Achievements | Honors, appointments and publications for Sept. 22

· 3 min read

Achievements | Honors, appointments and publications for Sept. 22

Herbie poses with the Cheer Squad during the home opener for the Husker football team.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
Herbie poses with the Scarlets dance team during the Sept. 16 home opener for Husker football.

Recent achievements for the campus community were earned by Karen Acurio Cerda, Emma Balunek, Kwame Dawes, Shudipto Dishari, Jared Gallub, Jack Hilgert, Rajesh Keloth, Oghenetega Obewhere and Vinodchandran Variyam.


  • Emma Balunek was awarded the 2023 Donald W. and Glennis A. Kaufman Research Award for her master’s project on the coyote-badger hunting relationship, “You Go Over and I Go Under.” Balunek is in the Master of Applied Science program in the School of Natural Resources, working with Platte Basin Timelapse, Michael Forsberg, and John Benson’s Lab of Predator-Prey Ecology. The award supports field-based ecological research conducted in the grasslands of the Great Plains, focusing on native mammals by graduate student members of the American Society of Mammalogists. Read more here.

  • The forthcoming poetry collection, “Sturge Town,” from Kwame Dawes has been named the Poetry Book Society Choice for Winter 2023. His work was selected by poets Jo Clement and Roy McFarlane. Dawes’ book is the first to receive a Choice selection for Peepal Tree Press, an international press headquartered in England. Dawes is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English.

  • Shudipto Dishari, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and graduate students Oghenetega Obewhere, Karen Acurio Cerda, and Rajesh Keloth, earned the first place award in the full paper category at the ASEE Midwest Section Conference, held in September in Lincoln. The paper, “Implementing a Virtual STEM Camp for Middle- and High Schoolers in a Post-COVID Climate Leveraging Prior Experience,” explored how Dishari and fellow researchers conducted outreach to children to improve STEM literacy.

  • Jared Gallub, junior biology major and member of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln ROTC, completed his initial field evaluation for the U.S. Air Force at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, The field evaluation consists of 18 days in a high-stress environment, designed to measure trainees’ ability to lead across multiple disciplines while honing their physical and mental fitness, leadership aptitude, critical thinking, and resilience. Gallub demonstrated outstanding preparation, character and determination earning him the No. 1 ranking among his 401-trainee group composed of students from over 145 different universities across the nation.

  • Jack Hilgert, conservation education coordinator with the Nebraska Forest Service, has been selected for the North American Association for Environmental Education’s EE 30 Under 30 Award. He is the first and only Nebraskan to be recognized. The 30 Under 30 celebrates the unique and passionate leadership of talented young leaders around the world and gives them a professional boost to increase their impact. Read more here.


  • The work of Vinodchandran Variyam, professor in the School of Computing, was featured in the Research Highlights section of the September 2023 issue of Communications of the ACM, the flagship magazine of the Association of Computing Machinery. Variyam’s paper, “Model Counting Meets Distinct Elements,” was included in the magazine’s “Research Highlights,” which provides readers with a collection of outstanding research articles, selected from the broad spectrum of computing-research conferences. Articles are first nominated by editorial board members or approved nominating organizations, then subject to final selection by the editorial board.

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