Accolades, May 2020

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted May 29, 2020 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognition

Katherine Ankerson, architecture, was named the 2020 International Interior Design Association Educator of the Year. The award recognizes a full-time design educator for outstanding accomplishments and commitment to interior design education. Ankerson was honored for her advocacy of design education and cross-disciplinary collaboration and her use of new technologies. She will receive a $10,000 cash prize, complimentary IIDA membership and a special feature on and the podcast Design Matters.

Soo-Young Hong, child, youth and family studies, received the 2020 Faculty Excellence Award from the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. Hong was honored for her contributions to developing Great Plains IDEA’s first bachelor’s degree, early care and education for a mobile society, and for teaching courses in that area. She also developed a faculty onboarding process for the degree program and serves as its assessment coordinator. Great Plains IDEA is an alliance of 19 institutions aimed at providing online, flexible, affordable instruction for the virtual community. Hong received a $2,000 stipend at the organization’s online conference on April 20.

John Kalu Osiri, director of Nebraska’s international business program and associate professor of practice in management, was selected for the Reciprocal Exchange program of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The honor comes with a $5,000 award from the U.S. State Department, which will fund Osiri’s international development and educational efforts in Africa’s Ivory Coast.

Elizabeth Niehaus, educational administration, was named a 2020-2021 fellow of the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The program aims to advance the national conversation related to expression and civic engagement on college campuses. Neihaus, one of 10 fellows selected this year, will receive a stipend to conduct research focused on students’ judgments about their peers’ classroom speech, and how students make decisions about whether to share their perspectives in the classroom. Through the program, she’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the 10 UC campuses for a week to engage with students, faculty, administrators and others.

Saravanan Raju, computer science and engineering, was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences’ Engagement Award. The award honors people or units involved in exemplary engagement activities that have an impact beyond the university.

Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, political science, received the James O’Hanlon Academic Leader Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. The award honors an academic leader who has demonstrated exceptional abilities in leading, serving, inspiring and collaborating on the university’s academic goals.

The University of Nebraska State Museum was listed as one of the top three landmarks in Lincoln by Three Best Rated, a company that identifies the top three businesses, professionals, restaurants, health care providers and more in cities across the nation. Selections are made by employees of Three Best Rated, who go through a 50-point inspection to examine a business’s reputation, history, cost and more.


William Grange, theatre and film, has written a book, “The Business of American Theatre,” that will be published in July by the British publisher Routledge. The 300-page book, which covers 1680 through 2020, is a highly readable resource for people interested in how money, and how much money, is critical to the art and artists of American theater.

Christopher Marks, music, has released a new CD, “Two American Organ Symphonies – One American Classic Organ.” The CD includes performances of two major organ symphonies, Leo Sowerby’s Symphony in G Major and Edward Shippen Barnes’ Second Symphony, Op. 37. Both were performed on the 1959 Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1308 organ at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Shreveport, Louisiana. The recordings on the CD represent more than 20 years of Marks’ performance and study.

Professional Involvement

Diane Barger, clarinet, was named president-elect of the International Clarinet Association. She has been a member of the organization for more than 30 years and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as Nebraska state chair from 2010 to 2020. She will begin a two-year president-elect term Sept. 1.

Justin Kirk, communication studies, was elected to the National Forensic Association Lincoln-Douglas Debate Committee. The committee is elected from the NFA membership to oversee Lincoln-Douglas debate, which is a one-on-one debate style where competitors argue for and against a resolution that is often focused on social and philosophical issues.

Jolene Smyth, sociology, will be an associate editor for Public Opinion Quarterly starting July 1. The journal is a leading interdisciplinary publication for scholars studying the development and role of communication research, current public opinion, and theories and methods underlying opinion research.

Adam Thimmesch, law, was appointed reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s Study Committee on state sales taxation after South Dakota vs. Wayfair Inc., a landmark case from the U.S. Supreme Court that greatly expanded state governments’ abilities to impose sales tax collection obligations on remote sellers. The committee will evaluate whether a uniform law is advisable and whether the ULC should undertake that drafting project.

Other News

Rick Bevins, Chancellor’s Professor and chair of psychology, was named director and principal investigator of Nebraska’s Rural Drug Addiction Research Center, established in 2019 as a National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. The center’s mission is to advance understanding of causes, impacts and interventions related to rural drug addiction in the Midwest, an area that has been historically understudied.

Sue Sheridan, director of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, was named associate dean for research and creative activity for the College of Education and Human Sciences. Sheridan, George Holmes University Professor of educational psychology, will continue to serve as CYFS director in addition to her new role. 

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