Accolades, July 2020

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted August 2, 2020 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognitions

John Gilley, biological systems engineering, received the 2020 Soil and Water Conservation Society Conservation Research Award. The award recognizes members of the society whose research has led to exceptional improvements in soil conservation, water conservation and/or related natural resources research. Gilley, an expert in surface hydrology, water quality and soil and water conservation engineering, was recognized during the society’s virtual international conference July 27-29.

Jolene Smyth, sociology and director of the Bureau of Sociological Research, received the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award from the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations. The annual award honors service and leadership to academic survey research. Smyth was recognized for her contributions to the science of survey research, service to ASSRO and other professional organizations, leadership of BOSR and teaching and mentorship to the next generation of survey researchers.

Chigozie Obioma, English, received the International Literature Award from the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, or House of World Cultures, in Berlin, Germany, for his second novel, “An Orchestra of Minorities.” The honor recognizes outstanding works of contemporary international literature and their first translation into German. The organization typically selects one book from the shortlist to receive the award, but this year, in light of the pandemic, all six books from the shortlist were honored in order to recognize the voices of many during a time when working in the cultural field is precarious, according to the center. The selected books reflect worlds from four continents – Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Obioma’s novel is set in Nigeria and tells the story of a poultry farmer pursuing the woman he loves.

Jay Storz, biological sciences, was named a 2020 National Geographic Explorer. The program funds and supports groundbreaking scientists, conservationists, educators and storytellers who are infinitely curious about our planet, committed to understanding it and passionate about helping make it better. Since the Explorer program’s inception more than 130 years ago, the National Geographic Society has awarded more than 13,000 grants and supported the work of more than 3,000 explorers. Storz is an evolutionary biologist who focuses his research on the genetic basis of evolution.

Tyler White, composition and conducting and director of orchestras in the Glenn Korff School of Music, received The American Prize in Composition in the orchestra division for his work “A Brand-New Summer.” The award recognizes and rewards the best composers in America of works for orchestra, chorus, concert band, chamber ensemble, pops or theater music that have been read and recorded or publicly performed. 

Terry Housh, nutrition and health sciences and director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory, received the 2020 Boyd Epley Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The award honors individuals who exhibit historical impact, achievements and dedication to NSCA over the course of their careers. Housh’s primary research interests are growth and development in young athletes and muscle function. Over his career, he has co-authored over 340 peer-reviewed publications, over 340 national and international research presentations and 12 books focused on exercise and sports physiology.

Daniel Tannenbaum, economics, received the Emerging Scholar Research Award from the College of Business, which recognizes tenure-track assistant professors during the first three years of their careers who make an outstanding contribution to academic literature. His recent work focused on the financial impact of evictions was featured in the New York Times. He also published a landmark study focused on new technologies and the labor market, which was published in the Journal of Monetary Economics.

Jennifer Ryan, supply chain management and analytics, was named a leading author in operations management research by a study published in the journal Decision Sciences. The study, “OM Research: Leading Authors and Institutions,” focused on papers published in four of the field’s most prestigious journals over a 15-year period, from 2001-2015. Ryan is one of the top 50 authors in one of those journals, Production and Operations Management.

Travis Mulliniks, assistant professor in range cow production systems at the West Central Research and Extension Center, and faculty director of the Gudmundsen Sandhills Laboratory, received the Young Scientist Award from the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science. The award recognizes a researcher under age 40 who has already produced outstanding research. Mulliniks was honored for his accomplishments in beef research, which include 54 abstracts, 50 peer-reviewed publications, 13 invited papers and 19 extension and outreach publications.

Kacie McCarthy, assistant professor of animal science and a Nebraska Extension beef cow-calf specialist, received the Wilson G. Pond Travel Scholarship Award from the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science. The award aids in the professional development and success of young animal scientists in an international venue.

Santosh Pitla, biological systems engineering, received the 2020 John Deere Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. The honor recognizes one faculty member every year for his or her work in preparing students for the workforce. Pitla, an expert in advanced machinery systems, helps students by designing hands-on experiences to teach the basic mechanics of machines, including creating custom hardware prototypes of complicated hardware tools. He incorporates research into his curriculum so students can see upcoming innovations in the field. And he focuses on caring about students as individuals: “I understand that if a teacher cares for a student, that they learn,” Pitla said.

Chuck Hibberd, recently retired dean and director of Nebraska Extension, received the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council’s highest honor, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute’s Award of Merit. Hibberd was honored for his efforts to provide outreach and information to students, agricultural producers and processors across the state. Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman highlighted Hibberd’s wisdom and teamwork in responding to Nebraska’s historic blizzards and flooding in 2019 and to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Professional Involvement

Gus Hurwitz, law, and Elsbeth Magilton, executive director of technology, security and space law initiatives at the College of Law, were featured expert speakers at the Nebraska workshop of the University of Southern California’s Election Cybersecurity Initiative on June 18. Magilton gave a presentation titled “Cybersecurity Research and Programming” and Hurwitz participated in the Thought Leadership panel, which featured other Nebraska professors and state leaders. USC’s initiative is intended to strengthen election cybersecurity and make information regarding best election practices accessible to everyone.

Brian Kelly, architecture, was appointed to the education committee of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards by NCARB president-elect Robert Calvani. As part of the committee, Kelly will contribute to the development of programs and initiatives impacting architecture education, including oversight of the NCARB Education Standard, education alternatives for NCARB certification, Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure and lifelong learning opportunities.

Eric Berger, law, was the lead amicus for an amicus brief that was filed to accompany a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. A certiorari petition is a request that the Supreme Court order a court to send a case up for review. Berger helped with the amicus brief, which is a legal document filed by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter. The petition was In re Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Execution Protocol Cases (Roane v. Barr), and it challenges the legality of the federal government’s new execution protocol. Berger is an expert in constitutional law and has written extensively about lethal injection litigation. 


Lorna Dawes, University Libraries, authored “Through Faculty’s Eyes: Teaching Threshold Concepts and the Framework,” which was selected by the American Library Association’s Library Instruction Round Table as one of 2019’s top 20 most notable articles on library instruction. The piece explores which information literacy concepts are most important to faculty.

Jay Storz, biological sciences, co-authored a July 16 report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that describes the discovery of the world’s highest-dwelling mammal, a yellow-rumped leaf-eared mouse. Storz discovered and captured the specimen at the summit of an Andean volcano earlier this year.

Other News

Zhenghong Tang is the new director of the Community and Regional Planning Program in the College of Architecture. Tang, professor of community and regional planning, has been teaching with the program since 2008, focusing on environmental planning, use of geographic information system, or GIS, in environmental design and planning, environmental impact assessment, hazard mitigation planning and planning theory. Tang succeeds Gordon Scholz, who retired June 30.

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