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University Honors Program


Jake Rudy


Jake Rudy graduated in May 2011 from UNI with a dual degree in Political Science and Sociology. Through an active undergraduate career that included serving as the student body Vice President, Jake developed an interested in working in higher education. He attended graduate school at the University of Kansas in the Higher Education Administration program where he had an assistantship as an academic advisor in the School of Education Advising Center.  

Jake explains, “the Honors Program at UNI was one of those experiences that I just can’t imagine not having. From my Presidential Scholar seminars at the beginning to the thesis-writing experience at the end, the Honors Program shaped my college career, leading to many close friendships and countless memories.” After completing his Master’s degree in May 2013, Jake hopes to find a position working in higher education and, no matter where he lands, “continues cheering on the Panthers!”


Matt Bries

Matt Bries graduated in May 2009 from UNI with a major in Business Management: Human Resources with the designation of University Honors with Distinction.  Currently Matt is a Supply Management Specialist at John Deere Waterloo Works.  Matt stated, “The Honors Program provided me with an exceptional opportunity to take my learning to a deeper level while exploring topics not available to the general student body.  Beyond the classroom, honors enhanced my self-confidence through hands-on leadership activities and provided me a vital network of friends and colleagues.”

Matt recently provided a lead gift to initiate the Honors Alumni Endowed Scholarship in recognition of the program's impact, saying that the Honors Program helped to give him the leadership, confidence, and skill-set necessary to build a successful foundation for his career with John Deere.  Matt concluded by saying, “Honors not only helped me learn throughout my time at UNI, but more importantly taught me how to learn.” 

Read more about Matt's gift and how you can join the effort. 


Eva Andersen

Eva Andersen graduated in May 2011 from UNI with a major in Communication Studies: General Communication with the designation of University Honors.  Eva is currently completing an internship at The Colbert Report.  Eva says, “After my positive internship experiences at Z102.9 Radio in Cedar Rapids, Entertainment Tonight in Los Angeles, and The Colbert Report in NYC, I am excited and motivated to start a career in the entertainment industry.” Eva plans to pursue her career as a comedic writer and performer and has an internship at Saturday Night Live this fall.  She commented, “At UNI, my opportunity to strive for excellence was by participating in the Honors Program.  It took a "normal" college experience and raised it to a higher, more intellectually stimulating level.  The relationships I formed through the Honors Program have lasted from Freshman orientation to post-graduation.” 

For her honors thesis, Eva wrote, directed, and performed in a television pilot entitled “EVAluation: On Tanning” which used comedy to critically analyze discourse surrounding the cultural, social, historical, and political contexts regarding tanning beds.  The film won first place in the Student Short Film category at the 2011 Iowa Motion Picture Awards and was nominated as an official selection in the TV Pilot category at the Hoboken International Film Festival in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June.

Christian JunkerChristian Junker is a May 2014 graduate from UNI with a major in Athletic Training and a minor in Biology. During his time at UNI, Christian served as a Resident Assistant (RA) in Shull, and was later promoted to Senior Resident Assistant (SRA) in Dancer Hall. With his major, he often worked closely with UNI Athletics, which included spending his senior year assisting the Women’s Soccer Team. He put his creative talents to good use at UNI through his role in UNI Main Stage Performance: “URINETOWN: The Musical,” and through filming for UNI Athletics home games. Christian recently served as the Community Mobilization Intern for the Chennai Field Office of International Justice Mission (IJM), and is now preparing for graduate school at the University of Arcadia in pursuit of a Masters of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies.  

Christian described his time in the University Honors Program by saying that “the [program], which forces critical thought and educated opinions to be formed, allowed me the opportunity to really start to evaluate the world around me in a more analytical way. In a way that focused more on what was really happening, how I felt about it, and what I wanted to do about it – either to encourage or discourage a certain action.” This very analysis led him to his recent internship with IJM.