for Persuasive Writing: Bryanna Pulling of Highlands Ranch, Colo.