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.


School of Art, Art History & Design

Carlie Jo Antes

Carlie Jo Antes earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with an emphasis in ceramics and was offered the opportunity to return to UNL in the fall of 2020 where she began pursuing her Master of Fine Art in sculpture.

Carlie uses a variety of materials—including wire, seeds, hair, wool, beads, fabric and other found materials—that are indicative of her life spent primarily in rural Nebraska. Her work addresses the wavering sense of security that textiles, fencing, walls and other physical, emotional, and metaphorical boundaries/barriers are often charged with providing. Carlie employs these concepts and materials using a systematic and ordered approach that allows her to a maintain a sense of control while confronting, what can often be, chaotic and dynamic interpersonal relationships.

Since beginning her career at UNL, Carlie has received the Francis William Vreeland Scholarship Award (2017), is a two-time recipient of Jean R. Faulkner Memorial Art Exhibition Awards (2017, 2020), and was granted the 2020 Dan & Barbara Howard Creative Achievement Award. In 2019, Carlie was selected to attend the 2020 ASPN Residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana—but was deterred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Carlie is also the 2021-2022 studio art representative for the Graduate Student Assembly.

Casey Beck

Casey Beck is currently a first-year Master of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is studying ceramics. His current research focuses on the process of soda firing, which utilizes soda ash or sodium carbonate, and its volatilization inside the nearly 2300°F gas-fired kiln to glaze his wares. The wares he makes are utilitarian in nature and encourage a dialogue between user, process, material and self.

After completion of his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2019, Beck spent two years living and working in Saint Paul, Minnesota. During this time, he continued to make pottery and research soda firing, work in the Sales Gallery at Northern Clay Center (NCC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and taught classes. Beck has been a resident artist at the Cub Creek Foundation in rural Virginia and was awarded the 2020 Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant through NCC.

Outside of the studio, Beck enjoys discovering new and sometimes old music, camping, thinking about the studio, and using pottery made by his friends, peers, and other folks he has only known through the wonderful world of the internet.

Andy Bissonnette

Andy Bissonnette is a potter and teacher currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His background in graphic design is evident in his work, which can be seen through his use of grids, pattern, hierarchy and repetition.

Andy first began making pots as a senior in high school and continued experimenting with clay while pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. He spent nearly a decade in the advertising industry as a production designer before deciding to pursue his passion for clay and applying to graduate school.

Jewelya Coffey

Jewelya Coffey was raised in Aurora, Missouri, and later in South Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, in 2015, and worked as an illustrator and product designer for several years. Throughout this time, she continued pursuing her own artistic goals, which eventually led her to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing.

Jewelya’s work is informed by memory, religion, trauma, childhood and life in the rural South, among many others. Her paintings have a symbolic, often dream-like quality to them, melding these disparate influences into a single, unique aesthetic.

She is a firm believer in the ability of the arts and education to empower, heal and promote empathy; upon completion of her degree, she will begin a new career as an art professor.

Matthew Meyer

Matthew Meyer is a contemporary creator from Illinois who investigates ideas of the human experience, specifically that of Black people and the minority of America. By drawing from social issues and blissful moments of life, he creates with the intent to inform, educate and inspire. He engages viewers of all kinds by having his practice be of works that seem sort of ambiguous.

His work has been shown across the United States and in other countries, where he has earned multiple awards in both 2D and 3D areas. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and is currently on track to obtain his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Glenn Korff School of Music

Helena Aung

Helena Aung is a pianist from Thailand who is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in piano performance under the guidance of Dr. Mark Clinton at the Glenn Korff School of Music. She graduated with her Master of Music degree in piano performance and pedagogy under the guidance of Dr. Jeongwon Ham and received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Arkansas under the tutelage of Professor Jura Margulis. During Helena’s Masters program at the University of Oklahoma, she had the opportunity to work with Dr. Jane Magrath and Dr. Barbara Fast, as well as being involved in the MTNA Collegiate Chapter where she served as a Treasurer.

She has participated in numerous piano competitions and festivals such as the 4th ASEAN International Chopin Piano Competition 2010 in Malaysia, 1st International Chopin Competition 2010 in Singapore, Bangkok Chopin Piano Competition (awarded Third Prize), OMTA Piano Competition, The International Festival in Freiburg, Germany, took part in the Yong Siew Toh Piano Workshop and received the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Hixson-Lied Travel grant to participate in the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine in 2021.

