Hixson-Lied Graduate Fellows

Hixson-Lied Graduate Fellows

These prestigious awards are given to a select number of new graduate students in each academic unit in the College. Funding for up to 32 fellowships over the next eight years has been allocated by the Hixson-Lied Advisory Board. Applications undergo rigorous evaluation by members of the graduate faculty, who look for evidence of outstanding past achievement and the potential for excellence in scholarship and creative activity at the highest level.

  • Awards range from $3,500 to $4,500 in addition to the graduate assistant stipends already provided by the University, creating nationally competitive stipends in the range of approximately $12,000 to $14,000.
  • Individual academic units set additional threshold admissions criteria beyond those that are normally required for graduate assistantships.
  • Awards continue for a maximum of three successive years, renewable annually based on performance and fulfillment of assigned duties. Directors recommend renewal based on rigorous assessment of the student's performance by the faculty.
  • Students must be pursuing one of the graduate degrees offered by the College.

For information about other fellowships (Departmental and University-wide), contact the respective department within the college and the Office of Graduate Studies.

2017-2020

School of Art, Art History & Design

Amanda Durig

Amanda Durig

Amanda Durig received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in graphic design and printmaking from Youngstown State University in 2015. During her undergraduate studies, Durig showed work in local galleries, student art exhibitions, Southern Graphics Conference, Mid America Print Conference and through international print exchanges. She has won local printmaking awards as well as having her work a part of permanent collections across the country.

Amanda typically works with wood in varying ways. Pushing the boundaries of the wood block as a matrix has become an important part of her work. In the past year or two, she has become interdisciplinary with printmaking, painting and ceramics. The imagery she creates focuses on her fascination with the turkey tail fungi (trametes versicolor) that depend on the decay of trees to thrive and display their colorful caps.

Loc Huynh

Loc Huynh

Loc Huynh was born in 1992 in Austin, Texas. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Texas State University and is a candidate in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Huynh has been exhibited in various group shows and benefits across Texas. He currently lives and works in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Bryce Bassett

Bryce Bassett

Bryce Bassett is pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in lighting design. Bassett is a 2017 graduate of Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas, with a B.A. in theatre with an emphasis in design. Bassett has worked professionally as an electrician for Music Theatre Wichita, multiple touring productions and has done design work for multiple shows. He has been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his work on Oklahoma! and Chess the Musical, which also won first place in the Region V Lighting Design competition.

Bassett is not only interested in design work. He recently received his Bachelors from the International University of Santa Claus. During the Christmas season, he spends his free time as a professional Santa Claus. Visiting homes, city events, and corporate events bringing Christmas cheer to everyone and making wishes come true.

Jill Hibbard

Jill Hibbard

Jill Hibbard is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in scenic design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in theatre design and technology from Plymouth State University in 2002.  After working the past 15 years as a scenic artist and props master, she is looking forward to the opportunity to further develop as a scenic designer. 

Adam Jezl-Sikorski

Adam R. Jezl-Sikorski

Adam R. Jezl-Sikorski is an M.F.A. candidate in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film for stage design with an emphasis in lighting design. Fresh from Lewis University, he recently received his Bachelor of Arts in theatre this past May (2017). While an undergraduate, his designs have been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival on multiple occasions while placing as a KCACTF Region III semi-finalist for his work in 2015. Jezl-Sikorski is an Eagle Scout and has recently been appointed to the Hixson-Lied Graduate Student Advisory Board.

Glenn Korff School of Music

Christian Chesanek

Christian Chesanek

Double Bassist Christian Chesanek is a Doctoral music student pursuing jazz studies at the Glenn Korff School of Music under the direction of Dr. Hans Sturm. He received a Commercial Music Degree at the University of Texas at El Paso in El Paso, Texas. He also earned a Masters in Music Performance at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

Chesanek is a freelance musician and composer. His works have been premiered in double bass camps and conventions around the United States. He has had the opportunity to work with Nicholas Walker, Francois Rabbath, Paul Ellison, Joel Quarrington, David Young, Peter Seymour (Project Trio), Mark Dresser, Dr. Willie Hill and Ted Botsford (Los Angeles Philharmonic).

Krista Connelly

Krista Connelly

Krista Connelly is a composer of contemporary art music with occasional forays into the jazz realm. Currently entering the Doctoral program at the Glenn Korff School of Music, she spent the past three years in Washington state completing her M.M. in composition from Central Washington University (2016), followed by teaching elementary music and continuing her music directorship at Ellensburg First United Methodist Church.

