Accolades, April 2017

Accolades News for Researchers

April 27, 2017

Awards, Honors and Recognitions

Dawne Curry, ethnic studies and history, and Amelia Montes, ethnic studies and English, received 2017-2018 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grants. Curry will travel to South Africa to conduct research, write and bridge scholarly relations between South Africa and the United States. Montes’ work will take place in Serbia, where she will write, teach a class and collaborate with Aleksandra Izgarjan, an expert in gender studies and transnational literature.

Kwame Dawes, English, received a gold medal from the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the writing/publishing category for When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing and the Writing Life, a collection of essays Dawes edited.

Megan Friesen, assistant director of academic success in the College of Business, won the 2017 Dr. Charles Riedesel Outstanding Academic Advising Award, which honors individuals at the university who provide outstanding guidance to undergraduate students.

Jeannette Eileen Jones, history and ethnic studies, received the Melvin W. Jones Mentoring Award from Leadership Lincoln. The annual award honors a community member who impacts the lives of others through significant mentoring relationships.

Oleh Khalimonchuk, biochemistry; Dirac Twidwell, agronomy and horticulture; and James Schnable, agronomy and horticulture, received Junior Faculty for Excellence in Research Awards from the Agricultural Research Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Marjorie Kostelnik, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, and Patrice Berger, professor of history and director of the University Honors Program, received the Louise Pound-George Howard Distinguished Career Award for exceptional contributions to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nancy Mitchell, journalism and mass communications, received the James O’Hanlon Academic Leader Award in recognition of her abilities to lead, serve, inspire and collaborate on the university’s academic goals.

Maital Neta, psychology, received the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award, given annually to an outstanding junior faculty member at Nebraska who has demonstrated creative research, extraordinary teaching abilities and academic promise.

Angela Pannier, biological systems engineering, received the university’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in honor of her excellent mentoring and support of undergraduate researchers.

Prahalada Rao, mechanical and materials engineering, was named one of 17 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Julia Schleck, English, earned the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award, an annual university honor recognizing an individual for outstanding teaching in the humanities.

Jolene Smyth, sociology, is part of a team that received the 2017 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research. The team was honored for its development of a web-push data collection methodology.

Julie Tippens, child, youth and family studies, received the Trocaire Leadership Award from the Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School Alumnae Board in honor of her leadership, commitment to excellence and research efforts in the field of global health.

Stephanie Wessels, teaching, learning and teacher education, was named the 2017 recipient of the Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence from the College of Education and Human Sciences. The award honors individuals whose teaching positively impacts students.

Brenda West, accounting technician in the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, earned the University of Nebraska Kudos Staff Award for her outstanding work in helping faculty prepare budgets for grant proposals.

Amber Williams, assistant vice chancellor for academic services and enrollment management, received the African-American Leadership Award from the Urban League of Nebraska in the education leader category. Williams contributed to record-breaking enrollment in recent years and created the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy.

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds announced the 2017 recipients of the President’s Faculty Excellence Awards, the university’s most prestigious honors. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln won five of the seven system-wide honors.

  • Yongfeng Lu, professor of electrical and computer engineering, received the Outstanding Research and Creativity Award in recognition for outstanding research or creative activity of national or international significance.
  • Erin Blankenship, statistics and associate dean of agricultural sciences and natural resources, and Jason Kautz, chemistry, each received the Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award for excellence and creativity in teaching.
  • Eileen Hebets, biological sciences, received the Innovation, Development and Engagement Award, an honor that recognizes faculty who extend the reach of their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university to enrich the broader community.
  • The Department of History received the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award.

The College Distinguished Teaching Awards, coordinated by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and chief academic officer, honor individuals who demonstrate consistent excellence in teaching. The 2017 honorees, grouped by college, are:

  • Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: Elizabeth Walter-Shea, natural resources.
  • Arts and Sciences: Elizabeth Enkin, modern languages and literatures; Emily Hammerl, anthropology; Alexander Sinitskii, chemistry and Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience; Kelly Stage, English; Daniel Toundykov, mathematics; and Manda Williamson, psychology.
  • Business: Troy Smith, management.
  • Education and Human Sciences: Linda Young, nutrition and health sciences; Wayne Babchuk, educational psychology and anthropology; Dipra Jha, nutrition and health sciences.
  • Engineering: Yusong Li, civil engineering; Joseph Turner, mechanical and materials engineering.

Seventy-one faculty members will receive promotion and/or tenure in 2017. View the full list.

Professional Involvement

Rupal Mehta, political science, presented her research findings about the benefits and detriments of nuclear latency during April 7 events at the Bureau of International Security at the State Department and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

Brian Wardlow, director of the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies in the School of Natural Resources, was named global chair for the United Nations World Meteorological Organization task team focused on the use of remote sensing data for climate monitoring.

Publishing Awards

Jinsong Huang, mechanical and materials engineering, led a team of researchers who authored a study in the April 17 edition of Nature Photonics. The paper describes a technique for bonding single crystals of perovskite – a class of materials with promising electronic and optical properties – onto different foundational materials, including silicon.

Xiao Cheng Zeng, chemistry, is the leader of a team whose work on single-layer hybrid perovskite semiconductors was published on the cover of the April 5 issue of Advanced Energy Materials.

Other Noteworthy Accomplishments

Laurie Bellows will serve as interim vice chancellor for student affairs beginning July 1, pending Board of Regents approval. Bellows, professor of practice in educational psychology, currently is acting dean of graduate studies. She also directs the McNair Scholars Program and acts as the university’s Higher Learning Commission accreditation liaison. Juan Franco, who leads the Division of Student Affairs, announced plans to return to the College of Education and Human Sciences faculty.

Tim Carr was appointed interim associate vice chancellor and dean of graduate education. Carr is chair of the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences and the Jean Sundell Tinstman Professor of Nutrition and Health Sciences. He will begin these roles July 1, pending Board of Regents approval.

Tiffany Heng-Moss, entomology, will take over as interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources on July 1. On that day, Steve Waller, who currently serves as CASNR dean, will become interim director of the Center for Grassland Studies.

Richard Moberly was named dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law. He has served as interim dean since 2016, associate dean since 2011 and faculty member since 2004.

Curtis Weller was named head of the Department of Food Science and Technology and director of the Food Processing Center. He has served in both roles on an interim basis since August 2016.

Amber Williams is the university’s new assistant vice chancellor for academic services and enrollment management. Previously, she served as director of admissions and associate dean of enrollment management.

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