CHADRON – Chadron State College students and employees gathered for the ninth annual Rising Sophomore awards ceremony Wednesday. Dr. Jim Powell, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Chadron State College, was the keynote speaker. He came to CSC in 2015 as the Dean for Assessment, Accreditation, Curriculum, and Education, Human Performance, Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work. Powell, who became the Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2020, is retiring at the end of June.

The following awards were established by the Retention Committee to recognize students who went above and beyond in a variety of categories during their freshman year. Students were either nominated by peers, faculty, or staff.

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The Young Eagle: Kylie Seefus of Alexandria, Neb.

This award is given to the rising sophomore who has made significant accomplishments as an identified leader on campus during the current academic year. For this award, leadership is measured by affecting positive change on campus. Specifically, nominees will be given high consideration for having a positive impact on the Chadron State College community.

James H. Powell Jr. Academic Achievement: Emily Marin of Chappell, Neb.

The James H. Powell Jr. Academic Achievement Award recognizes a rising sophomore who participated in the Transitional Studies Program and has demonstrated excellence within the Transitional Studies courses, programming, and resources to achieve his or her academic goals. This award comes with a $500 scholarship.

Student Peer-Leader of the Year: Reece Ohrtman of Long Valley, S.D.

This award recognizes a rising sophomore who has been an effective peer leader. Peer-leaders play a variety of roles including mentor, teacher, friend, and cheerleader. The recipient of this award uses friendship, experience, expertise, and perspective to promote the individual development of her or his fellow first-year students. In addition, they were nominated by their fellow students.

Resident Hall Citizen of the Year: Austin Glanz of Sidney, Neb.

This award seeks to recognize one rising sophomore (current freshman) from the resident halls for outstanding service to her or his floor. The award recipient will have demonstrated engaged citizenship, including leadership, self-governance, and peer accountability. Therefore, this individual is respectful of all members of the community and/or has positively contributed to the Resident Hall organizations. Most importantly, this individual should be a leader and role model for his or her peers and consistently served her or his community to enact positive changes within it.

Working Eagle: Jaydlyn Youel of Chadron

Award Description: The Working Eagle Award recognizes a rising sophomore who has effectively balanced academics with his or her on- or off-campus job.

Unsung Hero: Jayna Moses of Amelia, Neb., and Piper Ryschon of Scottsbluff, Neb.

This award recognizes a rising sophomore who works behind the scenes consistently going above and beyond the call of duty.

Community Engagement: Cole O’Neal of Riverton, Wyo.

This award recognizes the efforts of a rising sophomore who is living out a vision of connections between campus and community through service and giving.

Student Leader of the Year: Reece Vinzant of Bertrand, Neb.

This award recognizes a rising sophomore who has a zest for life and learning, a strong commitment to CSC and the community and a demonstrated belief in the goodness of all people.

Diversity in Thought and Experience: Kolby Mason of Oconto, Neb.

This award recognizes a rising sophomore who is a strong and active advocate for diverse communities and challenges and supports students to engage beyond that which is comfortable.  Students were nominated by faculty, staff, and their freshman peers.

Academic Grit: Ty Young of Loveland, Colo.

The Academic Grit Award recognizes a rising sophomore who has made significant steps in his or her academic development. This award recipient will demonstrate noticeable growth in the areas of academic achievement and will have utilized campus resources to have done so.

First Generation Eagle: Elizabeth Schlabach of Rapid City, S.D.

The First-Generation Eagle Award recognizes a rising sophomore who would be the first in his or her family to attain a 4-year degree when he or she graduates. This award recipient will have successfully navigated the academic, financial, and social aspects of college life.

Artist of the Year: Braddley Collins of Chadron

This award recognizes musical, theatrical, writing, or artistic creativity of a rising sophomore at CSC who has made an outstanding contribution to the musical, theater or artistic life of the college through demonstration, performance, composition, and/or group leadership.

Student Leadership: Eva McConnell of Hershey, Neb.