Raised in western Kansas, Connelly attended Fort Hays State University for her undergraduate degrees in music education and trumpet performance. Afterward, she taught elementary music and band in Hutchinson, Kansas, and applied trumpet at three colleges in the region. While teaching, she was the principal trumpet of the Salina Symphony and Hutchinson Symphony, both of which have premiered her works: Cycles by Salina in 2014 and "Metals" from Symphony No. 1 by Hutchinson in 2016. She has studied composition with Martin Kennedy, Jeff Jordan and Tim Rolls.

Connelly recently made her debut in the world of dance collaboration with her thesis work, Life, After: A Dance Requiem, which premiered in March of 2016 at Central Washington University and featured choreography by Professors Therese Young and Gabrielle McNeillie. Connelly was selected to present over this collaboration at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford in spring 2017. Additionally, she has been a participant in the Quatuor Bozzini Lab 2016 (Vancouver, British Columbia) and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium 2016. Her music has been played on Gathering Her Notes, an online radio based in Ellensburg, Music of Our Mothers, a station that airs in St. Augustine, Florida, and Frostburg, Maryland, and is listed on www.newchambermusic.org.

Rubén Darío Gómez

Rubén Darío Gómez

Rubén Darío Gómez received his Master in Music with emphasis in wind band conducting from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015 where he studied with Dr. Reed Thomas. He also received his Bachelor in Music from Universidad Industrial de Santander-Colombia in 2000 where he founded and conducted the Students Symphonic Band during three years.

Originally from Colombia, he has made a widespread job in his country as a conductor, composer, pedagogue, teacher and arranger. In 2016 the Ministry of Culture awarded him with the National Scholarship to Colombians studying internationally; this institution also awarded him with the National Competition Prize in Composition in 2012. In 2010 he earned the Bicentenary Scholarship “Gobernación de Santander” to compose 10 pieces for concert band. Also many of his pieces and arrangements has been played, awarded and published in Colombia and internationally. As a pianist, arranger, and composer, he also has won the most important contest in his country, both in concert band and folk music fields.

As member of the National Program of Bands in Colombia, he has been advisor in areas such as music theory, pedagogy, arrangements and conducting. In addition he has made a prolific pedagogy labor in his own music school “Mochila Cantora” and at Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga (UNAB) during the last 15 years. Gómez was the founder of UNAB Wind Band that he conducted for more than 10 years and has been guest conductor of Symphonic Band Network of Schools of Music in Medellín, Funza Symphonic Band, Manizales Municipal Band and UNAB Symphony Orchestra.

He is currently pursuing his DMA with emphasis in wind band conducting at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln under the guidance of Dr. Carolyn Barber. At Nebraska he is a graduate assistantship and he was also awarded with the Hixson-Lied Fellowship.

Kevin Madden

Kevin Madden

Kevin Madden is a tubist currently pursuing at Doctorate in Performance from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Originally from Hooksett, New Hampshire, Madden has had a wide and varied career, both stylistically and geographically, before coming to Nebraska. He began playing tuba in high school at Manchester Central High School in Manchester, New Hampshire, and was immediately a participant in the local honor bands and the state, regional and super regional level. During high school he was also a member of DCI’s Division II (now Open Class) Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps, with whom he won gold medals in 2004 and 2005. His undergraduate degree is in performance from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Madden was an active performer and recitalist as well as a guest performer in several of the region’s community and part-time orchestras.

After graduating from Ithaca, Madden relocated to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he was a musician and bandleader at the Busch Gardens Europe amusement park. He spent several seasons performing in all manner of ensembles from brass quartets, strolling trios and the 10-piece polka band in the park’s long running This is Oktoberfest show. After several years with Busch Gardens, Madden was hired by Royal Caribbean International to join the house orchestra on the Allure of the Seas, then the world’s largest cruise ship. The Allure Orchestra was primarily responsible for the ship’s production of CHICAGO: The Musical, but Madden also was a regular on 2nd Trombone for the orchestra’s big band jazz sets. After touring the Caribbean for more than four years on the Allure, Madden moved once again to Lincoln to begin Masters studies at Nebraska.

