Jessica Bernhardt of Omaha, Neb., received her Master of Arts degree in communications from the University of Nebraska at Omaha on Dec. 17, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average.
She was joined at the graduation ceremony by her parents, Dennis and Donna Bernhardt of Marion; her sister, Jamie Norris of Richmond, Va.; and her fiancé, Tyson Heidebrecht.
She is the marketing communications specialist for Professional Research Consultants in Omaha.
Bernhardt wrote a thesis as part of her requirements for graduation, titled “Comparing perception and reality: A mixed-methodology approach comparing women’s perception of the female body image to magazine portrayal of body image.”
While working on her master’s degree, she was a graduate teaching assistant for the publication design and graphics course at the university. She was selected by her peers as a graduate student representative and was nominated by the graduate faculty as an outstanding graduate teaching assistant.
Bernhardt was part of a group of five faculty members and two students who worked with Afghan journalism professors from Kabul University, teaching them about online journalism, publication design and graphics, TV production, and media writing.
She previously received her Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern College in Winfield, graduating cum laude.
During her three years at Southwestern, she served in various editorial positions on the student newspaper, The Collegian. She also was assistant editor of the yearbook, The Moundbuilder. As a senior, she was named Journalist of the Year in the four-year yearbook and magazine division by the Kansas Associated Collegiate Press.
Bernhardt is a 2006 graduate of Marion High School. In the summer of 2008, she was an intern at the Marion County Record and won first place from the Kansas Press Association in the religion story category.