Helena, as a student, has been an F.I.E.S Scholar, Yamaha Young Artist Scholar, Princess Galyani Vadhana Classical Music Foundation Scholar, Stella Boyle Smith Scholar, Cronan Catholic Scholar and a Cleo Cross International Scholar.

She has performed in master classes as well as had private lessons with great artists including Thomas Hecht, Albert Tiu, Dmitri Ratser, Yoonie Han, Ratko Delorko, Gustavo Romero, Roberto Plano, Pierre Réach, Michael Lewin, Antonina Dragan, Liza Stepanova, Scott McBride Smith, Steven Spooner, and Behzod Abduraimov.

Elisa Ramon

Elisa Ramon is a native Italian soprano, voice teacher and diction coach. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in vocal pedagogy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she also serves as a graduate teaching assistant. She holds a Diploma in voice and a M.Mus. in Music Education from the Cesare Pollini Conservatory of Padua (Italy), together with a B.A. in Musicology from the University of Padua (Italy). In addition, she is certified in Levels I, II, III of Somatic Voicework™ for CCM, and she is a licensed teacher of Italian. Prior to moving to Nebraska, she taught applied voice and diction classes at University of North Texas and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

As a scholar, Ramon researches Italian diction and its application to achieve ease and clarity while singing Bel Canto. Likewise, she actively performs and researches Ibero-Latin music, promoting the application of Spanish in developing vocal technique. She is also the creator of The Italian IPA Project, a free online video repository of audio sync IPA transcriptions.

Ramon has been primarily active as soloist and recitalist, with performances in such venues as St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, St. Francis' Basilica in Assisi, St. Anthony's Basilica in Padua, and the Basilica of Frari in Venice. Concurrently, she appeared in productions in Northern Italy, singing the roles of Mademoiselle Silberklang in Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor (Vicenza, Teatro Olimpico), Serpina in La Serva Padrona (Padua, Rimini, Verona), Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne (Padua, Piove di Sacco, Treviso, Venice), and Suora Zelatrice in Suor Angelica (Padua).

An advocate of the 20th-Century Italian Art Song, she also performed works by lesser-known composers, including Omizzolo, Lincetto, Bossi, and she premiered the CD recording of the art songs by the Apulian composer Michele Bellucci, with pianist Davide Osellame (Michele Bellucci, Romanze per sopranoWorld Premier Recording, 2009). In the last decade, Ramon has been primarily engaged in chamber music, with a strong emphasis on Italian and Spanish art songs from the nineteenth and twentieth century. Together with the Italian classical guitarist and musicologist Alessio Olivieri, she established the Operaperta Duo, performing extensively throughout Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States and premiering works by such composers as Mark Delpriora. The duo published a CD (Operaperta Duo: Spanish Popular Songs, Venetian Boat Songs, Neapolitan Songs, 2012), a survey of songs from Italy and Spain, including the world premiere recording of some Venetian Boat Songs from the eighteenth century.

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and FIlm

Francisco Hermosillo, III

Francisco Hermosillo, III, is a lighting designer from Los Angeles, California, who is currently a second-year Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, studying under Michelle Harvey. Prior to his studies in Lincoln, he received a Bachelor of Arts in music composition from California Lutheran University and also studied under Michael Schelle.

Hermosillo has enjoyed an active freelance career as an electrician in regional theatre and universities across the country, such as Rubicon Theatre Company, Barrington Stage Company and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Abbey Lynn Smith

Abbey Lynn Smith is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in lighting design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2018 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre design.

At Kansas, she designed the lighting for two black box productions for the University Theatre and a couple of smaller projects. In 2017, she worked for Interlochen Center for the Arts as a lighting technician where she received more design opportunities. Before returning to school for her graduate degree, she spent two years in New Jersey working as a lighting technician. She is very excited to explore her craft and learn all that she can during her time at UNL.


School of Art, Art History & Design

Sanda Mašić

Sanda Mašić earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Faculty of Music Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, under professor Miomir Simonović and a Chamber Music Certificate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she worked as a graduate teaching assistant under Dr. Jennifer Clippert.

