Staff Photo of Chris Sommerich

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Chris Sommerich

Chris Sommerich was named Humanities Nebraska executive director effective Jan. 1, 2011. He joined the council as development officer in 2004, and became development director in 2007. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where as a graduate assistant he served as undergraduate adviser and teaching assistant in the political science department. Chris achieved a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification in 2007, which emphasizes the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct in fundraising. He served on the board of directors for the Nebraska Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in 2005-2011 and as its president in 2010. In 2014 Chris was elected to the board of directors of the Federation of State Humanities Councils, and he was a member of Class VII of Leadership Nebraska in 2014-15. He came to HN after four years of managing annual giving programs as development associate for Audubon Nebraska. Chris lives in Lincoln with his wife, Vicki, and two sons, Eli and Benjamin.
Staff Photo of Kristi Hayek Carley

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Kristi Hayek Carley

Kristi Hayek Carley, Program Manager, joined the Humanities Nebraska staff in October 2009. She is a fifth-generation Nebraskan and grew up on a farm south of Friend. She is a graduate of Concordia University in Seward, with a bachelor’s degree in education, and an emphasis in secondary education in the social sciences. Before joining the council staff, Kristi served as a deputy legislative assistant in U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson’s Washington, D.C., office and as a high school social studies teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since her return to Nebraska, she has substitute taught in the Lincoln area while pursuing graduate studies in political science and history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and taught a class in American government at Concordia University for a number of semesters. Kristi and her husband Matt live in Seward with their sons Caleb and Asher. Besides her interest in activities related to the humanities, she enjoys playing and watching a number of sports, shopping, music, traveling, and spending time helping out at the family farm.
Staff Photo of Barbara Grant

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Barbara Grant

Barbara Grant, Office and Grants Coordinator, joined Humanities Nebraska in March 2012 as Program and Communications Assistant. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Troy University-Florida Region. She began her non-profit career at Indian Center, Inc., as trainer, and then project director. Barbara served four years in the U.S. Air Force. She enjoys reading, going to movies, playing board games and spending time with family and friends.

Staff Photo of Erika Hamilton

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Erika Hamilton, Ph.D.

Dr. Erika Hamilton, Director of Literary Programs, joined Humanities Nebraska in February 2005. In 2014, she earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a dissertation analyzing the advertising of Willa Cather’s fiction. She has a master’s degree in English and creative writing from UNL and a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Erika serves on the board of directors for the Nebraska Center for the Book and Nebraska Literary Heritage Association. Her previous employment includes two years as administrative assistant to Nebraska’s lieutenant governor. Erika lives in Lincoln with her husband, their two children, and two cats.
Staff Photo of SheriLynne Hansen

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SheriLynne Hansen

SheriLynne Hansen, Communications Manager, joined Humanities Nebraska in February 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience in communications strategy, journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Drake University. SheriLynne and her husband Mark are raising their three children to appreciate Nebraska’s history, culture, literature and art in all forms.
Staff Photo of Liz Makowski

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Liz Makowski

Liz Makowski, Program Associate, joined Humanities Nebraska in April 2012. Originally from the Kearney area, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and Art History from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln. She received a master’s degree in Art History and Archaeology from the University of Missouri, where she worked as a graduate assistant in the Visual Resources Center. She enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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Hannah Rentsch

Hannah Rentsch, Development Associate, joined Humanities Nebraska in November 2022. Originally from Missouri, she moved to Nebraska in 2017 to complete a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. During her time at the University, she participated in volunteering and fundraising roles within the community, and developed a passion for connecting with others to better understand and appreciate the value of individual experience. She enjoys reading, playing ukulele, and painting in her spare time.

Staff Photo of Mary Yager

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Mary Yager, C.P.M.

Mary Yager, Associate Director, joined Humanities Nebraska in March 2005, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience in developing, managing and evaluating programs for the National Arbor Day Foundation. Mary has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She and her husband, Randy, live near Hickman. They have three sons and eight grandchildren.

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402-474-2131 ext. 114

Katie Bradshaw

Katie Bradshaw, Grants Management and Outreach Specialist, joined Humanities Nebraska in May 2022. She loves to learn and to help other people learn. She has a B.A. in Biotechnology from Bradley University (Peoria, IL) and an M.S. in Geography from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her past roles have included grant writer, history museum director, newspaper journalist, laboratory instructor, and study abroad advisor. Katie now lives in Lincoln after getting to know rural Nebraska during her 13 years living in Scottsbluff, where her husband, Jeff, started his UNL career as an Extension entomologist.

Staff Photo of Susan Hale

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Susan Hale

Susan Hale is the Prime Time assistant. She manages Prime Time in Omaha and works on expanding the program in Lincoln by reaching out to schools and other sites, armed with her passion for family literacy. Susan joined Humanities Nebraska in February 2017 with a passion for family literacy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and has long worked on public policies that impact underserved and disadvantaged populations. Susan lives in Lincoln and enjoys spending time with family, reading, playing the piano and working in her yard.