Accolades, March 2017

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted March 31, 2017 by Ashley Washburn

Awards, Honors and Recognitions

Braymond Adams, Jenny Dauer, Dennis Ferraro and Larkin Powell, natural resources; Roger Hoy, biological systems engineering; and Leah Sandall, agronomy and horticulture, received Holling Family Awards for Teaching Excellence in honor of their outstanding teaching in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Allison Bonander, communication studies and assistant director of the university’s speech and debate program, received the Outstanding New Coach Award from the American Forensic Association.

Martin Centurion, physics and astronomy; Sarah Gervais, psychology; and Timothy Schaffert, English, earned Susan J. Rosowski Professorships, which honor associate professors with distinguished records of scholarship or creative activity and who show great promise for future excellence.

Daniel Ciobanu, animal science, is a featured researcher in a new report, “Retaking the field – Strengthening the science of farm and food production.” The paper advocates for stronger federal support of the food and agricultural sciences.

David DiLillo, psychology; Timothy Gay, physics and astronomy; and Susan Hermiller, mathematics, were named Willa Cather Professors. The professorships, established in 2001, recognize full professors with exceptional records of distinguished scholarship or creative activity.

Alisa Gilmore, electrical and computer engineering, and Terri Norton, construction engineering, received Innovator Awards from the Empowerment Network in honor of their work with youth in the STEM fields.

Ronnie Green, chancellor, and Teresa Paulsen, chief communication and marketing officer, were named 4-H Luminaries by the National 4-H Council. Luminaries are accomplished and influential 4-H alumni with potential for raising awareness about 4-H and bringing it to a greater number of youth.

Jason Griffiths, architecture, and his design studio students received a 2017 Regional Excellence in Wood Design Award by Woodworks for their studio project called “Emerge.”

Terry Hejny, director of the Nebraska LEAD Program, received the Agri-Award at the Triumph of Agriculture Exposition Farm and Ranch Machinery Show in Omaha for his contributions to agricultural development in the Midwest.

Roger Kirst, law (emeritus), will receive the Nebraska State Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Legal Educator Award for his contributions to the fields of civil procedure and evidence. Kirst taught in the College of Law for more than 40 years.

Colleen Medill, law, will receive the 2017 John E. Weaver Award for Teaching Excellence in honor of her teaching contributions at the University of Nebraska in the community and federal judiciary arena.

Dan Piatkowski, community and regional planning, received the Excellence in Safety Research for Active Living Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for his abstract “Promoting bicycling in the face of ‘bikelash’ – Why bicyclists break the law and what it means for encouraging active transportation.”

Joe Starita, journalism and mass communications, is the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs 2017 Chief Standing Bear Humanitarian Award recipient. The award recognizes a lifetime of telling stories of Native Americans.

Betty Walter-Shea, natural resources, received the College Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Adrian Wisnicki, English, won first runner-up in the data visualization category of the 2016 Digital Humanities Awards for his multispectral imaging project.

The Department of History earned the system-wide Departmental Teaching Award for its unique and significant contributions to the University of Nebraska’s teaching efforts. The department will receive $25,000 to use as it sees fit.


Lorraine Males, teaching, learning and teacher education, and Hongfeng Yu, computer science and engineering, earned National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program awards. Males’ award supports her research to help K-12 mathematics teachers use textbooks effectively and enhance student learning. Yu’s award enables him to create a software tool that will allow users to visualize and explore billions, even trillions, of interconnected entities.

Creative Activity

Jeffrey Day, architecture, was featured along with partner E.B. Min on the internationally renowned architecture website ArchDaily for their design of Omaha’s Blue Barn Theatre and Boxcar 10.

Chigozie Obioma, English, sold the stage rights to The Fisherman, his 2015 novel, to a theater company based in Nottingham, England. The play will premiere in 2018.


Katherine Ankerson, architecture, was inducted as a Fellow of the Interior Design Educators Council at the 2017 annual conference. The fellowship honors outstanding contributions to IDEC.

Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, agricultural economics and Nebraska Extension; Brad Lubben, agricultural economics and Nebraska Extension; Reshell Ray, associate director of East Campus programs; Jessica Shoemaker, law; Eric Thompson, economics; Kim Wilson, architecture and Nebraska Extension; and Amanda Witte, project manager for the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, were selected for the Rural Futures Institute’s inaugural Fellows Program.

Ed Cahoon, biochemistry, and Daniel Schachtman, agronomy and horticulture, each received the Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists Award for their service to the society and distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology.

Mark Riley, biological systems engineering, will be inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, which comprises the top 2 percent of the country’s medical and biological engineers.

Professional Involvement

Dipra Jha, nutrition and health sciences, traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, to lead a workshop for tourism executives in that country. The presentation was part of a professional development series jointly administered by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce Business School.

Publishing Awards

Chris Cornelius, chemical and biomolecular engineering, is part of a team whose paper, “The role of TEOS-TIP within a pentablock ionomer: Morphology, physical properties, and ion transport,” was featured on the cover of Polymer Physics.

Bedross Der Matossian, history, received the Society for Armenian Studies Outstanding Book Award for Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire.

Peter Dowben, physics and astronomy, is part of a team whose publication was listed as one of the Highlights of 2016 by the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter.

Richard Duncan, law, wrote an article, “Justice Scalia and the Rule of Law: Originalism vs. the Living Constitution,” published in the Regent University Law Review.

Erica Ryherd, architectural engineering, published Worship Space Acoustics: 3 Decades of Design, a book detailing acoustic and architectural information for 67 worship spaces.

Yuebin Yu, architectural engineering, published Modeling and Control in Air-conditioned Systems, which discusses the state-space method of development.

Other Noteworthy Accomplishments

Sharon Kuska was appointed interim director of the architecture program in the College of Architecture. Her appointment begins May 15.

Sally Mackenzie, agronomy and horticulture, is co-founder of Epicrop Technologies Inc., which recently announced it closed a $3.2 million Series A-2 financing round. Funds will be used to advance the company’s epigenetic technology, which significantly boosts yield and stress tolerance in crops.

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Accolades are compiled from faculty and staff nominations, weekly Achievement columns published by University Communication, and college, center and departmental websites. To submit yours or a colleague's, complete the form below.

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