She performed throughout Europe and the U.S. and appeared as a soloist with the UWM Symphony Orchestra and String Orchestra Orfej. As an orchestral musician, Mašić participated in many orchestral tours including a tour of Romania (Piatra Neamt), Italy (Trieste, Milan) and California (Los Angeles), US. Mašić was awarded by The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Republic of Serbia with the Dositeja diploma for special achievements on domestic and international competitions, she was a Laureate at the International Flute Festival in Valjevo 2016, a full scholarship award recipient for The Forum Flute Piano in Luxembourg 2018, the winner of UWM Concerto and Aria Competition 2019 and she participated in many masterclasses, workshops and concerts in Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg and the U.S.

Mašić is currently enrolled as a DMA student and graduate teaching assistant and fellow studying with Dr. John Bailey in the Glenn Korff School of Music.

Andrew Mell

Andrew Mell is a bassist, composer and music educator based in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is currently working towards his doctorate in Jazz Performance.

Before recently moving to Lincoln, Mell spent the last seven years in Oregon, where he became a regular in the jazz and pop music scenes around the state. He performed at an array of different venues such as Jimmy Mac’s and the 1905 in Portland and the Jazz Station in Eugene, with several different local and touring groups.

Mell has also been an active private and classroom teacher in the Eugene and Salem communities. At the University of Oregon, he had many teaching roles such as leading a weekly jam session for jazz studies students, and leading composing clinics at the Oregon Jazz Festival. More recently, he served as the Bass and Combo instructor at Willamette University.

Aside from extensive work in the jazz and pop world, Mell has also been an active musician in the classical music scene in Eugene. While in school, he was the Principal Bassist of the University of Oregon Symphony, and has performed with other professional groups such as Orchestra Next.

David Pira

David Pira is a cellist from Bogotá, Colombia, currently pursuing a DMA in cello performance under the tutelage of Dr. Karen Becker in the Glenn Korff School of Music. He recently received his Master of Arts degree in cello from Ball State University where he studied with Dr. Peter B. Opie, and in 2017 he also received his Master of Music degree in Missouri State University, where he took lessons with Dr. Michael Murray.

Pira attended the National University of Colombia’s Conservatory of Music, where he received his undergraduate degree in cello performance. At the same time, he attended the MARGUZ Academy of Chamber Music and Cello Performance where he expanded the art of Chamber Music and the mastery of an effortless and natural cello technique with the guidance of Gabriel Guzmán and Adriana Marin, the latter former student of Christopher Bunting. As a teacher, Pira expanded his studio in Springfield, Missouri, coaching students from diverse ages and backgrounds, and in the STARS Foundation in Cabool, Missouri, where he contributed to the expansion of self-efficacy teachings and the enhancement of cello performance through Orchestral, Solo and Cello Chamber ensembles. 

As a performer, Pira participated in several orchestras such as the Colombian National Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Kokomo Symphony and the Muncie Symphony, performing in several international venues such as Barcelona, Lima, Pereira, and several areas from the United States. Additionally, he had the opportunity to participate in several masterclasses with Edgar Moreau, Ismar Gomez, Thomas Loewenheim, Laura Ospina, Crispin Campbell, Santiago Cañón, Álvaro Bitrán, Nicholas Finch, Phillip Borter, Aldo Mata, Michael Hell and Peter Schmid.

As an award recipient, Pira was a winner of the William T. White Scholarship in Missouri State, the Ball State Cello Graduate Assistantship, and recently he is the recipient of the GTA Assistantship and the Hixson-Lied Fellowship, where he will develop his duties for the Theory Area, Chamber Ensembles and Cello coachings. As a contribution to the Glenn Korff School of Music, Pira—with the assistance of Dr. Becker—designed a Cello Technique Handbook for the Cello studio with the purpose of support the mastering of technical skills through mindful performance.

Ian Rutherford

Ian Rutherford is currently attending the Glenn Korff School of Music as a DMA graduate teaching assistant in trombone. He completed his BME at Augustana University where he studied with Vance Shoemaker.

During his undergraduate studies, he was a featured soloist multiple times with the Northlanders Jazz Band and a winner of the Concerto/Aria Competition. Following his undergraduate studies, he was the Band Director at West Sioux Public Schools in Hawarden, Iowa, for two years. Rutherford completed his Masters degree in trombone performance at Nebraska in 2020.

Rutherford is an active freelance trombone player and clinician in the Midwest. He has performed with the Des Moines Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra and the University of Nebraska Faculty Brass Quintet. He has also performed with John Faddis, Chris Vadala, Second City, Mason Bates, Sasha Cooke, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Daugherty, Aaron Diehl, Mark O’Connor, Vince DiMartino and Keith Brion, among others. He has also performed in masterclasses for Mark Lawrence, Doug Yeo, Joseph Alessi and Marshall Gilkes.

