Accolades, March 2024

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted March 28, 2024 by Tiffany Lee

Honors and Recognitions

Rick Bevins, psychology, earned an MED Associates Brady-Schuster Award from Division 28 of the Society for Psychopharmacology and Substance Use. The award honors mid-career or senior scientists who conduct outstanding research underscoring the fundamental importance of behavioral science to psychopharmacology or substance use. Bevins’ research focuses on understanding the behavioral, neural and pharmacological factors contributing to drug use and misuse.    

Molly Brummond, law, received the Limitless Leadership Award from Ms. JD, an organization that promotes women in the legal profession and provides an online forum for dialogue and networking among women lawyers and law students. Awardees are selected for professional excellence and leadership, advocacy for gender equity, and community engagement and mentorship. Brummond, assistant dean for student development, created the College of Law’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, which supports women lawyers through one-on-one development and coaching sessions, special programming opportunities and regular women’s leadership conferences.

Crystal Garcia, educational administration, was included on a list of 40 outstanding women in higher education published by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The magazine’s list features women who are tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges with extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their communities. Garcia’s work examines the mechanisms by which racially minoritized college students experience campus environments, specifically focusing on campus climates and the role of student affairs in student experiences.  

Mary Anne Holmes, Earth and atmospheric sciences, received the Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award from the European Geosciences Union. The award recognizes an individual’s contributions to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion in the geoscience community. Holmes was honored for her work to transform the workplace climate in the geosciences and beyond by providing training for researchers that addresses implicit bias, bullying and sexual harassment. She is also internationally recognized for improving the processes of faculty recruitment, retention and promotion.

Chun-Hsing (Jun) Ho, Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar for the 2024-25 academic year. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is the largest fellowship program for U.S. scholars, enabling them to teach, conduct research and carry out professional projects around the world. Ho will spend six months in Finland evaluating the impact of freeze-thaw cycles and moisture damage on pavement performance in that country. He is partnering with Pauli Kolisoja, a professor at Tampere University in Finland who leads the TerraRoad research group. Ho is hoping the collaboration will eventually lead to an exchange program between UNL and Tampere.

Taeyeon Kim, educational administration, received the Educational Change SIG Emerging Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association. The award recognizes an early career educational scholar who has a strong record of original and significant scholarship related to educational change. Kim’s work explores the intersections of leadership and policy, focusing particularly on how leaders can challenge unjust systems and humanize practices to empower marginalized students and communities.     

Shuai Nie, computing, was named to the “100 Brilliant and Inspiring Women in 6G” list for 2024. The list is sponsored by Women in 6G, a community launched with the mission of closing the gender gap and increasing diversity in the telecom field by providing support to women interested in 6G-related careers. 6G refers to sixth-generation wireless technology, a future standard for wireless communication that will succeed 5G. Women on the list were selected for their research accomplishments and passion for contributing to 6G technology. Nie’s research focuses on terahertz communications, wideband communication networks in smart agriculture, and integrated sensing and communications.

Kristen Olson, sociology and director of the Bureau of Sociological Research, was named a 2023 fellow of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research at the group’s annual conference. MAPOR fellows are members who made significant contributions through scholarship, service to the organization or other means. They are selected by the MAPOR president in consultation with the executive council.  

Sue Sheridan, school psychology and Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, was elected to the National Academy of Education. The academy, which advances high-quality education research and its use in policy and practice, consists of U.S. members and international associates who are elected based on outstanding scholarship or leadership related to education. Members serve on expert study panels that address pressing issues in education and are deeply engaged in the academy’s professional development fellowship programs. Sheridan is the first Husker to be elected to the academy.    

Francisco Souto, art, art history and design, was invited to participate in an exhibition at the 2024 Venice Biennale. The Venice Biennale is an international cultural exhibition hosted in Venice, Italy, by the Biennale Foundation and includes art and architecture exhibitions as well as music, dance and film festivals. Souto will participate in “Personal Structures,” a contemporary art exhibition that will be on display April 20-Nov. 24.


Nirupam Aich, civil and environmental engineering, and his research group recently published an article, “Influence of Water Chemistry and Operating Parameters on PFOS/PFOA removal using rGO-nZVI nanohybrid,” in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. The paper discusses development of a novel nanomaterial for capturing and destroying “forever chemicals” from the water. These chemicals, called per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are a major threat to global public health because of their high toxicity. In the paper, Aich’s team showed how water properties including pH, salt concentration and the presence of natural organic matter, as well as oxidant and PFAS concentration, affect PFAS removal using an adsorptive/catalytic nanomaterial. The study lays the groundwork for designing materials for PFAS treatment and removal from water.       

