Research at Nebraska 2021-2022 Report


Julia McQuillan and Judy Walker were named American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows in 2021. Fellows are selected by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished achievements that advance science or its application.

  • McQuillan, Willa Cather Professor of Sociology, was recognized for contributions to the study of social inequality, particularly the areas of infertility, public understanding of science, removing inequalities in STEM fields and communicating science to a wide-ranging public.
  • Walker, Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics, was recognized for distinguished contributions to algebraic coding theory, and substantial lasting achievements in advancing educational and career opportunities for women in mathematics.

Matthias Fuchs, associate professor of physics and astronomy, was named a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. Fellows are recipients of major national fellowships and awards and have been identified as future leaders in science. They gathered at the 2022 U.S. Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, where Fuchs presented research in his area of expertise – ultrafast and high-field X-ray science. At Nebraska, he’s a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy’s Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics group. Fuchs has made significant contributions toward developing novel X-ray sources and investigating nonlinear effects at X-ray wavelengths.

Carl Nelson, professor of mechanical and materials 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. For more than 15 years, Nelson has pursued medical engineering research that improves people’s lives. He holds 12 patents, five of them commercialized, in surgical robotics, particularly minimally invasive surgery and rehabilitation engineering. He developed the Intelligently Controlled Assistive Rehabilitation Elliptical training system, which helps people regain the ability to walk. He also designed a miniaturized surgical robotic technology used in colon resection procedures.

Valerie Jones, who holds the Seaton Distinguished Professorship in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to study the use of emergent technology to facilitate social connectedness in aging adults. She will travel to Melbourne, Australia, to collaborate with global experts in the study of social connection, digital inclusion and public interest technology at the Social Innovation Research Institute at the Swinburne University of Technology. The team will explore how personal voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, can be personalized and adapted to enhance feelings of connection in older adults living alone.

Patrice McMahon, professor of political science, will use a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to travel to Poznań, Poland, to advance her research on grassroots activism in Central Europe. Her work at Adam Mickiewicz University will focus on how nonstate actors – such as civil society organizations, universities and philanthropic groups – work with government to respond to transnational security threats like disease, civil conflict or interstate war. She’ll also teach a graduate seminar on post-9/11 American foreign policy, connecting that class to a similar one at Nebraska to create a “global virtual classroom.”

Katie Edwards, associate professor of educational psychology, was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association. This distinction recognizes members who have made unusual and outstanding contributions in the field of psychology on a national level. Edwards’ interdisciplinary research focuses on the causes and consequences of interpersonal violence, primarily intimate partner violence and sexual assault among adolescents and emerging adults. She is especially interested in studying historically marginalized populations, such as sexual minority and Native American youth.

Robert Harveson, professor of plant pathology, was named a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. Fellows are selected for significant contributions to research, teaching, professional service and beyond. Harveson was recognized for his work at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, …where he provides regional growers with services, training and education to reduce losses to specialty crop diseases. He is an internationally recognized leader in identifying diseases and devising management strategies for low-acreage crops including sugar beets, dry beans, sunflowers, chickpeas and potatoes.

Ryan Sullivan, clinical associate professor of law, received the 2022 Access to Justice Award from the Association of American Law Schools. The award, presented by the Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities, recognizes those who manage pro bono programs or work to remove barriers to justice. Sullivan was honored for his commitment to pro bono and public interest work, and specifically for his work to launch the Tenant Assistance Project. Launched in April 2020, the project helps tenants avoid immediate eviction by providing defense packets, resources and representation.

Phillip Miller, Kermit Wagner Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, received the American Feed Industry Association Award in Nonruminant Nutrition Research from the American Society of Animal Science. The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to and published outstanding work in the last 10 years in nonruminant nutrition. Miller, a Husker faculty member since 1990, focuses on energy and amino acid nutrition in the growing pig, and how nutrition during gilt development affects sow longevity. More recently, he’s explored the impact of nutrition on the pig microbiome.

Timothy Schaffert, Susan J. Rosowski Professor of English, is author of The Perfume Thief, which was selected by Penguin Random House International for the One World One Book Program. Only two titles are selected annually for this global promotion, which will take the novel to bookstores worldwide. The novel follows Clementine, a queer American ex-pat and thief, who is drawn out of retirement and into a scam when the Nazis invade Paris. The book has received numerous accolades, including placement on the American Booksellers Association bestseller list and No. 1 bestseller status on Amazon in the category of LGBTQ+ Historical Fiction.

N logo with the text In our grit, our glory