Brandy Trucke

Brandy Trucke is an oboist who is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in oboe performance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln under the instruction of Dr. William McMullen. She recently completed her Master of Music, also at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she has served, and is continuing to serve, as a graduate assistant in the music theory department, as well as teaching the oboe portion of the undergraduate music education program. Prior to her studies in Lincoln, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in oboe, piano, and voice from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.

Trucke has enjoyed an active freelance career during her time as a university student performing with various groups throughout the Midwest; most recently with the Nebraska Chamber Players and the Great Plains Wind Quintet. She also held the position of principal oboe with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO) for their 2017-2018 concert season. 

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Paige Moeller

Paige Moeller is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technical Production in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She is from Wisner, Nebraska. She received an A.A. from Northeast Community College and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).

Stephanie Schlosser

Stephanie Schlosser is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design with an emphasis in Technical Production. She spent most of her life bouncing between Oregon, Guam and South Carolina before eventually settling in Greenville, South Carolina.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in theatre arts, both from Bob Jones University. Her background in criminal justice and security translates into an emphasis on safety in theater. She hopes one day to teach technical direction and possess a Certified Emergency Manager certification from the International Association of Emergency Managers. She is currently a member of the Event Safety Alliance. 

Taylor Walters-Riggsbee

Taylor Walters-Riggsbee is pursuing her MFA of Fine Arts in scenic design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in theatre design and technology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Spring of 2020.

While an undergraduate, Walters-Riggsbee designed and realized the sets of six shows, two of which were on the main stage at UNCW. She is excited to see where her journey as a Graduate Teaching Assistant will take her as she develops her skills.


School of Art, Art History & Design

Hannah Demma

Hannah Demma

Hannah Demma is an avid outdoorswoman, outdoor educator and lifelong Nebraskan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017, with an emphasis on printmaking and drawing and is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Art at her alma mater. Her mixed-media approach to art speaks to aspects of science and nature both familiar and strange, and mines the environment for inspiration, examining the intersection of the imaginative and the biological, of the creative and the empirical. Her process stirs the imagination and sparks excitement for exploration and adventure.

Since graduation, Hannah received the Kimmel Foundation Emerging Artist Award, and a Mayor’s Art Award in 2018. She completed an artist residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, and served as a visiting artist at Maxey Elementary School. Hannah’s passion for art education has taken her to Lincoln, Montana, where she spent a month leading the education programing for an outdoor sculpture park, Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture in the Wild. Hannah has served as coordinator for the Cedar Point Biological Station art program and Art Adventure camp, as well as worked as lead art instructor for the Arts are Basic summer camp at Culler Middle School.

In addition to teaching, Hannah has maintained a busy studio practice and exhibition schedule and looks forward to expanding her studio practice to include new mediums and collaborations within the college and the community at large.

Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Nathan Alexander

Portrait of Nathan Alexander

Nathan alexander is a first-year graduate student in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film with an emphasis in theatrical props and technical direction. He has been the props master for multiple shows in his undergrad career and he is thrilled to be the props master for “The Glass Menagerie” for the Nebraska Repertory Theatre this semester.

Emma Hoffbauer

Emma Hoffbauer

Emma Hoffbauer is pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in scenic design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in design and technology for the theatre from the University of North Georgia as part of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance in December of 2017. Hoffbauer worked as a scenic artist at several professional theatres around the Atlanta area, and took her scenic design work to SETC for which she received an Honorable Mention in the design competition. Hoffbauer is very excited to use her opportunity as a graduate teaching assistant and Hixson-Lied Graduate Fellow to further her skills as a scenic designer and a theatre artist.

Hali Liles

Portrait of Hali Liles

Hali Liles is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in costume design at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. She received her B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri.

Liles began designing for Culver-Stockton’s theatre department in the third year of her undergraduate career. During that time, she received recognition for her designs at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, one of which was a design of The Addams Family Musical that was featured in the festival’s costume parade in 2018.

After graduation, she traveled back to southern Missouri to design for her community theatre, the Star Dramatic Company, that incited her passion for theatre so many years ago. Liles is excited to be furthering her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is very thankful for the opportunity to do so through her fellowship with Hixson-Lied.