Madden received his M.M. from Nebraska in 2017 and was a GTA for the duration, and is excited to begin a new career as a Doctoral student and Hixson-Lied Fellow. While in Lincoln Madden has built a solid resume, with regular freelance work with Arts, Inc., Thompson Music, Extraspace Music, The Omaha Symphony and most recently as adjunct professor of euphonium at Union College.

Susumu Watanbe

Susumu Watanbe

Born in 1972 in Nagoya, Japan, Susumu Watanabe is a composer, arranger, conductor and trumpeter.

In January 1999, Watanabe moved to the U.S. He received a B.M. in jazz composition from Berklee College of Music and an M.A. in composition from City University of New York. He has had composition and arranging study with Michael Abene, Jeff Holmes, Greg Hopkins, Hubert Howe, Adam Kolker, Jim McNeely, Jeff Nichols, Frederick Tillis and Phil Wilson. He has had conducting study with David Callahan and George Monseur, and trumpet study with Charles Lewis Jr., Jeff Stout, Mike Price and Toshio Shimada.

Watanabe was music director of Tokyo Brass Art Orchestra (Tokyo, Japan). The TBAO's first CD album “Antiphonemics: TBAO Plays Music of Susumu Watanabe” was released by its independent label “Susmusic Records” in July 2011. He served the Bay Colony Brass (Watertown, Massachusetts) as a music director from Spring 2012. He had served as a music director for Fenway Brass Art Orchestra (Boston), and UMASS Jazz Lab Ensemble (Amherst, Massachusetts), as an assistant director for UMASS Jazz Ensemble I/Studio Orchestra, as a guest conductor for the U.S. Army Field Band “Jazz Ambassadors” (Fort George Meade, Maryland) and Vermont Jazz Center Big Band (Brattleboro, Vermont). Watanabe was a member of BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop in New York City.

Watanabe's works for jazz orchestra are performed in the U.S., Japan and South Korea. He is the first winner of “National Band Association Young Composers Jazz Composition Contest” in 2011. His winning piece “Duodecim” for jazz orchestra was performed by the United States Army Field Band “The Jazz Ambassadors” under the direction of Watanabe at the Midwest Clinic (Chicago, Illinois) in December 2011. His works are not only for jazz ensemble, but also for various chamber ensembles, wind ensemble and symphonic orchestra. Watanabe was given a commission to compose a new music for the Quincy Symphony Orchestra (Massachusetts), and the piece was premiered in April 2012. Most of his chamber music, which includes music for string quartet, were premiered by the Second Instrumental Unit in New York City.

Watanabe is a member of the Jazz Education Network and International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers.

Kao Zhou

Kao Zhou

Kao Zhou currently is a DMA student of orchestral conducting studying with Dr. Tyler White at Nebraska. He is the music director of both the Sichuan Normal University Symphony Orchestra and Chengdu Huan Hua Symphony Orchestra. He also served as a violin professor at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. He obtained his master's degree in violin performance from the School of Music, Brandon University, Canada. Before he came to Nebraska, he studied conducting with Dr. Jiang Liu, alumnus of the School of Music at Nebraska.

2016–2019

School of Art, Art History & Design

Katherine Cox

Katherine Cox is a ceramic artist currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art, Art History & Design. She received her B.F.A. in ceramics from California State University Long Beach. Her undergraduate studies include many different influences from various workshops in California, as well as attending the Ceramics Biennale in South Korea, participating in building a kiln in Italy and attending the Venice Biennale. These experiences have allowed her to be involved with many different ceramic projects and art making techniques including a wide array of fiber arts and performance sculpture.

Once she received her B.F.A., Cox continued working as a Post-Baccalaureate at Cal State Long Beach, along with assisting a CSULB faculty member on several performance sculpture installations creating a demanding and gratifying year.

Cox's current work explores wheel thrown pottery forms exclusively made of porcelain and inspired by the simplicity of mid-century modern aesthetics, particularly as it relates to shape. She engages the surface of these pots in a growing variety of ways while also exploring what it means to be a crafter and how she might contextualize what she creates in regard to a 21st Century audience.

Nicholas Sheldon

Nicholas Sheldon is a printmaker working on a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Art, Art History & Design. “Sheldon,” as he likes to be called, started off at Clark Community College, and then moved on to graduate from Portland State University with a degree in art practices with a focus in printmaking.

