Research News
Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | May 2016


Recent awards, recognition and accomplishments by UNL faculty for research, scholarly and creative endeavors. We highlight faculty accomplishments in each issue of Research News. Let us know about yours by emailing

Jim Van Etten, plant pathology, received the American Phytopathological Society’s Award of Distinction, the highest honor the society bestows. Van Etten is just the 15th researcher to earn the honor since its inception in 1967. The award recognizes those who have made “truly exceptional contributions” to the field of plant pathology.

William Thomas, history, earned a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Thomas will work on a book called A Question of Freedom: The Ordeal of an American Family in the Age of Revolution, which will chronicle the history of a mixed-race family in Maryland over four generations and their 100-year struggle to become free from slavery. It dovetails with his digital humanities research on early Washington, D.C., law and families.

Terri Norton, architectural engineering and construction, earned a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to further her research into disaster debris management. She will use the award to examine how Japan recovered from a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Frances Kaye, English, and Harvey Perlman, UNL chancellor, were awarded the 2016 Faculty Senate Louise Pound-George Howard Distinguished Career Award, honoring individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to UNL during their careers.

Katherine Ankerson will join UNL as dean of the College of Architecture July 1. Ankerson comes from Kansas State University, where she is professor and head of the Department of Interior Architecture and Product Design. She was professor and associate dean of architecture at UNL from 2006-2011.

Ronnie Green was named the 20th chancellor of UNL. Green, the chancellor-elect, assumed full authority May 8. Green was Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources for six years and succeeds Harvey Perlman, who is retiring June 30. With Green’s new role, Ron Yoder is shifting from associate vice chancellor of IANR to interim vice chancellor. Marjorie Kostelnik, education and human sciences, is interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, stepping into a role that Green held previously. Beth Doll, educational psychology, is acting dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences during Kostelnik’s tenure in academic affairs.

Rhonda Fuelberth, music education, is president-elect of the North Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association.

Sue Burzynski Bullard, journalism and mass communications, placed second in an Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications teaching competition. She will present her lesson on properly crediting curated content at the AEJMC national conference in August.

Jenny Dauer, natural resources, and Natalie Umphlett, High Plains Regional Climate Center, were named 2016 Great Plains Fellows for their research, teaching and public service on issues concerning the Plains region.

Chris Fielding, earth and atmospheric sciences, will receive an honorary membership from the Society for Sedimentary Geology, a rare honor for scientific achievements in the field and service to the society.

Fayrene Hamouz, nutrition and health sciences, received the Nebraska Restaurant Association’s lifetime achievement award.

Ruth Heaton, mathematics education, was named co-chair of the Research in Mathematics Education special interest group, part of the American Educational Research Association.

Marjorie Kostelnik, education and human sciences, received the Sally Wysong Award from the Lincoln Association for the Education of Young Children for outstanding service to local children and their families.

David Swanson, computer science and engineering, was named chair of the governing council of the Open Science Grid.

Kurt Geisinger, educational psychology, was named a 2016 Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association, the organization’s highest honor for accomplished alums. Geisinger earned a doctorate from Penn State.

David von Kampen, music composition, was named the 2015 Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year for his work, “Under the Silver and Home Again.”

Jeffrey Day, architecture, and partners at Min | Day received an Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York, one of eight firms recognized.

Helen Moore, sociology, will receive the Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award from the American Sociological Association in August.

Matthew Waite, journalism and mass communications, earned an Innovation, Development and Engagement Award, one of the University of Nebraska’s top honors for research, creative activity, teaching and engagement. Waite founded UNL’s Drone Journalism Lab, the first of its kind to explore how to use drones in news reporting.

Michael Dodd, psychology, is the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award from UNL.

John Ballard, industrial and management systems engineering, received the James O’Hanlon Academic Leader Award at the UNL Honors Convocation. Ballard passed away in late April.

Yvonne Lai, mathematics, and Joe Lewis, entomology, received the Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award, given to UNL junior faculty members who are promising researchers and teachers. Lai has won two best paper awards and is known for designing courses that improve mathematical reasoning. Lewis is internationally recognized for his research in plant stress biology.

The Office of Graduate Studies gave seven awards for outstanding graduate education at its annual spring luncheon. The award winners and their advisers were:

  • Lowe R. and Mavis M. Folsom Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award: Michael Chao (Chris Calkins, animal science) and Sarah Fawn Montgomery (Joy Castro, English)
  • Lowe R. and Mavis M. Folsom Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award: Chase Aunspach (Carly Woods, communication studies)
  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education: Maureen Honey, English; Debra Hope, psychology; Emily Kazyak, sociology
  • Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant Award: Lei Li (Xiao Cheng Zeng, chemistry).
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award: Dane Bowder (Shi-Hua Xiang, biological sciences)

These UNL faculty received 2016 College Awards for Distinguished Teaching and the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award at the annual Honors Convocation:

  • Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources: Erin Blankenship, statistics
  • Arts and Sciences: Chad Brassil, biological sciences; Jeannette Jones, history and ethnic studies; Jody Koenig Kellas, communication studies; Nora Peterson, modern languages and literatures; Jordan Soliz, communication studies; Jeffrey Stevens, psychology
  • Business Administration: Jake Messersmith, management
  • Education and Human Sciences: Edward Daly, educational psychology; Elizabeth Lewis, teaching, learning and teacher education; Scott Napolitano, educational psychology
  • Engineering: Sohrab Asgarpoor, electrical and computer engineering; Deepak Keshwani, biological systems engineering
  • Fine and Performing Arts: Stanley Kleppinger, music
  • Law: William Lyons
  • Maureen Honey, English, received the Annis Chaikin Sorensen Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities

© 2022 University of Nebraska–Lincoln Office of Research and Economic Development | Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Notice of Nondiscrimination
University of Nebraska-Lincoln