UW-Stevens Point student, faculty and staff achievements recognized September 16, 2022 Jax Emmel, pictured with College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean Valerie Cisler and Chancellor Thomas Gibson, won the 2022 Melvin R. Laird Exceptional Artist Award. Students, faculty and staff members at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have been recognized for excellence and achievement: “News of the Air” is the debut novel by UW-Stevens Point Associate Professor Jill Stukenberg, English. Voice students were honored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, with seven students advancing to the national preliminary rounds and one advancing to the national semi-formal round. Chris Eaton, a second-year baritone studying with Professor Susan Bender, music, was among 15 finalists who competed at the national conference this summer. The other students who advanced to the preliminary were:Megan Griffith, first-year treble; and Connor Darrow, second-year baritone, studying with Bender.Meredith Johnson, first-year treble; Jaden Richards, first-year treble; Alex Lederer, second-year tenor; and Natalie Romanick, third-year soprano, studying with Professor Matthew Markham.Jax Emmel won the 2022 Melvin R. Laird Exceptional Artist Award. A dance student and recent graduate, Emmel is an apprentice with Water Street Dance Milwaukee and will use the award to develop and present original choreography that explores the perception of women in society. She aims to elevate the visibility of trans perspectives and foster a more inclusive community in the professional dance world.Zia Yang, an outreach specialist with the Small Business Development Center at UW-Stevens Point, was awarded America’s SBDC 40 under 40 Award this month. She was recognized for this national award for her leadership and ability to adapt in an ever-changing environment. Yang also advises the UW-Stevens Point Hmong and South East Asian American Club. Associate Professor Jill Stukenberg, English, who teaches at UWSP at Wausau, wrote a novel, “News of the Air,” that will be included in the Central Wisconsin Book Festival, Sept. 21-25. The book, set in the near future, has dystopian and ecological elements. It is about a couple and their daughter who flee to the Northwoods of Wisconsin after a rash of eco-terrorism events. They live in peace until two strange children arrive by canoe. The book is available at Janke Book Store in Wausau, Amazon.com and through the publisher, Black Lawrence Press. School of Education Assistant Dean and Professor Lynda Fernholz and student Emma (Dix) Geiser were honored with by the College of Professional Studies (CPS).Fernholz won the 2022 CPS Ethel and Ward Family Faculty Heroes Award for her efforts to increase literacy for children in rural Nicaragua. She travels there to provide teacher training and has helped create libraries for women and children. She also helps local elementary children create books to bring to Nicaraguan libraries.Geiser won the student Heroes Award. She founded Operation Sparkle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting high school students with dresses and accessories to ensure a positive prom experience regardless of their financial situation.