Class Notes - Fall 2012

CoJMC Alumni E-newsletter

In Memoriam

Dick Thien, 73, a founding editor of USA Today died Aug. 23. Al Neuharth chose Thien to be one of five prototype editors for the nation's first national general-interest newspaper in 1981. He taught journalism at several universities, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1963.

Daniel Scott Thien
, 21, son of Scott Thien and Kelly Bunkers Thien, both CoJMC alumni, died suddenly on Friday, June 7, in Indianapolis. In addition to his parents, survivors include his siblings Andrew, Josh and Katie and grandparents Dick and Elaine Thien. Dick Thien taught at the CoJMC during the 1990s. Those wishing to send condolences may do so at


  • Joshua Anstey is a video production specialist at Foundation Supportworks Inc. in Lincoln.
  • Allison Brady is a messaging strategist at Turbine Interactive in Lincoln, Neb., where she creates social media and mobile strategies.
  • Emily Deck will cover the school beat for the Beatrice Daily Sun.
  • Jordan Faulder is an account executive at Turbine Interactive in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Dan Holtmeyer is a freelance reporter with the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader and Springfield Business Journal.
  • Megan Mandel will be working as a multimedia specialist at SilverStone Group in Omaha, Neb.
  • Kevin McCaskill has joined Bailey Lauerman as a project coordinator. McCaskill was part of the 2012 National Student Advertising Competition’s championship team.
  • Erin Reynoldson has been selected as one of 15 advertising students from across the nation to be identified as a thought leader and “rising star” in the advertising industry. She will collaborate with the American Advertising Federation and Initiative Media.
  • Aaron Sanderford is a political and national issues editor with The Omaha World-Herald.
  • Cassandra Seckman is an account executive with Cities West Publishing in Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Kaila Shirey joined Swanson Russell Associates in Lincoln as a media coordinator. She worked as a marketing intern for the Lincoln Stars Hockey team and is a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity.
  • Molly Sharp is an interactive project coordinator and Vermeer dealer systems coordinator in the Lincoln office of Swanson Russell Associates.
  • Erin Starkebaum is a facilities management and planning communications intern at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Irina Sulejmanovic is a marketing intern with Rhea Cattle Co.
  • Rosemary Vestal is a publicist with the University of Nebraska Press.
  • Bernice Bingjie Zhao is a marketing producer at ICY TV Network in Los Angeles, Calif.


  • Monica Blaser is an office assistant in the Art History department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Kimberly Eiten is an anchor/reporter at KOLN/KGIN-TV of Lincoln and Grand Island.
  • Matt Hames is a copywriter at Wineman Communications Group, Lee Enterprises, after working as the communications coordinator for the Downtown Lincoln Association.
  • Wade Hilligoss is a graduate assistant with the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Marissa Kardell is the manager of the Discovery Shop at Morrill Hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Sara Leimbach is a junior interactive and content producer at Instrument of Portland, Ore.
  • Brittany McNeal is now a contributor at Substream Music Press and a digital content creator/copywriter at VMInnovations.
  • Elizabeth Porter creates and designs advertisements at Starbucks Coffee in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Mekita Rivas is a Web producer at KGUN TV in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Sarah Russell has joined FedEx in Denver, Colo., as a marketing specialist.
  • John Schreier is a digital news editor at the Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Emily Sears is a marketing intern with the Nebraska State Education Association and a marketing assistant with IMSCORP.
  • Jennifer Seefeld is an adjunct professor of graphic design at the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • Mitch Smith is a metro desk intern with the Chicago Tribune Media Group.
  • Alissa Skelton is a reporter intern with the National Journal in Washington, D.C. This past summer she was an investigative reporter at News21 where she reported on national voting rights as part of a project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


  • Ryan Downing has joined Bailey Lauerman as an executive assistant. He has prior experience as an assistant study abroad coordinator to Queretaro, Mexico, as a graduate teaching assistant in two colleges.
  • Elizabeth Gamez is the promotions and outreach manager at KCOS-TV, Channel 13 in El Paso, Texas.
  • Rachel Hohman works as an account coordinator at Swanson Russell Associates. She previously served as a public relations intern. Most recently she worked as a family permanency specialist for the KVC Behavioral Health Care/Department of Health and Human Services in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Laura (Maricle) Holoubek is an account executive at McCormick Company of Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Nancy Kelsey is editor of Northville (Mich.) Patch. She has previously worked as an intern at Interlochen Public Radio, the Associated Press in Boston, Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune and a few Colorado dailies. She previously reported for the Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Bridgette Muller is a digital media account coordinator at Centro in Chicago. Centro uses a proprietary software Transis that streamline the digital planning and buying process for media plans.
  • Will Sharpe joined Leo Burnett in Chicago, Ill., as a creative intern.
  • Katie Stearns is a blogger and photographer at Forenex, an independent educational agency based in Madrid, Spain, that offers English summer courses for kids up to age 18.
  • Anthoy Troester is the membership co-chair of IABC Lincoln. He is a digital marketing coordinator at BryanLGH Medical Center in Lincoln.


