News You Can Use 2-28-12


By Natalie C. McGovern, News Editor

Forensics Team Places Second in Nebraska, Prepares for National Tournament

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Forensics Team is once again on its way to national prominence after a successful weekend at the Nebraska Intercollegiate Forensics Association State (NIFAS) Tournament.

The UNO team took first place in the “Quality Award” category, which is presented to the team with the highest success ration per events entered. UNO also took second place in the Team Sweepstakes category with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln taking first and Hastings College taking third.

The Nebraska tournament is one of the most difficult outside of the national forensics competition. Five schools in the American Forensics Association’s (AFA) top 20 competed this weekend; UNO was one of two ranked in the top 10.

In addition to UNO’s team awards, several students earned first-place finishes, which automatically qualify them for national competition.

Freshman Tunette Powell took first pace in the Oratory category, senior Tessie Stednitz took first place in Poetry, senior Niveditha Rajagopalan took first in After-Dinner Speaking, sophomores Cole Evans and Trae Graham won Duo. UNO also qualified students for two additional events at nationals, increasing the number to 42 total. The highest number of events students from any school can qualify for collectively is 66.

In two weeks the UNO Forensics team will play host to the AFA District IV Tournament, which includes schools from Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

On Wednesday, March 14 the team will host a spaghetti feed to help raise money for its trip to nationals.

Two weeks later, on March 28, the team will present a showcase on the UNO campus before preparing for the national tournament, which runs from April 7 to April 9 at Texas State University-San Marcos.

The public is encouraged to attend both the spaghetti feed and showcase.

Last year the UNO Forensics team came in first in the NIFAS tournament on its way to a fifth place finish at the national tournament, the highest ranking in school history.

For more information about the UNO Forensics program or upcoming forensics events, please contact the team’s coach, Abbie Syrek, at (402) 554.3952 or by email at

Latvian Conductor to be Featured in UNO Bands’ ‘Colours, Textures, Transformations’ Performance Feb. 28

The Concert Bands at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) have announced a very special concert, “Colours, Textures, Transformations,” featuring the Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE) and the University Concert Band. The concert will be presented at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 in the Strauss Performing Arts Center on the UNO campus.

The performance will feature Maestro Janis Purins, conductor of the University of Latvia Wind Orchestra and professor of music at the Latvian Academy of Music, who will lead each ensemble in a selection by a Latvian composer. Of particular note is the United States premiere of an original composition, “Romance,” for Clarinet and Wind Orchestra by Jekabs Medins that Tyler Goudlock, a clarinet graduate student, will perform.

The Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. James Saker, will present a selection premiered in 2011 by the USAF Academy Band written by American Composer Julie Giroux. Saker says that “The Speed of Heat” is an amazing work that will thrill the audience.

Soloist Christine Beard, professor of flute at UNO, will be featured on the piccolo for this concert in a composition that was written by award winning Motion Picture and Television composer, Bruce Broughton; the ensemble will be led by Associate Conductor Courtney Snyder for this performance.

The remainder of the SWE program will include a composition premiered last summer by the Papillion Area Concert Band in a commission by Larry MacTaggart titled “Flight of the Monarch” and James Barnes’ exciting “West Point Fanfare.”

The University Concert, conducted by Snyder, will present works by Morton Gould, Bruce Yurko and John Zdechlik. Purins will lead this ensemble in music by Latvian composer Peteris Butans, “Songs of Latgale.” which is based on folk music from this region in the Eastern portion of the country.

Tickets for the concert are $5 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. UNO faculty, staff and students will be admitted free with a UNO MavCard. Tickets will be available at the door.

For additional information contact the University Bands Office at (402) 554.3352.

UNO, OPS Partner to Host 2nd Annual CultureFest March 4

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Service Learning Academy, in partnership with Omaha Public Schools (OPS) will host CultureFest 2012 from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, at the UNO Thompson Alumni Center, 6705 Dodge St., on the UNO campus. This event is free and open to the public.

CultureFest is the result of a P-16 service learning project combining students from UNO, Crestridge Magnet Elementary, Beveridge Magnet Middle School and Omaha South High Magnet School.

Students from each school will come together to share culture and explore the world through performances, exhibits, hands-on activities, ethnic food, drumming, dancing and sampling international candies. The activities will immerse participants in other cultures and broaden our understanding of the world in which we live. For the Greater Omaha area this is a chance to discover and celebrate some of the various cultures and ethnicities represented in our community.

The Service Learning Academy P-16 Initiative facilitates partnerships between UNO and K-12 schools with the purpose of connecting curriculum to community needs through the development of academic service learning experiences. The Service Learning Academy at UNO works in partnership with Building Bright Futures in an effort to improve academic performance, raise graduation rates, increase civic and community responsibility and ensure all students are prepared for post-secondary education.

For more information contact Lucy Garza Westbrook, UNO Service Learning Academy at (402) 554.3055 or; Becky Noble, South High Magnet School at (402) 557.3677 or; Sheila McCauley, Beveridge Magnet Middle School at (402) 557.4021 or; or Kristen LaMontia, Crestridge Magnet Elementary School at (402) 697.1185 or; Luanne Nelson, Omaha Public Schools (402) 557.2070 or

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

Emergency Management Concentration Coming to UNO

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Engineering (COE) announced today that the associate’s degree in Fire Protection will transition into a bachelor’s degree beginning in the Fall 2012 semester. The program will be offered as an Area of Concentration in the Bachelor of General Studies (BGS). The UNL Fire Protection Technology (FPT) Associate Degree program, offered through COE since 1968, has not accepted new students since the start of Fall 2011.

In addition, another area of concentration in the BGS has been created in Emergency Management, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management is currently in the approval process at UNO.

“The field of Emergency Management is rapidly evolving, and needs more people with academic training in the profession,” said John Bartle, CPACS acting dean. “Salaries are good, and locating this program in the nationally-ranked School of Public Administration provides a solid foundation for future development.”

Denver Schmadeke, administrator of the UNL Fire Protection Program the past 20 years, added that students and the public will benefit. “The post-9/11 world we live in makes it a great advantage to educate students of criminal justice, aviation, public administration and fire protection within one college,” he said. “The creation of the new Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Management within UNO CPACS will greatly enhance fire protection education at the University of Nebraska.”

Interested students can contact the Division of Continuing Studies at (402) 554-2370, or at