Accolades, October 2023

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted November 3, 2023 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognitions

Paul Barnes, music, will perform at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine on Dec. 12 in New York City. The church, located near the original World Trade Center at 130 Liberty Street, was the only house of worship destroyed in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The church reopened in 2022 after being rebuilt as both a church and a national shrine. It is located in Liberty Park, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Barnes will present a program titled “Celebrating the Incarnation,” featuring piano works based on Byzantine and Jewish chant.  

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, civil and environmental engineering, was named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that change lives around the world. This prestigious honor is held by 3% of ASCE members. Bartelt-Hunt’s research focuses on the physicochemical fate of contaminants in agroecosystems; contaminant fate and transport in landfills; and water reuse in agricultural systems. 

Humberto Blanco, agronomy and horticulture, was named a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. Fellows are selected based on their professional achievements and meritorious service. Blanco’s research and teaching focuses on soil management, applied soil physics and interactions of soil-water-nutrient-plant relationships. Fellows were recognized at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America in St. Louis, Missouri.     

Scott Evans, Nebraska Extension, received the 2023 Educator Award from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. The award recognizes educators who have demonstrated remarkable dedication to advancing plant knowledge and fostering an appreciation for plants among their students. Evans, who is the horticulture program manager, focuses on volunteer management, guiding more than 270 Extension Master Gardeners. 

Katherine Frels, agronomy and horticulture, received the Hero for Innovation in Healthy Food award from the Foundation for Innovation in Healthy Food. The foundation aims to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in annual healthcare costs by increasing the nutritional value of everyday foods. Frels focuses her research on plant breeding and genetics, particularly developing improved varieties for winter wheat, barley and triticale. She was honored at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.    

Tim Gay, physics and astronomy, contributed to a documentary that recently won a regional Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The documentary, “The Immaculate Reception: How a Last-Second Heave Led to One of the NFL’s Biggest Controversies,” commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ iconic game-winning play from the perspective of their opponents, the then-Oakland Raiders. Gay helped craft the script and features prominently in the documentary, explaining some relevant physics to a group of Raiders who competed in the fateful playoff game. 

Sam Mombou, Sponsored Programs, received the Best Concurrent Session Award for the 2023 Financial Management Conference from the Society of Research Administrators International. His presentation, “I am Being Audited, Now What?” was honored for its significance and the quality of education offered.  

Laila Puntel, agronomy and horticulture, received the Early Career Award from the American Society of Agronomy. The award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in agronomy within seven years of completing their final degree. Puntel’s research focuses on soil fertility and precision agriculture. She was recognized at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, held in St. Louis, Missouri.  

Jamie Reimer, music, was selected as one of eight performers, and as the only singer, to perform at the International Alliance for Women in Music annual concert in Antwerp, Belgium, on Nov. 4. Reimer, a soprano, was selected by blind peer review for the concert, which recognizes the accomplishments of IAWM member composers and aims to increase awareness of women’s musical contributions. Reimer will perform “Shoe Jazz,” arranged for her and her collaborative pianist, Stacie Haneline, by composer Gwyneth Walker with text by Nikki Giovanni, an African-American poet. 

James Schnable, agronomy and horticulture, was selected as the Nebraska Corn Checkoff Presidential Chair by the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. The board made a $2 million commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2014 to establish the permanently endowed chair. The endowment supports the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for research and development related to corn demand. Schnable was selected for his expertise in genomics and phenomics and his strong connections in the innovation and new uses sectors.    

Korey Taylor received the Diversity Award from the Nebraska State Bar Association for his leadership as president of the Midlands Bar Association and his efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in Nebraska’s legal community. Taylor has provided education, support and partnership with NSBA’s Diversity Section, Nebraska’s Legal Diversity Council and minority law student organizations.   

Shari Veil, journalism and mass communications, received the PRIDE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Relations Education from the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association. The awards are aimed at recognizing achievement in public relations research.  

