Student Commencement Stories: December 2018

Congratulations to our newest graduates! At the heart of every Maverick is a story that is still being written.

DEANS’ AWARDS Award recipients reflect a combination of outstanding scholastic achievement  and leadership on campus and in the community. They are selected from the  Undergraduate Major Honorees.

  • published: 2018/12/14

As a college Freshman, ‘All the world’s a stage’ initially meant nothing to Michael Burns II. Just months later, thanks to a suggestions from his English professor, he was a familiar face within Weber Fine Arts Building Black Box Theatre.

After enrolling in a screenplay writing class at UNO, his English professor encouraged him to get more involved with theatre to better understand how to tell his stories. Having never acted a day in his life, he auditioned for Dracula, was cast as the supporting role and the rest is history.

“I fell in love,” Burns said.

From that production forward, Burns’ name was featured in a theatre program every semester both on campus and at community venues like the Omaha Community Playouse and SNAP! Theatre. His first lead role came with a production called “Shakespeare’s Dog,” a comedic origin story to the bard himself. He and the other actors in the play were able to raise just over one thousand dollars for the Nebraska Humane Society, all while doing what they loved to do.

Looking back at his time on campus, Burns is very grateful for all of the relationships he built and the opportunities he has had here.

“Even from the very beginning, UNO felt like home and totally embraced me with open arms.”

With a long list of professors to credit as amazing mentors and testaments to his success, Burns offers very simple advice for students to come after him.

“You are enough. You have something special that no one else on the face of the planet has. Don’t try to change yourself to fit what someone else wants. Trust yourself.”

As for his future, keep your eyes peeled. In the coming year he plans to move to Chicago or Los Angeles and pursue a career in acting.

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Students Recognized at 2019 Honors Convocation

Dozens of UNO undergraduate and graduate students were recognized Friday, April 19, including 14 students recognized with college and campus-wide awards.

  • published: 2019/04/22

Each year, UNO recognizes excellence and student achievement at its Student Honors Convocation.

Not only are students from each department and school recognized, but a select number are also chosen for college-wide and campus-wide awards. This year, 14 different students were selected for these awards not only their academic achievements but also their contributions to the university and community.

“You are among the very best of UNO and in many regards in your hands is the future not only of the alumni of our great organization, but the future of our communities that we all serve – and many of you will choose serve those communities,” UNO Chancello Jeffrey P. Gold stated at Friday’s convocation. “Your futures are bright young ladies and young men and there is very little question that you should dream big because you will all have the opportunity to accomplish them.”

As a college Freshman, ‘All the world’s a stage’ initially meant nothing to Mike Burns. Just months later, thanks to a suggestions from a professor to get involved with UNO Theatre to help with his screenwriting class, he became familiar face on stage on and off campus.

Mike, who graduated magna cum laude with a BA in theatre in December 2018, appeared in many UNO theatre productions, including Dracula, Shakespeare’s Dog, Marat/Sade, and The Clearing. He also worked at SNAP! Productions, Omaha Community Playhouse and Benson Theatre.  

“Even from the very beginning, UNO felt like home and totally embraced me with open arms,” he says. “To receive the CFAM Outstanding Student Award is amazing. It is a very humbling experience and means that all the hours of hard work and dedication it took to the very end has paid off. 

Since graduating, the Omaha native has been recognized nationally by the Broadcast Education Association for his original radio drama “A Dark Night in Arkham” and his voiceover work for UNO MavRadio’s “Haunted Heartland;” he also participated in a tour with the Stella Adler: Art of Acting Conservatory in Los Angeles. His future plans include performing in “The Woodsman” this summer at the Bluebarn Theatre and shooting a new local film called “CHIT.” 

Mike says he has very simple advice for current and future students:

“You are enough. You have something special that no one else on the face of the planet has. Don’t try to change yourself to fit what someone else wants. Trust yourself.”

 

Actor, Director & Voice Over

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