Accolades, March 2021

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted April 5, 2021 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognition

Fadi Alsaleem, architectural engineering, led a team of researchers from three University of Nebraska institutions that finished among the top 10 teams in a global competition to develop an artificial intelligence-driven model to advise policymakers on how to best handle the COVID-19 pandemic. The $500K Pandemic Response Challenge was run by XPRIZE, which designs and operates incentive competitions to solve the world’s grand challenges, and was sponsored by Cognizant. The Nebraska team also included Dan Piatkowski, architecture, and three Husker graduate students, Ali Hazem Al Ramini, Mostafa Rafaie and Mohammad Ali Takallou.

Kwame Dawes, English, was awarded the biennial PEN/Nora Magid Award for his editorship of the Prairie Schooner, the university’s international quarterly literary journal. The award recognizes magazine editors whose high literary standards and taste have contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication they edit. Since becoming Glenna Luschei editor of the journal in 2011, Dawes has overseen major changes, such as embracing technology to better disseminate literature and internationalizing the journal while staying true to the journal’s Nebraska roots. PEN America is a nonprofit literary and human rights organization whose memberships includes more than 7,500 writing professionals nationwide. Dawes will be honored during the 2021 PEN America Literacy Awards Ceremony, which will be held online on April 8.

Shudipto Dishari, chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award for 2021. This highly competitive award recognizes the outstanding young faculty across the U.S. who excel in STEM research, academic leadership and experience, and is designed to help them achieve tenure by providing an unrestricted gift of $15,000 per year for up to three years. The recipients are nominated by 3M researchers. 3M, based in Minnesota, is a multinational industrial and consumer technology company whose product range spans from energy materials to personal protective equipment.

Laurence Rilett, civil and environmental engineering, received the Frank M. Masters Transportation Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The award recognizes a member of the society for the best example of innovative or noteworthy planning, design or construction of transportation facilities that is described in a published form available to the engineering community. Rilett was honored for his leadership of the Mid-America Transportation Center and Nebraska Transportation Center, where he has worked to develop a diverse workforce in transportation engineering. He will be honored during the International Conference on Transportation and Development/Pavements virtual conference in June.

Nebraska’s School of Accountancy, part of the College of Business, was ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten in the latest Brigham Young University accounting research productivity rankings. This places it in the top 15 percent for faculty research among more than 600 national and international institutions measured. Nebraska earned the recognition based on the total research output of the school’s faculty in the top 12 peer-reviewed accounting journals.

William G. Thomas III, 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,” published by Yale University Press in November 2020. The prize, awarded by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, honors the year’s best book-length work of narrative history on any subject that combines intellectual distinction with felicity of expression. Thomas’ book traces the efforts of families in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to challenge slavery’s legitimacy by filing hundreds of lawsuits for freedom between 1787 and 1861. Judges praised Thomas’ book for combining “impeccable historical scholarship with a heartfelt personal narrative,” and it has resonated with readers for its focus on individual families and their quest for freedom.

Three University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty received President’s Excellence Awards from the University of Nebraska system. These are NU’s most esteemed honors for research, creative activity, teaching and engagement. The recipients are:

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in a tie with the University of Melbourne, was ranked No. 55 in the QS World University Rankings in the area of agriculture and forestry. Nationally, Nebraska ranked No. 21. The rankings are compiled by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specializing in education, and are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Master of Business Administration program, known as MBA@Nebraska, was ranked No. 1 nationally in the value for the money category, according to the latest Financial Times online MBA rankings for 2021. It also placed No. 7 overall nationally, and No. 14 globally. The ranking is the third top 20 achievement for the MBA@Nebraska program in recent months: In January, the program was ranked No. 17 by U.S. News & World Report, and in December placed No. 13 in The Princeton Review’s rankings.

Professional Service

Katherine Ankerson, architecture, was named 2021 chair of the Board of Directors for the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. In this role, Ankerson said she is looking forward to guiding the next generation of designers to be leaders and innovators who create resilient, healthy and beautiful worlds. The council is an independent, nonprofit, accrediting organization responsible for setting standards for and evaluating degree-granting interior design programs.

Jack Beard, law, was elected to serve as the editor-in-chief of the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations. The manual, which will become the definitive document on military and security law as it applies to space, draws on the knowledge and research of dozens of legal and space operations experts from around the world. The University of Nebraska College of Law is one of the four founding institutions and principal sponsors of the Woomera Manual Project.

Alok Kumar, marketing, was named an associate editor for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, one of the premier journals in marketing. The appointment comes after Kumar was recognized among the 2020 top productive scholars based on his publications over a 10-year period in the American Marketing Association’s top publications.

For the third consecutive year, the University of Nebraska College of Law was recognized as a 2020 Pro Bono Leader for its dedication to pro bono work and participation in the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers Program. Through that program, users post their civil legal questions to their state’s website. Authorized attorney volunteers provide legal information and advice. The ABA’s pro bono distinction recognizes organizations that have answered 75 or more questions during the calendar year.


Maria Marron, journalism, published “Misogyny Across Global Media,” her second book in the Communicating Gender series. The book analyzes global events – such as media coverage of misogyny in the art world, music and movies, femicide in Turkey and misogyny in Bollywood, among others – to argue that power inequality and misogyny stem from patriarchal institutional systems and contribute to women’s differential treatment and suffering. Marron edited chapters from scholars worldwide and co-wrote a chapter on representations of misogyny in the Irish and English press. The book was published by Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield.

Publishing Awards

The University of Nebraska Press continues to receive national attention for its work.

Other Noteworthy Accomplishments

Recent books published by the University of Nebraska Press have been reviewed in these national publications: The Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ms. Magazine, Booklist, Indian Country Today, Foreword Reviews, Booklist, News Review, Kirkus Reviews, Journal of Veteran Studies, Lilith, Hippocampus Magazine, Library Journal, New York Daily News, The Economist, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Research News Accolades Submission Form

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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