Lauren Gatti, teaching, learning and teacher education, was a visiting scholar at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, during March. She launched her recently published book, “The New Political Economy of Teacher Education: The Enterprise Narrative and the Shadow State,” which she co-authored with Viv Ellis, dean of education at Monash. The duo delivered lectures to the public in Melbourne and to faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Gatti also delivered a separate lecture on her teacher education research to faculty at Monash.     

Aemal Khattak, civil and environmental engineering, co-authored the paper “Safety and Operational Analysis of Free Right-Turn Ramps at Rural Intersections,” which recently received the 2024 Best Transportation Research Board Freeway Operations Committee Paper Award. The paper, selected from more than 50 submissions, discusses traffic safety and operational efficiency at rural intersections, particularly focusing on the impact of free right-turn ramps. Khattak and co-authors MM Shakiul Haque and Jon Camenzind will be honored at the 2024 Mid-Year Meeting and the 2025 TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Yan Ruth Xia, Maria de Guzman, and Cody Hollist, child, youth and family studies, along with Rosario Estinaou of the Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology in Mexico, edited a book focused on the contemporary realities of adolescents, titled “Global Perspectives on Adolescents and their Families.” The volume discusses how cultural settings, technological advances, globalization and unsafe situations like war and extreme poverty affect the well-being of adolescents around the world.

The University of Nebraska Press published “Continental Reckoning: The American West in the Age of Expansion” by Elliott West in 2023. The book received the Bancroft Prize from Columbia University in the City of New York. The prize is one of the most distinguished in the field of American history and/or diplomacy. West’s book lays out the main events and developments that explain the emergence of the American West and its birth in the broader narrative of American history between 1848 and 1880. This is the third time a book published by UNP has received a Bancroft Prize.    

Professional Service

Cory Armstrong, journalism, and Sharon Baldinelli, advertising and public relations, designed a series of media trainings recently attended by Nebraska’s public health directors. The trainings were focused on effective communication in the public health sector and included simulated interviews, opportunities to plan public health messaging and tips for navigating on-camera interviews. Armstrong and Baldinelli envision providing similar training for professionals in other sectors.

Marco Barker, vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion, is among six national leaders elected to serve on the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ board of directors. The association has members from around the world and is dedicated to improving quality and equity in undergraduate education.

Brandon Johnson, law, presented a paper-in-progress, “Consolidation of Powers,” at the Northeastern University Law School’s Junior Scholars Conference. The paper addresses how the Supreme Court uses the language of separation of powers to increase its own role in administrative policymaking. The conference brought together 100 junior scholars from law schools across the country to engage with their peers.

Kevin Pope, director of the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, will be the next deputy chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Research Units Program. The program was launched in 1935 to enhance graduate education in fisheries and wildlife sciences and to facilitate research and technical assistance between natural resource agencies and universities. Nebraska’s Cooperative Unit currently includes nine graduate students and three federal scientists, with a fourth to be hired this spring. Jon Spurgeon, research assistant professor in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research unit, will step into Pope’s former role.   

Rahul Purandare, computing, was named an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. The monthly publication is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society that focuses on studies that have potential impact on the construction, analysis or management of software.

Other News

After a national search, Nav Ghimire was appointed as the associate dean with an agriculture and natural resources (ANR) focus in Nebraska Extension, part of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He is currently the associate director and program evaluation leader for University of Idaho Extension. In his new role, Ghimire will initiate, build and enhance the effectiveness of ANR Extension programs through leadership and coaching efforts. He will also identify and pursue opportunities for integration and collaboration across campus to address critical challenges faced by Nebraskans. Ghimire’s tenure begins in June, pending Board of Regents approval.   

Martha Mamo was reappointed as head of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, a position she has held since 2019. In her five-year tenure, the department has made progress in all three of its mission areas: teaching and learning, research and extension. Specifically, the department introduced a core curriculum and expanded hands-on and experiential learning opportunities. Mamo has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in soil science from Alabama A&M University. She holds a doctorate degree in soil science from the University of Minnesota-St. Paul.

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