Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Aug. 24

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Aug. 24

Band members celebrate by lifting Sophia Kallas of Green Bay, Wisconsin, after the junior mellophone player won the march off competition at the Cornhusker Marching Band exhibition on Aug. 17.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Band members celebrate by lifting Sophia Kallas of Green Bay, Wisconsin, after the junior mellophone player won the march off competition at the Cornhusker Marching Band exhibition on Aug. 17.

Recent achievements for the campus community were earned by Marcia Dority Baker, Kurt Geisinger, Mary Happ, Carrie Heitman, Suat Irmak, Paul Jasa, Dipra Jha, Sophia Kallas, Lydiah Kiramba, Annie Krueger, Meetpal Kukal, Matthew Lambert, Aaron Nygren, Jenny Rees, Jennifer Rome, Brandy VanDeWalle, Tyler Williams and Gary Zoubek.


  • Marcia Dority Baker, assistant director of academic technologies with Information Technology Services, wrote a chapter, “Jump Ship,” in the recently published book, “We Can Do IT: Women in Library Information Technology.” The collection examines women in library-related information technology fields. It is designed to give these professional women an opportunity to present their experiences and encourage conversations that bring positive change.

  • Kurt F. Geisinger, director of the Buros Center for Testing and professor of educational psychology, will serve in multiple leadership positions this year both nationally and internationally, in the field of educational assessment and evaluation. The positions include: Appeals Council for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation; inaugural editorial board for the African Journal of Psychological Assessment; president of Division 2: Psychological Assessment and Evaluation of the International Association of Applied Psychology; president-elect of Division 5: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of the American Psychological Association; and a two-year term as president of the International Test Commission, an association of national psychological associations, test commissions, organizations and individuals.

  • Carrie Heitman, assistant professor of anthropology, has been invited to present at the National Science Foundation’s International Data Science Collaboration workshop in Belgrade, Servia, Aug. 26-28. Her presentation will examine “Evidential Reasoning in Archaeological Science and the Need for Humanistic Approaches to Big Data.”

  • Suat Irmak, Harold W. Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, received three Educational Blue Ribbon awards at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Conference. Irmak’s awards came in the publications category for the publications, “Evapotranspiration (ET) Basics and Estimating Actual Crop ET from Reference ET and Crop Specific Coefficients,” “Simplified Forms of Deep Percolation Estimation Method Below the Crop Root Zone in Silt-Loam Soils,” and “Simplified Forms of Surface Runoff Estimation Method for Silt-Loam Soils.”

  • Irmak and extension educators Aaron Nygren, Jenny Rees, Brandy VanDeWalle and Gary Zoubek received the Educational Blue Ribbon Award at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Conference. The honor is for the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network’s educational website. The network was established in 2005 with a team of external partners with the primary concept and goal of technology implementation in agriculture for research-based decision making. The network has become the largest water management network in the United States and has been significantly contributing to water and energy conservation.

  • Paul Jasa, a Nebraska Extension research engineer in biological systems engineering, received the 2018 Harold and Kay Scholl Excellence in Conservation Award at the 73rd Soil and Water Conservation Society International Annual Conference. The honor celebrates individuals who provide technical assistance and demonstrate effectiveness and creativity in conservation planning and plan application. Jasa was cited for developing crop production educational programs that improve profitability, build soil health and reduce risks to the environment.

  • Dipra Jha, associate professor of practice in hospitality, restaurant and tourism management, received the John Wiley and Sons Innovation in Teaching Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education on July 27 in Palm Springs, California. The award recognizes outstanding teaching in tourism and hospitality fields.

  • Lydiah Kiramba, assistant professor in teaching, learning and teacher education, served as an invited international scholar at the School of Languages for Education at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, from Aug. 13-19. During the visit, she presented a paper, “Language Purism in Education: English Medium Instruction in Kenyan Multilingual Classrooms.” She also conducted workshops for postgraduate students and presented to academics at the Fifth International Conference on Language and Literacy Education at the University of the Witerwatersand in Johannesburg. Kiramba’s invitation was funded by the National Research Foundation of South Africa through a collaboration with North-West University’s Dumisile Mkhize and a team of five South African researchers.

  • Matthew Lambert, associate professor of special education and communication disorders, was named a docent at the University of Eastern Finland. The formal appointment gives Lambert the rights and responsibilities of professor, including teaching graduate-level courses and serving on or chairing doctoral and dissertation committees. Docents are typically awarded to a faculty member who has substantially contributed to a European university. Lambert has worked with colleagues from the University of Eastern Finland since 2012.

  • Tyler Williams, cropping systems extension educator with Nebraska Extension, has received an achievement award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. Williams was honored with an achievement award for agents with less than 10 years of service in Cooperative Extension Service who have exhibited excellence in the field of professional extension. Williams received the award at the 2018 NACAA annual meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Aug. 1.


  • Mary Happ, an agronomy doctoral student in plant breeding and genetics, was one of 40 selected to attend the 2018 U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security, June 3-16, at Purdue University. Funded by the federal government’s Feed the Futures initiative, the learning program centers on developing participant understanding of the challenges surrounding global food security. Happ’s research focuses on quantifying phenotypic plasticity in soybeans and exploiting that within a breeding program to maximize trait stability across target geographical regions. Her adviser is David Hyten, Haskins Professor in Agronomy and Horticulture.

  • Annie Krueger, doctoral student in entomology, was named a professional development fellow by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. She is one of 17 inaugural recipients of the award. The fellows program provides a platform for mentorship for doctoral students with regulatory and industry mentors, nurturing skills needed for a future transition into the workforce. Krueger will use the award to participate in a three-year interdisciplinary training program. Her research aims to develop agricultural land management practices to improve the health of Monarch butterfly populations.

  • Meetpal Kukal, a doctoral student in biological systems engineering, received a first-place award in the Graduate Student Research Paper Competition organized by the Association of Agricultural, Biological and Food Engineers of Indian Origin. He also received a third-place award in the Boyd-Scout Graduate Research Paper Competition at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Conference. His adviser is Suat Irmak, professor of biological systems engineering.

  • Jennifer Rome, a doctoral student in communication studies, was selected to travel to Detroit to participate in Wayne State University’s Summer Doctoral Seminar on “Feminist Complications: Rethinking Dominant Rhetorical Narratives.” Rome presented with Bonnie J. Dow of Vanderbilt University. They focused on four decades of feminist scholarship in communication and narratives concerning the roles rhetorical discourses have played in feminist movements, progress, and activism in the United States.

This column is a regular feature of Nebraska Today. Faculty, staff and students can submit achievements to be considered for this column via email to For more information, call 402-472-8515.

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