Dedicated to the memory of longtime NPW member Marianne Beel, this $1,000 scholarship is open to high school seniors who have a heart for photography, writing, podcasting, videography or who keep a strong social media/online presence for their school publication, volunteer organization or employer. Students should be planning to pursue an education in communications or a related field and enjoy showcasing Nebraska through their work.

The scholarship is open to applicants statewide. Students from the Sandhills are given special preference because that was Marianne Beel’s home.

Marianne, who was from Valentine, loved the Sandhills and shared that love through her writing and photography. Her column “Sand in My Shoes” was much beloved by readers of the North Platte Telegraph. Over the years, her writing and photography appeared there and in numerous other publications. She was inducted posthumously into the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2009 for her coverage of and work with the Nebraska High School Rodeo Association.

To be considered for the 2022 Marianne Beel Scholarship, an applicant must:

  • Be a 2022 graduating senior from any Nebraska high school.
  • Be a writer, photographer, podcaster, videographer or social media contributor whose work reflects Nebraska, with preference given to Sandhills subject matter.
  • Plan to seek a post-secondary degree or certificate (not necessarily four-year) preferably in a communications-related field.
  • Submit three samples of work in any combination of writing, photography, audio, video or social media posts/blogs. Work must be done for a high school publication, volunteer organization or employer.
  • Complete the application form available below.
  • Write a 250-word essay on what living in Nebraska means to them.
  • Submit a copy of their high school transcript with current GPA.
  • Submit one letter of reference and a resume.

To apply, download the 2022 Beel Scholarship Application.

Applications were due Feb. 9, 2022. Late applications will not be accepted. Watch for information on the 2023 scholarship. 

2022 Recipient

Elleiana Green of Omaha is a Marian High School student who serves as manager-in-chief of her school’s newspaper and is a staff member and contributor to Marian’s literary magazine. She plans to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she will double major in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Green also hopes to pursue law school, with a possible goal of working as a legal correspondent for a major media outlet.

Previous Recipients

2021: Jacob Smallcomb of Broken Bow made time for sports, speech and music in high school, in addition to his media activities. Jacob lettered in cross country, speech and band, where he played drums. He also was active in Broken Bow High School’s Striv Club as a commentator, producer and camera operator for numerous livestreamed school athletic events. Majoring in sports communications at UNK is his goal.

2020: Dillion Muirhead grew up in Valentine, Nebraska, true to the Marianne Beel Memorial Scholarship’s soft spot for the Sandhills. Dillion is a 2020 graduate of Valentine Community Schools. But instead of ranching and cornfields, Dillion finds his love of the Sandhills — and of media — at the local golf club. Starting in April 2019, Dillion began working at Frederick Peak Golf Club, which he referred to extensively as The Prairie Club in his essay. Dillion is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

2018: Amanda Payne of Dunning, a 2018 graduate of Sandhills High School, plans to take online classes through Central Community College before earning a bachelor’s degree in English. During her high school junior year, Amanda was a student reporter for the Custer County Chief, where she networked and learned journalism skills and lessons.

2017: Abigail Moody, a 2017 graduate of Moody Christian Academy, attends Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where she plans to  major in theater and minor in business. The Burwell native loves theater. She is extensively involved with photography and as a technical assistant for Cedar Creek Bible Church in Burwell. While judging her scholarship essay about the meaning of living in rural Nebraska, a longtime professional writer noted Moody’s writing mirrors that of Marianne Beel, longtime Sandhills columnist for whom the scholarship is named.

2016:  Morgan Wallace, a 2016 graduate of Gering High School.  She was feature editor of her high school newspaper during her junior year and editor-in-chief for her senior year. She also got an early start on her professional career, working as a part-time reporter and photographer for the Gering Courier for two years. Her school activities included membership in the Quill and Scroll Honor Society, DECA and the Gering Girls Activities Association. She is a two-year varsity soccer letter-award winner.

2015: Morgan Peterson, a graduate of Arthur County High School. She worked on her school’s yearbook, taking sports, candid and class photos, and then editing them for publication. Peterson also was active in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and the Arthur Rodeo Club and did a variety of volunteer work in the community. In addition to working on her family’s ranch, she also has worked on area ranches and trained horses for others for the past four years. Peterson planned to attend Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne.

2014: Jessica Thiele of Atkinson graduated from West Holt Public Schools. In addition to compiling a top academic record in high school, Thiele also was active in community volunteer activities, including serving as a board member for the Sturdevant-McKee Museum, as a member of her church worship team and Vacation Bible School teacher, and as a participant in school peer groups’ community-service projects. She also did disaster-response relief work in Mississippi and Haiti. She planned to attend Chadron State College and pursue a degree in communications.

2013: Miranda Wieczorek, a graduate of Grand Island High School, was co-editor of the newspaper, editor-in-chief of the yearbook and did live video streaming of sports. She also volunteered at the Grand Island Independent, won an NSAA State Journalism championship in sports photography and placed in the NPW high school contest. She planned to attend Chadron State College and major in secondary education with a minor in journalism.

2012: Anlan Cheney, a graduate of Cody-Kilgore High School, editor of its school newspaper, and state journalism medalist, planned to attend Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Okla., and major in communication arts and social sciences.

2011: Allison Booras, a Norfolk High School graduate and Norfolk Daily News photo contest winner, planned to attend Wayne State College and major in advertising.

2010: Courtney Baum, a graduate of Mullen High School, was selected as the first recipient of the Marianne Beel Memorial Scholarship. In high school she provided photos to the local newspaper, worked on the school yearbook, and took senior pictures for some of the students. She chose to attend a photography school in Nashville, Tenn., to pursue her passion.