Kraus receives the Nelson Dream Big Award

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - 7:15am

Marissa Kraus, a senior journalism major from Columbia, Missouri, was awarded the Nelson Dream Big Award from the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The award will help fund her summer internship with the Los Angeles Times. 

Michael (O.J.) and Christie Nelson established the Dream Big Fund to support high-performing students and encourage them to pursue internships at journalism powerhouses. The Dream Big Awards provide recipients with $5,000 to offset the cost of living in major media markets. 

Kraus will move to Los Angeles during the summer of 2024. In the summer of 2022, Kraus’ passion for sports journalism was flamed during an internship with the Denver Post. “Sitting in the press box at the Stanley Cup Finals two summers ago, I felt terrified,” Kraus said. “I was terrified because soon I would be running down to the press room to gather interviews from players as they came off the ice. It was unfamiliar territory, but the challenge excited me. I was finally starting to feel like a real journalist for the first time in my young career.” 

Her experience in Denver inspired Kraus to pursue every journalism opportunity she could. Returning to school at UNL in the fall of 2022, Kraus accepted an internship with the Omaha World-Herald, where she covered high school sports. Kraus will take the skills she honed during her time with the Denver Post and the Omaha World-Herald to her internship in L.A. 

“I have always strived to be well-rounded and continually expand my skillsets, such as multimedia, digital storytelling, and audience engagement,” Kraus said. “I look forward to using these skills at the L.A. Times, a paper I have admired since I started my journalism career.” 

Established in 1997, the Michael K. and Christie Carter Nelson Dream Big Award is supported by a fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The Nelsons, both UNL journalism graduates, share a love of print journalism. They enjoyed successful careers in the field and fostered the same passion in their children, Elizabeth (Libby) and Luara, who have gone on to journalism careers of their own. 

Through their daughters experiences the Nelsons learned how important internships are to future employment and they desire to ensure that any student, regardless of financial ability, has the opportunity to aim high and pursue an internship at a powerhouse of journalism. 

To support programs like the O.J. and Christie Nelson Dream Big Award and make a lasting impact at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, consider partnering with the University of Nebraska Foundation. Your contributions can help empower students, foster innovation and advance excellence across various academic disciplines. To learn more about how you can make a difference through philanthropy, visit the University of Nebraska Foundation website at or contact Director of Development Jeremy Lohrman at 800-432-3216 or  Together, we can shape a brighter future for our university community and beyond.

Marissa Krause Headshot
Marissa Kraus, senior, journalism