Research News
Information to enhance your success at UNL | UNL Office of Research | Oct. 2015


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

The surgical robot developed by Shane Farritor, mechanical and materials engineering, and Dmitry Oleynikov, University of Nebraska Medical Center surgeon, received a prestigious Game Changer Award from Robotics Business Review.

Galen Erickson, animal science, received the Ruminant Nutrition Research Award from the American Society of Animal Science for his exemplary knowledge in feedlot ruminant nutrition.

William Kranz, biological systems engineering, received the Heermann Sprinkler Irrigation Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, which honors professionals who have made significant contributions to improving sprinkler irrigation. Kranz is the third UNL faculty member to earn this honor.

Kathy Krone, communication studies, and UNL alumna Erika Kirby earned the National Communication Association’s Charles H. Woolbert Research Award for their 2002 article in the Journal of Applied of Communication Research, “The Policy Exists But You Can’t Really Use It: Communication and the Structuration of Work-Family Policies.” The award recognizes research that has stood the test of time.

The 2015-2016 Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Program representatives from UNL are Tala Awada, interim associate dean, Agricultural Research Division; Tim Carr, chair, Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences; Donna Dudney, associate dean for undergraduate programs and student engagement, College of Business Administration; Frauke Hachtman, associate dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications; and Elizabeth Theiss-Moore, associate dean for faculty, College of Arts and Sciences.

Susan Sheridan, educational psychology, received the Senior Scientist in School Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association’s Division of School Psychology in recognition of her research accomplishments.

Dennis Molfese, psychology, received the inaugural EGI Educator Award in recognition of his work in cognitive neuroscience.

Bill Seiler, communication studies, won the Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award from the National Communication Association. Seiler will receive his award at the NCA annual meeting in November.

Rhonda Garelick, English, received the Stanley Kelly Jr. Visiting Professorship for Distinguished Teaching in Comparative Literature at Princeton University. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Garelick is teaching and developing courses at Princeton.

Tracy Frank, earth and atmospheric sciences, was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Dawn Braithwaite, communication studies, co-authored a paper that won the National Communication Association’s GLBTQ Communication Studies Division Monograph of the Year award. The paper, “Discursive Struggles Animating Individuals’ Talk About Their Parents’ Coming Out as Lesbian and Gay,” was published in the Journal of Family Communication.

Charles Francis, agronomy and horticulture, received an honorary doctorate Oct. 3 from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, a long-time collaborator on Francis’ research.

Donde Plowman, dean of the College of Business Administration, was named Woman of the Year for her leadership in raising funds for CBA’s new building. The honor was part of Lincoln’s INSPIRE — Celebrating Women’s Leadership Awards.

Anna Shavers, law, was named to the American Bar Association’s task force on international trade in legal services.

Judy Walker, mathematics, received the annual Louise Hay Award for outstanding contributions to mathematics education.

Don Wilhite, School of Natural Resources and agronomy and horticulture, received the 2015 Conservation Education Award from the Nebraska Wildlife Federation.

Catherine Wilson, law, was named to the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council. The council provides expertise, advice and recommendations to the FRB.

Joe Starita, news-editorial, received the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution History Award from the organization’s Omaha chapter. Starita has written two books on Native American history, The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge: A Lakota Legacy and I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice.

Stephen Baenziger, agronomy and horticulture, earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Plant Breeders. Baenziger was recognized for distinguished, long-term service to plant breeding, including research, publication, education, outreach and overall leadership.

Joe Luck, biological systems engineering, received the 2015 Gale A. Holloway Professional Development Award for his support of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ career development and membership activities.

Two UNL faculty received Nebraska Strategic Research Institute 2015 Distinguished Scientist Awards. Donald Umstadter, physics and astronomy, was recognized for his research that has potential to detect weapons of mass destruction materials. Laurence Rilett, civil engineering, was recognized for traffic engineering research that could significantly impact force protection requirements for entryways into military installations.

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