Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Feb. 3

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Feb. 3

Recent accomplishments by the campus community were earned by faculty Steve Grives, Amit Jhala and Harris Smith; students James Wooldridge, Calla Kessler and Marcella Mercer; and the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.


Steve Grives has been named director of the Chamber Singers for the spring semester in the Glenn Korff School of Music. Prior to coming to Nebraska, Grives served as director of choral activities at South Dakota State University and as a visiting professor at DePaul University, North Central College and Loras College. He has served on the editorial board of Choral Journal, contributed to the International Choral Bulletin and presented interest sessions at state, divisional and national ACDA conferences. He is active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator across the Midwest. Click here for more information.

Amit Jhala, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture and Nebraska Extension weed management specialist, has been honored with an Early Career Outstanding Weed Scientist Award by the Weed Science Society of America. The award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an early career weed scientist in research, extension and/or teaching in the United States. This is the highest honor an early career weed scientist can achieve in a national level competition. Jhala will be honored at the 57th annual conference of the Weed Science Society of America Feb. 6-9 in Tucson, Arizona. To learn more about Jhala’s research, click here.

Harris Smith has been appointed director of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. Smith has been previously serving as interim director since Paul Steger stepped down as director to return to the faculty on June 30, 2016. Smith is a certified teacher of stage combat through the Society of American Fight Directors and a member of Actor’s Equity and the Screen Actor’s Guild. For more information, click here.


James Wooldridge, junior journalism student, placed fifth in the Photojournalism One – News and Features Competition of the 2016-17 Hearst Journalism Awards Program. Wooldridge received a $1,000 award and moved on to the next round of the competition. Calla Kessler, senior journalism student, placed 10th in the Photojournalism One – News and Features Competition. Marcella Mercer, junior journalism student, placed sixth in the feature writing portion of the Hearst Journalism Awards competition.


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter reached its professional development goals and was named a Star Chapter for 2016. Nebraska’s PRSSA chapter offers students a close look into the public relations field through speakers or mentors who are involved in the field, as well as other activities that prepare students for their careers. Chapters throughout the U.S. may be eligible for the Star Chapter Award by successfully completing at least seven out of 10 requirements including a high school outreach effort, a program on ethics and community service. The Nebraska PRSSA chapter was the only Big 10 university to be acknowledged with the 2016 Star Chapter Award.

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

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