Two projects take home undergraduate research awards

Left to right: Krista Benesch, Dean Chuck O’Connor, Emily Gauger and Haley Collins.
Left to right: Krista Benesch, Dean Chuck O’Connor, Emily Gauger and Haley Collins.

Two projects take home undergraduate research awards

calendar icon02 May 2018    

Lincoln, Neb.--Three students completing two projects won Hixson-Lied College awards presented in conjunction with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Spring Research Fair in April.

Krista Benesch, a sophomore music education major in the Glenn Korff School of Music from Kearney, Nebraska; and Haley Collins, a senior art major from Lincoln, and Emily Gauger, a senior design major in the School of Art, Art History & Design from Omaha, each won for their two projects in the Spring Research Fair Undergraduate Poster and Creative Exhibit Competition.

In addition, Glenn Korff School of Music doctoral student Julie Grives won a travel grant at the graduate level for her poster titled “Examining Training Aids’ Benefits to Aerodynamic and Acoustic Measurements in Singing.”

Benesch’s poster was titled “Cataloging the Works of Robert Owens.”

“Last year, Dr. Jamie Reimer asked me if I would be interested in applying for a UCARE grant to work on cataloging Robert Owens’s music,” Benesch said. “When Owens passed away, he left all of his music to Dr. Reimer, and she, in turn, donated these scores to the university. This past school year, I sorted through the original scores of Robert Owens, made inventory lists and organized them according to opus number. I learned the library procedures to catalog the scores. I was also responsible for producing storage and archival materials for the collection using grant money.”          

Benesch said the experience was helpful to her.

“I learned a lot about how to archive manuscripts, but I think the most important skill I learned was tenacity,” she said. “There were several instances where I wasn’t sure what my next step was or I didn’t know how to do something, but there are so many people that were willing to help me if I only asked them.”

Reimer, associate professor of voice in the Glenn Korff School of Music; Anita Breckbill, professor and head of the music library; and Mary Ellen Ducey, associate professor at University Libraries, all assisted her.

“Anita Breckbill in the music library spent a lot of time with me helping figure out what archival materials I would need and what steps to take,” she said. “Mary Ellen Ducey from UNL Libraries also met with me a couple of times to teach me the process for cataloging materials. Having this experience on my resume will be hugely beneficial when I eventually apply to graduate school.”

Collins and Gauger’s poster was titled “2018 MACAA Conference.” They helped design the materials for the upcoming Mid-America College Art Association Conference being held this October in Lincoln and hosted by the School of Art, Art History & Design.

“We signed up for UCARE with Colleen Syron thinking that we would be redesigning the UNL graphic design webpage,” Collins said. “However, the opportunity to design this conference came up, and we quickly accepted, deciding this would be a more immersive and interesting project. We were simply given the name of the conference—MACAA: Techne Expanding—and told to go from there to create the look and feel and brand.”

Their work included creating a logo for the conference, as well as a brand around the logo, which meant designing every piece of the event from banners to social media, speakers’ introduction slides to sales sheets, and more.

“I’m not sure if I can summarize what I’ve learned, it has been so much,” Gauger said. “I learned how to collaborate closely with another designer, as well as how to receive and implement feedback from creative professionals and clients. I think the most valuable thing that I learned was how to create a project from start to finish. Typically in an agency, you start with the research team to figure out what you need. Then you go to the accounts to get a budget. Then you speak to your creative director about a vision. And finally, you are given the project to design with as much information as possible. For this project, we were responsible for filling all of those roles.”

Collins said she and Gauger learned to work together as a team.

“Emily and I had to work together to combine our ideas and design aesthetics to create finished and cohesive pieces,” she said. “It was challenging at times, but very helpful to have another designer to compare ideas and split up work with. We also learned how to professionally present our work to the conference board and our professors, as well as effectively receive and implement the feedback we got. I think that these experiences will translate well to a work environment where we will be working on marketing teams or in ad agencies with several other designers and art directors.”

Gauger and Collins are both graduating this May and moving to Omaha to work at agencies.

“Our work will all come alive in October,” Gauger said. “The conference will be held at the university, and all of our work will be printed, seen by others and in the hands of conference goers.”