This award recognizes the efforts of a rising sophomore who has demonstrated excellence in serving as a voice for the student body, campus efforts, and leadership and participation across campus.

Student-Athlete of the Year: Mana Chanthasone of Liberal, Kan.

This award recognizes a CSC rising sophomore whose work and service on or off the athletic field or gym represents excellence in academics and service. The recipient of the award is a strong and active advocate for student athleticism.


Tyra O’Connor of Ekalaka, Mont., Art, Graphic Design

Saul Reyes of Scottsbluff, Neb., Art, Graphic Design


Adam Beard of Berthoud, Colo., Business Administration, Management Option

Katelyn Beshara of Rapid City, S.D., Business Administration, Finance Option

Bo Douglass of Grand Island, Neb., Business Administration, Business Information Systems

McKenna Elliot of Valentine, Neb., Business Administration, Accounting Option

Gabriel Fauske of Wall, S.D., General Business

Justin Johnson Broken Bow, Neb., Business Administration, Accounting Option, CPA Path

Marcus Mader of Broadus, Mont., Business Administration, Agribusiness Option

Alana Wheatley of Gothenburg, Neb., Business Administration, Marketing Option


Caleb Christensen of Guernsey, Wyo., Secondary Education

Cort Rummel of Gurley, Neb., Elementary Education

Mya Wicahpi Dreamer of Pine Ridge, S.D., Early Childhood Inclusive Education

Cydnie Wilson of North Platte, Neb., Special Education K-12


Emily Marin of Chappell, Neb., English Language Arts 7-12

Jenna Seelye of Reno, Nev., English Studies with Creative Writing

Health and Addiction Wellness

Trinity Bannan of Chadron, Psychological Sciences

Health and Physical Education, Sport and Recreation Management, Athletic Training

Caleb Christensen of Guernsey, Wyo., Physical Education 7-12


Grady Fox of Severy, Kan., History, Social Science Grades 7-12

Mia Petersen of Newcastle, Wyo., History, Undeclared


Wyatt Bly of Evergreen, Colo., Mathematics

Caleb Christensen of Guernsey, Wyo., Mathematics 6-12


Micah Schneider of Sidney, Neb., Music Industry

Psychological Sciences

Tonah Alexander of Hot Springs, S.D., Psychological Sciences

Sydney Alles of West Valley City, Utah, Psychological Sciences

Samantha Hill of Gillette, Wyo., Psychological Sciences

Rylee McManis of Sidney, Neb., Psychological Science with Mental Health and Addiction Wellness


Samantha Rodewald of McCook, Neb., Rangeland Management


Aubrey Barrett of Scottsbluff, Neb., Biology, Pre-Physical Therapy

Liam Blaser of Duncan, Neb., Biology, Pre-Medicine

Maribel Carrillo of Alliance, Neb., Biology, Molecular Biology

Kiauna Hargens of Parkston, S.D., Biology, Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Ivy Hise of Box Elder, S.D., Biology, Pre-Physical Therapy

Jayna Moses of Amelia, Neb., Biology, Pre-Medicine

Madysen Powell of Gering, Neb., Biology, Pre-Occupational Therapy

Piper Ryschon of Scottsbluff, Neb., Biology, Molecular Biology

Mallorie Scott of O’Neill, Neb., Biology, Pre-Occupational Therapy

Ashlyn Tapio of Parkston, S.D., Biology, Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Reece Vinzant of Bertrand, Neb., Biology, Pre-Physician Assistant

Science, Physical Science

Mana Chanthasone of Liberal, Kan., Chemistry, Pre-Pharmacy

Josiah Heger of Hermosa, S.D., Geoscience

Laura Johndreau of Chadron, Chemistry, Pre-Dental Hygiene

Kylie Seefus of Alexandria, Neb., Chemistry, Pre-Dentistry

Kamden Victory of Crawford, Neb., Environmental Geoscience

Social Work

Makayla Larsen of Plattsmouth, Neb.

Drew Whitney of Bellwood, Neb.