Chadron State College will recognize four alumni for their exceptional service to the college, accomplishments in their careers and active involvement in their communities during homecoming activities Sept. 28. Dr. Angela Brennan and Justice John Freudenberg will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award and Dr. Dan Connealy and Dr. Kendra Schmid will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.
Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award must have attended CSC for at least two years or earned at least 60 hours. Recipients of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award must be 40 years of age or younger at time of nomination or have graduated no more than 20 years earlier.
Angela Brennan - Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr. Angela Brennan graduated from Chadron State College with a bachelor’s degree in biology in a 1999. In addition to her studies, she also served as CSC’s student representative on the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees. As a senior, she was recognized with the Platinum Eagle Award for her service, scholarship and campus involvement including mentoring and tutoring students enrolled in challenging biology and chemistry courses.
She enrolled at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed her residency from 2002 to 2006. In 2005, she was named the House Officer of the Year for her work tutoring fellow medical students.
Brennan has been employed at the Howard County Medical Center since 2006. She also has been the Emergency Medical Services Medical Director in Wolbach since 2008, the EMS Medical Director in Greeley, and the Greeley Care Home Medical Director since 2017.
She has served on the Nebraska Newborn Screening Advisory Committee since 2010 and chaired the committee from 2014 to 2016. She has been a member of the Heartland Collaborative Partners Program since 2011, and a member of the Community Advocates Reaching Everyone team since 2008. In 2011, she was the editor of an UNMC Adolescent Depression Module. She has been a Board of Trustees member for the Nebraska Children’s Home since 2017.
In 2018, students completing their year-long family medicine clerkship with Brennan in St. Paul, Nebraska, described her as passionate, inspiring, and committed. The example she set through teaching, mentorship, and as a community role model earned Brennan the Marion D. and Theodore H. Koefoot, Jr., M.D. Outstanding Preceptor in Rural Family Medicine Award. The award is granted to a rural Nebraska family physician who provides outstanding teaching and mentoring of medical students during their family medicine rural preceptorship and serves as an outstanding community physician.
Brennan and her husband, Alan, a 1998 CSC graduate, have one son, Braxton.
John Freudenberg - Distinguished Alumni Award
John Freudenberg graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Chadron State College in 1992. He was the salutatorian of Stapleton High School in the Nebraska Sandhills and attended CSC as a recipient of the Board of Trustees Scholarship.
Freudenberg said he was repeatedly challenged by the late Dr. George Watson and Dan Partrich to switch majors from pre-engineering to pre-law.
Enrolling as a freshman was not the first time Freudenberg came to CSC. He recalls many summers riding his tricycle on the High Rise elevators and spending time in the King Library while his parents, both educators and CSC graduates, earned continuing education credits.
Following graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Law School in 1995, Freudenberg worked at a law firm in Norfolk. Soon after, he became a Deputy County Attorney at Scotts Bluff County. In 1998, he went to work in the Sheridan County Attorney’s Office and eventually became a partner in the firm of Smith, King, and Freudenberg. He was elected Sheridan County Attorney in 2002 and 2006.
Freudenberg was hired by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office in 2007. As the Criminal Bureau Chief, he supervised the office’s prosecutors, criminal appellate attorneys, and law enforcement investigators.
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In 2018, he was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts as a justice on the Nebraska Supreme Court, representing the Sixth Supreme Court District.
His wife, Connie (Bratten), earned a bachelor’s and a master’s at CSC. She is a high school counselor at Lincoln Pius X. The couple have five children: Stephanie, Amber, Sean, Kaitlyn, and Braxton, and one grandchild, Elleanna.
Dan Connealy - Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Dr. Dan Connealy graduated from Chadron State College in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in human biology. The following year, he was accepted into medical school at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine where he served in several leadership positions. He was president of the Class of 2007 as well as Student Senate President and Student Regent from 2006-2007. Connealy graduated with high distinction in 2007.
Connealy completed his post-graduate residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNMC from 2007 to 2011 and received the House Officer of the Year award in 2011. He went on to finish a subspecialty fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Center in Houston in 2014. During his clinical training, Connealy published several research papers in peer-reviewed medical journals and his fellowship research project was selected as one of eight to be presented at the annual Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow Plenary Session.
In 2014, Connealy joined Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha as a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in the Methodist Perinatal Center. His clinical interests include prenatal diagnosis, multiple gestation, critical care obstetrics and rural outreach. He also has an interest in quality improvement and is currently chair of the Patient Care Committee.
Connealy is involved in several organizations in Nebraska and nationally. He has represented Nebraska in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and is an active member of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Recently, he was named the chair of a maternal care working group within the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative. This group has been charged with implementation of statewide initiatives to improve access to prenatal care and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.
His wife Tovah (Pieper) Connealy is a 2001 Chadron High School graduate and they live in Elkhorn with their children: Caden, Mallory, Nolan, Audrey, and Ryleigh.
Kendra Schmid - Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Chadron State College 2001 alumna Dr. Kendra Schmid was a Board of Trustees scholarship recipient and math scholar while attending CSC. She was the treasurer of the Nebraska Gamma Chapter of Kappa Mu Epsilon national mathematics honorary from 1998 to 1999 and president from 1999 to 2001.
Schmid is the Campus Director of Assessment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She’s also the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. From 2017 to 2019, she served as the Interim Chair of the Biostatistics Department. From 2012 to 2017, Schmid was the Director of Master Programs at the College of Public Health and from 2016 to 2017 she served as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs for the College of Public Health.
After graduating from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with her doctorate in statistics, she was hired at UNMC in 2007. She earned tenure as an associate professor in 2015 and was promoted to professor in 2017. She is an adjunct professor with the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and has taught statistics at UNL’s Center for Science.
In addition to her role as an educator and an administrator, Schmid is active in research. As a biostatistician, she plays a major role in numerous research projects at UNMC, UNO, and Boys Town National Research Hospital. She is involved with six grants studying a variety of health disorders from breast cancer treatment to assistive devices to assist stroke survivors with walking. She has also co-authored a book chapter and numerous articles in peer-reviewed professional journals.
Schmid’s influence on her industry has been recognized by various organizations. She has appeared on CNN, the Discovery Channel, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2018, she earned the UNMC Impact in Education, Research in Education Scholar Award. In 2016, she was named an Inaugural Member of UNMC Interprofessional Academy of Educators and won the Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Faculty Prize in Public Health. In 2015, she received the UNMC Distinguished Scientist Award, and in 2013, she earned both the UNMC Outstanding Teacher Award and the College of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award.
She lives in Lincoln with her husband, Tadd, a CSC 2001 graduate, and their three children Katelyn, McKenzie, and Braxton.