He has gained great experience and insight working for both McClain’s Printmaking and Gamblin Inks. He also spent seven months at the Anderson Ranch Art Center where he was an intern in the paint and print department for two different residencies. It was there that Sheldon gained the skills and experience necessary to prepare him for graduate school. While finishing up his portfolio, Sheldon worked as a substitute teacher in the Vancouver School District, working with kids K-12. 

Sheldon’s work is influenced by not only what he experiences but by the social, scientific, and historical chronicling of dreams. He is continually investigating the fringes of what is real and what has meaning within our sub-conscience.

Mallory Trecaso

Mallory Trecaso is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts degree in photography from the School of Art, Art History & Design. Trecaso received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Akron in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

While pursuing her B.F.A., she received minors in printmaking, art history and commercial photography. Mallory is a Midwest documentary-style photographer, whose past work has focused on issues of population shifts and economic decline throughout the Rust Belt.

Erik White

Erik White is pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the School of Art, Art History & Design. He received his B.S. in art practices with emphasis in printmaking and painting from Portland State University in 2013. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Erik is currently painting still lifes made from abstract forms that were gesturally made and manipulated. He is concerned with creating interesting compositions with color and form; to do so, he uses different phone apps to build up a dynamic image before and during the process of painting and it is this dichotomy between the material world and electronic that his paintings are currently investigating.   

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Somayeh Akbarisarvestani

Somayeh Akbarisarvestani received her Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre direction from Tehran University’s College of Fine Art. She has worked as a designer and playwright since 2003 and as a magazine and newspaper critic since 2004. She has worked as a director, designer and actor in theatre; an author; and an assistant director and screenplay writer in movies. She taught in the Cinema School of Shiraz and was a manager of the Cinema Tech Institute.

Daniel d'Egnuff

Daniel d’Egnuff is pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree in technical direction from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre design and technology at the University of Evansville in 2012. 

He has spent the last four years working as a carpenter at two separate regional theatres, The first being The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, and the second being the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.  His experience at both of these locations has allowed him to practice the craft of theatrical construction and has given him a desire for a higher education to further the quality of work that he can produce.

Glenn Korff School of Music

Ayaka Kondo

Pianist Ayaka Kondo is now in Lincoln to pursue her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the Glenn Korff School of Music, under the instruction of Dr. Mark Clinton.

Kondo began playing the piano at the age of four in Japan. After receiving her dual Master of Music degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy and performance from Baylor University, where she studied with Artist-in-Residence Krassimira Jordan, she continued further studies with Thomas Kreuzberger at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and attained a postgraduate diploma in piano performance and chamber music. She holds her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with the Outstanding Senior Award in 2009.

Throughout her musical career, Kondo has performed domestically and internationally. Her area of specialty is classical music, and she was invited to performed Mozart’s Fantasy in C minor, K. 475 for the Grumo Festival New York Concert in 2012. She also participated in several international piano academies/festivals, such as WienerMusik Seminar, Austria; Tyrolean International Piano Academy, Austria; Carinthia International Piano Academy, Austria; Grumo Festival, Italy; and Young Musicians’ Academy, Hungary. 

Kondo is an active soloist, chamber musician and piano pedagogue. She has collaborated with a number of instrumentalist, vocalists and choirs. In 2016, she expanded her music carrier as a theater pianist and played “Wonderful Town” by Leonard Bernstein at Baylor University, where she served as a staff accompanist in the Theater Department.  She is also passionate to inspire joy of music through teaching piano. She served as a piano instructor at Waco Piano Center and has taught students ages four years old through adult students in individual and group setting. 

2015-2018

School of Art, Art History & Design

Phoebe Jan-McMahon

Phoebe Jan-McMahon

Phoebe Jan-McMahon is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Painting from the School of Art, Art History &  Design. Originally from Madison Wisconsin, she received her Bachelor of Arts from Luther College in Decorah Iowa in 2013.

Before venturing into art, Jan-McMahon was a bike mechanic and seamstress, specialties which continue to inform her work as she explores portraiture and pattern. Her current body of work explores private space through portraits of the interior of her apartment. Jan-McMahon has enjoyed teaching Introductory and Advanced Drawing courses at the University, as well as assistant teaching Introductory and Intermediate Painting courses.

Kyle Noble

Kyle Nobles

Kyle Nobles is pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the Department of Art and Art History. Nobles received his Bachelor’s degree in both Art History and Studio Arts with a focus in printmaking from Hamline University in Spring 2015.