  • Cody Gerlach will cover sports and sell advertising at the Oxford (Neb.) Standard. He held a workshop on advertising at a lunch and learn workshop in Cambridge on June 21.
  • Libby Kohn is a campus brand agent manager with Archrival, a leading youth marketing agency in Lincoln.
  • Adam Wagler is a multimedia instructional designer at EdMedia, a division of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


  • Laura Chapman will be the communications coordinator for the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Joel Gehringer has been named the director of annual campaigns with the University of Nebraska Foundation’s Omaha office.
  • Danielle Hatfield is a news producer at WOWT-TV in Omaha.
  • Anna Latta is a production operations coordinator at Arizona Public Media in Tucson, Ariz.
  • Cynthia Scheer will be reporting for the Fairbury (Neb.) Journal-News and the Belleville Telescope.
  • Katie Wisbon is a senior brand manager at dfine branding in Denver, Colo.


  • Daryn Morriss has been promoted to general manager of the Woodbine Twiner and Logan Herald-Observer. A five-year employee of the papers, Morriss served as an account representative prior to taking on his new role.


  • Dakarai Aarons is the director of Education Outreach and Policy at CommunicationWrks LLC in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
  • Sarah Gettino is a marketing manager at USC, llc., a financial services company in Kansas City, Mo.


  • Kyle Doperalski is a marketing/broadcasting consultant at New Mexico State University working with a variety of sports. He managed the Aggie Sports Network (radio) and implemented the television network “Aggie Vision.” He is currently the associate athletic director of external operations at the University of North Dakota.
  • Matt Gersib is head honcho at Freelance Public Relations and Corporate Communications.
  • Erin Kuwitzky is a principal and founder of 517 Searchlabs, an interactive marketing and communications company based in Denver, Colo.
  • Natalia Shybut has been promoted to advertising director at the Lincoln Journal Star. She will oversee advertising operations for the Lincoln Journal Star including and niche publications: L Magazine, Star City Health, Star City Sports and Wheels For You.


  • Amy Farrar Ferguson joined the University of Nebraska Foundation as director of development for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering.
  • Michael Johnson joined Bozell, a marketing communications firm in Omaha, as a senior copywriter and will work with the creative team to develop ideas and effective communication for clients.
  • Nia Nielsen is president-elect of the Lincoln Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She is a marketing specialist at the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.


  • Lesley Owusu is an Olympic and Paralympic news service reporter in Slough, United Kingdom.


  • Loren Bymer is a public affairs officer with the Third Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.
  • Kim Hillyer was named to the Midland Business Journal’s 10th annual “40 Under 40” class. She is the director of communications and public affairs at TD Ameritrade.


  • Warren Hale landed an internship with ACLU of Nebraska. He will be in charge of gathering and disseminating news regarding social injustice in Nebraska.
  • Matt Miller was one of two Omaha World-Herald staff persons to travel to China this summer to cover Nebraska Gov. Heineman’s economic development trade mission.
  • Brian Pope is a UX designer and photographer with Gallup, Inc. His photos have appeared in Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoofari and Gallup’s Web apps.


  • Kristi Andersen was named the director of communications at Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority in Omaha.
  • Gina Dvorak is a multimedia editor at The (San Bernadino County) Sun, Inland Valley (Ontario) Daily Bulletin and Redlands Daily Facts.


  • Jenn Bunnell has been promoted to assistant director of media for SKAR Advertising, a full service brand communications agency located in Omaha. She will be responsible for developing strategies in a wide range of media, including digital formats and supervising the media department staff.


  • Kevin Hynes is publishing the Prairie Soldier solely as a digital publication beginning April 2012.


  • Kathy Steinauer Smith has joined the Woods Charitable Fund staff. She will participate in grants management and program review for the fund. Steinauer Smith worked at the Lincoln Journal Star since 2005 in a variety of roles.


  • Bill Vobejda has taken a position with the Fremont Area Medical Center. As vice president of administration he will be responsible for human resources, marketing/public relations, community health, the hospital foundation and external affairs. For the past 10 years Vobejda was the publisher of the Fremont Tribune.


  • Tracy Overstreet was named best newspaper reporter in the 2012 “Best of Grand Island.” She has been the local government reporter at The Grand Island Independent since 1991. She’s been a full-time reporter since 1991 and worked in Lincoln and Hastings before moving to Grand Island as a radio reporter for KRGI.


  • John Schofield oversees marketing communications for the North American market at CLAAS, a combine manufacturing facility located in Omaha.


  • Kelly Lynn Anders is an associate professor at Savannah Law School. She served most recently as director of communications and diversity at Creighton University’s Law School.


  • Cathy McDaniel is the executive director of the Panhandle Humane Society in Scottsbluff, Neb. She worked at various business including the Nebraska Main Street program; the Star-Herald newspaper and as the emergency services director for the local Red Cross Chapter.
  • Mike Losee is a director of account development at Snitily Carr in Lincoln, Neb.


  • Rick Hemphill joined the Stanton (Neb.) Register as an office manager and advertising sales representative.


  • Michael Branigan is the publisher of Colorado Construction & Design magazine, an information-sharing resource for the design and construction industry in Denver.


  • Marella Meadows is the senior editor at ICF International in the greater Atlanta, Ga., area.

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  • McLain Dorsey, ’02, and Holly Grefe are planning an Oct. 12, 2012, wedding.

    Trevor Hall, ’05 and ’11, and Jennifer Pickerel were married April 14, 2012.

    Katelyn O’Rourke, ’10, and Josh Sperle, are planning an Oct. 20, 2012 wedding.