Alumni 'masters' return to meet with students Nov. 7-9

Nine outstanding alumni return to UNL Nov. 7-9 to share their experiences and knowledge with students as part of Alumni Masters Week.

This year marks the 48th annual Alumni Masters Week, a program sponsored by the Nebraska Alumni Association, Scarlet Guard (the alumni association's student group), Innocents Society, Mortar Board and the Chancellor's Office. All students are encouraged to take part in lectures, presentations and events with the alumni masters, who will speak about ways to apply formal education to working situations and career goals.

Since 1964, nearly 270 alumni have participated in Alumni Masters Week. The selection of the alumni masters is competitive. Candidates are alumni who have shown great promise, success and leadership in their fields. The 2012 Alumni Masters are:

• Merle S. Bachman is the retired president of HDR Architecture Inc., an international design firm. Bachman joined the firm in 1974 as a project manager, rising through the ranks to become president in 2003. He is chair of the American Institute of Architects Large Firm Roundtable Dean's Forum and a member of AIA, the National Council of Architectural Registration Board and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Bachman is a 1971 graduate of the College of Architecture, which will host him.

• Kenneth M. Green is managing general partner of Agra Holdings LP in Firestone, Colo., and a partner in Finney County Feeders and Pruvit Cattle Co. A driving force behind the expansion of the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research Feedlot, he won the 2006 UNL Outstanding Service to Panhandle Agriculture Award. He and his wife, Trish, have raised and shown American quarter horses for the past 15 years, earning seven world championships. Green, a 1971 political science graduate, will be hosted by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Engler Program.

• Mark Hasebroock is the founder and owner of Dundee Venture Capital, a company that focuses on investing in growth companies with an e-commerce and Web services focus. He and his associates believe in mentoring and providing support to budding entrepreneurs. Hasebroock began his career as a commercial banker and also founded several start-up companies including and Hasebroock is a 1982 graduate of the College of Business Administration, which will host him.

• Harrison Hickman, founder and CEO of Hickman Analytics Inc. in Chevy Chase, Md., provides research and consulting to political candidates and officeholders, public interest groups and businesses, and other clients. He was a partner in Global Strategy Group for 17 years and a partner in Hickman-Brown Research Inc. for 13 years. Hickman also served as the principal election night consultant at the CBS election night anchor desk for two decades. He is a 1979 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, which will host him.

• Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, also is associate laboratory director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and director of the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center. He also serves as CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, Calif. Keasling has received numerous awards, including Discover Magazine's Scientist of the Year in 2006. He is a 1986 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, which will host him.

• Andy Massey has been chief legal counsel for Valmont Industries in Omaha since 2006. Previously, he was vice president for government affairs, corporate secretary and general counsel for EF Johnson, a Lincoln telecommunications firm he joined as a corporate attorney in 1998. As a UNL undergraduate, Massey was student body president and served on the NU Board of Regents. He received his bachelor's degree in environmental studies in 1993 and civil and juris doctorate degrees in 1996 and 1997 from the College of Law, which will host him.

• Vernon Miller, part of the Thunder Clan from the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, is the business teacher at Umonhon (Omaha) Nation Public Schools on the Omaha Tribal Reservation in Macy. Miller was named Teacher of the Year by the National Indian Education Association in 2010, was appointed chairman of the Omaha Tribal Election Commission in 2011, and was named this year to Indian Country's top 40 under 40. He is a 2006 graduate of the College of Education and Human Sciences, which will host him.

• Karen Stelling is a vice president with Burns & McDonnell, a consulting engineering and architecture firm. She joined the firm 24 years ago as a design engineer, working her way up in a male-dominated field. Today she encourages young people to pursue engineering by co-chairing the Kansas City Metropolitan Area Industry Council for Project Lead the Way, an engineering curriculum for middle and high school students. She is a 1987 graduate of the College of Engineering, which will host her.

• Michelle Walenz, senior vice president/marketing, creative and branding for ABC Family since August, oversees all marketing, creative and branding for the network. She was previously senior vice president and creative director for ABC Family, where she and her team created the launch campaigns for "Pretty Little Liars," "Switched at Birth" and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Walenz was named a "Woman to Watch," in 2011 by Multichannel News. She is a 1987 graduate of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, which will host her.

— Shannon Sherman, Nebraska Alumni Association