While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked as the Teaching Assistant for both the introductory art history courses as well as all the levels of printmaking offered. Nobles works largely with intaglio and relief processes to create psychological works that explore the emotional facets of the human experience using self-portraiture as his vehicle. His work is not only reflective of personal experiences, but is also engaged with art historical traditions and the history of the medium.

Originally from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Nobles has a background in many of the arts, particularly in theatre and dance. This commitment to artistic expression of all kinds has influenced him in innumerable ways and continues to provide inspiration and enrichment in his life and work.

John David Richardson

John David Richardson

John David Richardson, currently a first year MFA candidate in photography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was born in Northwest Alabama and grew up in western Kentucky. He holds a BFA in Applied Photography from Northern Kentucky University.

He has shown work in several galleries within the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area, including the 2014 FotoFocus Biennial, Carnegie Arts Center, Covington Arts Center, and has had multiple features as a finalist in Popular Photography Magazine’s online gallery. Working in the style of an open narrative, his photographs illustrate moments of self-realization, solitude, and clarity within everyday occurrences.

Emily Wiethorn

Emily Wiethorn

Emily Wiethorn (b.1991) is a third year MFA candidate in Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is an Instructor of Record and holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. She received her BFA in Photography from Northern Kentucky University. She is the recipient of the Edgren Tuition Fellowship, the Peterson Fellowship, was awarded the 2017 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging, and was a finalist in for Critical Mass for 2017. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She works primarily in self-portraiture where she explores notions of feminine identity, gender, and self-discovery.

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Lisa Haldeman

Lisa Haldeman

Lisa Haldeman graduated with a BFA in Theatre Arts from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, in 2014. She is now obtaining her masters degree in Theatre Tech at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.

Lisa has always had a love for design, and has taken joy in creating theatre across the Midwest. Once graduated she hopes to continue her travels, meeting new theatre artists and the communities that surround them.

Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson

Jessica Thompson is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in scenic design from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from Arizona State University in 2011. She began studying technical theatre design after completing her undergraduate studies; happily discovering scenic design combines many of her interests into one area of study.

Haley Williams

Haley Williams

Haley Williams is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Costume Design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She received her Bachelors of Education and Human Science degree from UNL where she studied Textiles and Fashion Design, but she has always wanted to go into costume design where she can create a character through clothing, reflecting their personalities and innermost feelings to the audience.

In Fall 2014, she was given the opportunity to design the costumes for the Haymarket Theatre's productions of Into the Woods and wanted to do more since then. She interned for Dennita Sewell at the Phoenix Art Museum in the Fashion Design Department and traveled to New York City for a study tour in Summer 2014.

She received the Outstanding Senior Award from the College of Education and Human Science last spring.

Glenn Korff School of Music

Patricia Kramer

Patricia Kramer

Mezzo-soprano Patty Kramer is here to begin her Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance here at UNL this fall. She graduated with her Masters from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. This South Dakota native is thrilled to be back at UNL -- her first visit was as a young trombonist in the Winter Festival for Winds and Percussion.

She has dedicated her life to performing, teaching, and promoting the enhancement of musical awareness and research. She has performed with the Toledo Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theater, Bowling Green Children’s Opera, Sounds of South Dakota, Inc. and Opera Omaha as well as competing in various competitions, most recently performing as a soloist with Lima Symphony Orchestra after winning the Lima Symphony Concerto Competition. She also has taught privately in many Nebraska high schools and a returning teacher in the Allegro Wolf Voice Academy in Sutton, NE.

Her dream here at UNL is to learn as much as she can from the voice and opera departments, particularly her voice teacher and mentor Prof. Butler, her responsibilities as a graduate teaching assistant and grow through her new research endeavors here at the University.

Stephanie Yu

Stephanie Yu

Stephanie Yu began her study of music at age five. She was later selected to study as a part of the music talent class in Taiwan. Yu then continued her study at the Taipei Municipal University of Education in Taiwan, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in piano. She received her master's degree in piano performance at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, under the instruction of Dr. Robert Weirich and Professor Karen Kushner.

As a solo pianist, Ms. Yu has given recitals both in the United States, and Taiwan. She has also been selected to perform in master classes with prestigious professors and artists, including the composer, Lowell Liebermann. Along with solo performances, Ms. Yu has been an extensive collaborator, both as an accompanist and chamber musician. Currently, Ms. Yu is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, under the instruction of Dr. Mark Clinton.