Ashley Votruba, psychology, was selected as a New Voice in Dispute Resolution Scholar by the Association of American Law Schools. Votruba, an assistant professor in the law-psychology program, focuses her research on how cognitive biases, heuristics and culture influence policy and legal decision-making in the areas of alternative dispute resolution and tort, criminal and family law. The scholar program was established to foster emerging talent in the alternative dispute resolution field and provide a platform for growth and development. Scholars are paired with a mentor in the ADR community for guidance and support.  

Ava Winter, English, is one of five winners of the 2023 National Poetry Series competition. Winter was honored for their debut poetry collection, “Playing with the Jew,” which will be published by Milkweed Books in fall 2024. NPS is a literary awards program that sponsors the publication of five poetry books each year. Awardees are selected by poets of national stature.   

Nebraska Innovation Campus was named Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks. The designation recognizes research parks or innovation districts that have created an exceptional ecosystem that supports bringing technology from inception to market, leading to the sustainable growth of scalable businesses, creation of jobs and economic health in their respective region. NIC was honored at AURP’s 2023 International Conference, held Oct. 16-19 at the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus in Newark, Delaware. 

The University of Nebraska Press published two books, “Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves” (Bison Books, 2020) and “Hell on the Border” (Bison Books, 2021), both by Sidney Thompson, that were adapted for the Paramount+ miniseries Lawmen: Bass Reeves. The series, directed by Taylor Sheridan and starring David Oyelowo, debuts Nov. 5.  


Rhonda Fuelberth and Robert Woody, music, wrote an article about the inclusive practices of the Glenn Korff School of Music, which is featured in the International Journal of Music Education. The article describes the school’s focus on inclusivity, particularly its focus on composition as a primary form of musicianship; music-making experiences based on individual musical tastes; and partnership with an intergenerational choir that is inclusive of people with special needs.  

Daniel Tannenbaum, economics, received the award for the best paper published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics over the last three years. Selected by the AEJ Board of Editors, the article, “The Evolution of Work in the United States,” found that occupational change in the U.S. in the 20th century has been more substantial than previously thought. Tannenbaum and his coauthors used a new research approach that utilized digitized text of newspaper job ads, allowing the team to go farther back in time and collect information about how occupations have changed.      

Professional Service  

Kate Engel, Nebraska Innovation Campus, was elected to the board of directors of the Association of University Research Parks. AURP is a nonprofit international organization representing the leadership of research, science and tech parks that are aimed at promoting research institute-industry relations, fostering innovation and facilitating the transfer of technology from institutions to the private sector.            

Jillian Harpster, teaching, learning, and teacher education, joined the board of the Nebraska Writing Project, a network of professional educators and affiliated writers that provides opportunities to improve, enhance and celebrate writing for classrooms and communities across Nebraska. Harpster is a former English teacher who taught at Lincoln North Star High School for nine years. The Nebraska Writing Project is an affiliate of the National Writing Project, which aims to improve the teaching of writing and learning in schools and communities nationwide.   

Frans von der Dunk, law, contributed to multiple events at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku, Azerbaijan. He participated in a board meeting for the International Institute of Space Law, presented a paper and served on a panel. To complete the week, he served as a judge for the world semi-final round of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. 

Anthony Schutz, law, presented at the University of South Dakota’s Symposium on Rural Lawyers. He described the College of Law’s Rural Law Opportunities Program, which he leads, and provided insights on its successes over the past seven years.      

Other News 

Jim Coll was named the university’s next chief communication and marketing officer. Coll, a communications professional with 20 years of experience in higher education public relations, will assume the role Nov. 13. He has served as the chief communications officer at the University of Southern Mississippi since 2010. His experience also includes five years as a journalist followed by six years in leadership roles with the University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association.     

Sherri Jones was named interim vice chancellor for research and economic development. Jones, who started her term Oct. 9, has served UNL for almost 12 years, including as dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences since 2019. Before that, she spent seven years as chair and professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders and director of the Barkley Memorial Center. Jones, who is the Velma Warren Hodder Professor, succeeds Bob Wilhelm, who stepped down after leading ORED for five years.      

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