College of Arts and Sciences names new 'Academic Stars'

The College of Arts and Sciences is celebrating its newest "stars."

Dean David Manderscheid has announced the college's latest honorees featured in its Academic Stars campaign as Margaret Jacobs, professor of history and director of UNL's Women's and Gender Studies Program; Celeste Walmer Spier, undergraduate adviser for the psychology department; and Katie Kidwell, a senior majoring in English and history.

The campaign launched in 2008 in an effort to unite the diverse departments that make up the college, reach out to friends of the college with engaging success stories and celebrate the achievements of faculty, students and staff in a manner fitting for rock stars. More than a dozen people have been featured.

The new stars illustrate that talent and achievement run deep in the college, Manderscheid said.

"These stars prove that everyone can find unique and significant ways to make a difference and that ultimately makes the college stronger," he said.

Jacobs is a recent recipient of the Bancroft Prize for her book, titled "White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940." The award from Columbia University is regarded as among the most coveted honors in the field of history.

Spier has excelled in her role guiding nearly 800 majors and another 200 minors within the psychology department. As an undergraduate adviser, she's focused on offering students more career guidance.

"She's made great strides in preparing students for the job market and helping them understand just how marketable their liberal arts degree is," Manderscheid said.

Kidwell's academic performance has been nothing short of superior and she balances that with her commitment to public service, he said. Kidwell represents the college as a senator in student government, serves as a voice for students on the college's Student Advisory Board and works on civic education and public policy matters at the state level. For her efforts, Kidwell was awarded the Theodore C. Sorensen Public Service scholarship earlier this year.

To learn more about Jacobs, Spier and Kidwell and the Academic Stars or to nominate someone, visit

WRITER: Jean Ortiz Jones

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