Research Highlights


Craig Allen, Roch Gaussoin, Kristen Olson and James Takacs were named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows in 2020. Fellows are selected by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished achievements that advance science or
its application.

• Allen, professor of natural resources, was honored for contributions to resilience theory and its application to conservation and resource management.
• Gaussoin, professor of agronomy and horticulture, was recognized for contributions and service to the agronomic sciences.
• Olson, Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Professor of Sociology, was honored for contributions to survey research methodology.
• Takacs, Charles J. Mach University Professor of Chemistry, was recognized for contributions to synthetic organic chemistry.

Susan Weller, director of the University of Nebraska State Museum and professor of entomology, was elected a fellow of the Entomological Society of America. Fellow status honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to entomology and whose career accomplishments inspire all entomologists. Weller was selected for her internationally known research on the evolution of arctiine moths and other Noctuoidea, as well as her administrative leadership in promoting entomology and science education. Weller is among a small number of women who have received fellow designation.

Carrick Detweiler, Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, was elected a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. The honor recognizes early-stage innovators whose success in patents, licensing and commercialization has the potential to benefit society. Detweiler is a nationally recognized expert on drone systems that enable safer, less costly approaches to fighting wildfires. He co-founded and co-directs the Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems Lab, which develops drones that interact with the environment. In 2015, Detweiler co-founded Drone Amplified, a company that helps federal, state and local agencies reduce fire danger using its signature drone-based system, IGNIS.

Kwame Dawes, professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of the Prairie Schooner, received the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing. The biennial honor recognizes magazine editors whose high literary standards have, throughout their career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication they edit. Dawes was recognized for his efforts to revolutionize the 90-year-old Schooner by integrating technology into its processes, showcasing a more diverse array of poets and authors and establishing the journal’s international presence.

William G. Thomas III, Angle Chair in the Humanities and professor of history, received the Mark Lynton History Prize for his book, A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War. The prize honors the year’s best book-length work of narrative history on any subject that combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression. It is one of four J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project awards given by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, all of which honor nonfiction writing excellence. Thomas’ book traces the efforts of families in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to challenge slavery’s legitimacy through hundreds of lawsuits for their freedom.

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather Professor of Communication, was named a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association. The designation recognizes and rewards association members for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study
of human communication. Scholars are selected to showcase the communication profession. Braithwaite, a nationally recognized expert in interpersonal and family communication, previously received the association’s Becker Distinguished Service Award for contributions in research, teaching and service and the Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service in Family Communication.

James Le Sueur, Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations and chair of the history department, earned the Feather Award for Best Documentary at the Karama Human Rights Film Festival in Amman, Jordan. The award honored his documentary film, The Art of Dissent, which explores the role of dissidents before and after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and celebrates the resilience and power of artistic engagement in the country during that period. The documentary has won several film festival awards, including Best Feature Documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York City and Best Documentary Feature at the Blackbird Film Festival in Cortland, New York.

Jessica Shoemaker, professor of law, was named a 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. The program provides philanthropic support to extraordinary scholars and writers for scholarship in the humanities and social sciences that addresses enduring issues confronting society. With the award, Shoemaker will pursue a project called “Remaking a Land of Opportunity: America’s Rural Future,” which focuses on the role of property law and land-tenure choices in shaping rural places and agriculture. She will work on a book, develop an interdisciplinary research initiative bridging the urban-rural divide and develop a graduate course on rural futures.

David Hage, the James Hewett University Professor of Chemistry, earned the 2021 ACS Award in Chromatography from the American Chemical Society. The honor recognizes outstanding contributions to chromatography, with particular emphasis on developing new methods. Hage is a leading researcher in an area of affinity chromatography that involves rapidly separating compounds from complex samples. His research team uses biological agents, such as proteins and antibodies, to separate and analyze complex chemical mixtures that range from clinical to environmental samples. In 2020, Hage joined a national team that worked to repurpose patented technologies to develop and manufacture a fast-acting COVID-19 antibody test.

Sarah Michaels, professor of political science, was named a Fulbright Canada Distinguished Research Chair in Environmental Science at Carleton University. She is spending the 2021 academic year at the Ottawa-based institution and is partnering with the Carleton community and other agencies on projects addressing environmental challenges.