Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Jan. 27

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Jan. 27

Recent accomplishments by the campus community were earned by Tricia Besett-Alesch, Cory Forbes, Joseph Francisco, Sheri Irwin-Gish, Manoj Kumar and Kim Todd.


Tricia Besett-Alesch has been named the University Health Center’s new associate psychology manager of the Counseling and Psychological Services unit. She is the point person for questions or concerns about students’ mental health. Besett-Alesch received her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and her doctorate in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She specializes in women’s issues such as grief, relationship issues, depression, eating disorders/body image and assessment. Additionally, she recently submitted an extensive self-study for the doctoral internship-training program, recently accredited by the American Psychological Association, at CAPS.

Cory Forbes, associate professor of natural resources, has been named a SENCER Leadership Fellow by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. SENCER is the National Science Foundation-supported signature program of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. It is a faculty development and science education reform initiative engaging students in science and mathematics by focusing coursework on real world problems. SENCER Leadership Fellows are distinguished educators whose leadership and commitment to the improvement of science, technology, engineering or mathematics education is exemplary. Forbes was one of five educators elected to the most recent class by members. Nominees were selected from a pool of 6,000 faculty members and academic leaders.

Sheri Irwin-Gish, executive director of communications, marketing and external relations for the College of Business Administration, earned the Distinguished Service Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, District VI. The award, presented Dec. 13 during the CASE districts V and VI joint conference in Chicago, honors individuals in alumni relations, development, communication and marketing with exemplary service to CASE and have bee involved in the advancement profession for at least eight years. Irwin-Gish has been a CASE volunteer for more than 20 years, most recently serving as district chair on the CASE IV board of trustees. For more information on the award, click here.

Manoj Kumar, postdoctoral researcher in chemistry, and Joseph Francisco, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, have published a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study proposes a new explanation for the chemical formation of sulfur-based aerosols, whose presence in Earth’s early atmosphere may have contributed to the development of life. Though researchers have generally believed that sulfur particles arise from the breakdown of sulfur gases by ultraviolet light, Kumar and Francisco performed calculations suggesting that water or sulfuric acid can drive this formation by catalyzing chemical reactions between sulfur oxide and hydrogen sulfide. The researchers ran their calculations with support from the university’s Holland Computing Center. To view the study, click here.

Ali Moeller, professor of teaching, learning and teacher education, was named president-elect of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The council is a professional organization dedicated to improving and expanding the teaching and learning of all languages. Moeller previously served as president of the American Association of Teachers of German and the National Federation of Modern Language Teaching Association. Moeller will serve as president-elect in 2017 and as president in 2018. For more information, click here.

Kim Todd, an associate professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, was awarded the Outstanding Extension Leadership Mid-Career Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi Nov. 8 at the Nebraska Extension Fall Conference. She was recognized for her years of dedicated leadership, service and programming to the state, to Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska. The Mid-Career Service Award recognizes the experienced Extension professional who has consistently exhibited leadership and excellence in extension program planning, delivery, evaluation and administration for over 10 years and less than 20 years. Recipients must also be a member of Epsilon Sigma Phi, the extension professionals organization and dedicated to fostering standards of excellence throughout Extension. For more information, click here.

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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