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UNI students and alumna recognized at Nonprofit Leadership Alliance conference

February 5, 2014

Julianne Gassman, associate professor, health, physical education and leisure services, 319-273-2204,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa was recently awarded several national awards by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The awards presentation took place Jan. 5 through 8 at the Magnificent Mile Marriott in Chicago as part of the annual Alliance Management Institute, an educational conference geared toward students planning a career in the nonprofit sector.

Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services was recognized as the Mutual of America Nonprofit Partner of the Year. This award is presented to an organization that demonstrates leadership and commitment to the preparation of the nonprofit workforce through their partnership and support of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Camp Adventure provides opportunities for college and university students to serve children and youth worldwide, integrate theory with practice and develop new knowledge, skills and competencies. Camp Adventure has supported the Alliance for many years by providing internship opportunities for its students. The Camp Adventure program, now in its 30th year of operation, has involved more than 18,000 college and university students in leadership positions working with children and youth and has been successfully operated at 150 sites in more than 30 countries and U.S. territories.

Students from the University of Northern Iowa were recognized during the conference for their poster session presentations. The poster session program at the Alliance Management Institute is designed to allow students to showcase either a best practice from their campus student association or research conducted in one or more of the Alliance competency areas. Students presented their poster in front of a panel of judges.

Students from UNI who received first place awards for undergraduate research include: Liz Meysenburg, senior leisure, youth and human services major from Urbandale; Emily Kriegel, senior communication major from Grinnell; and Shelby Vraspier, junior leisure, youth and human services major from Iowa City.

Students from UNI who received second place awards for best practices include: Hanna Sloan, junior leisure, youth and human services major from Center Point; Beth Purk, senior movement and exercise science major from Belle Plaine; Casey Connolly, junior leisure, youth and human services major from Red Oak; and Katie Baum, junior leisure, youth and human services major from Clive. 

Students from UNI who received third place awards for undergraduate research include: Susan Pei, senior leisure, youth and human services major from Cedar Rapids; Kayla Bruns, sophomore leisure, youth and human services major from Huxley; and Sarah Hanson, junior leisure, youth and human services major from West Des Moines.

The 2014 Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) of the Year award went to Shawn Dunn, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. After graduation, Dunn began work with the YMCA and has moved up through multiple positions and agencies to a position with the national office. In her current role, Dunn manages programs that allow local YMCAs to improve their impact. The CNP of the Year Award is given to an individual who has made meaningful contributions to the nonprofit sector and significant achievements at his or her organization.

The 2014 honorees were chosen by an awards selection committee comprised of key Alliance stakeholders, including affiliated faculty members, alumni, nonprofit partners, board members and sponsors.

Founded in 1948, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance exists to strengthen the leadership of the social sector and to sustain the ability of nonprofits to fulfill their missions with a talented and prepared workforce. For more information, visit or contact Julianne Gassman, associate professor of leisure, youth and human services, at 319-273-2204 or