Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Jan. 5

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Jan. 5

People stand beside a building as the sun sets over Whiteclay. Many of those who spend time drinking on the streets in Whiteclay spend their nights in a makeshift camp not far from the town.
James Wooldridge | Journalism and Mass Communications
People stand beside a building as the sun sets over Whiteclay. A student-led depth report examining alcohol use in the rural Nebraska community was named among the best global public health stories of 2017 by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Recent accomplishments by the campus community were earned by Leonardo Bastos, Joel Crowther, Michaela Cunningham, Kwame Dawes, Amanda Easterly, Aaron Hess, Azar Mohammad Abadi Kamarei, Srikantha Kodati, Abhiteja Konda, Marcella Mercer, Bingnan Mu, Carol Tscahmpl-Diesing, Ernest Tufuor, Bruno Canella Vieira and Clarisse Warren. The “Wounds of Whiteclay” depth report was also named a best story of 2017.


  • Kwame Dawes, professor of English and editor of Prairie Schooner, has been named to the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors. The honorary position has been held by some of the most distinguished poets in the United States, including W.H. Auden, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Adrienne Rich and Mark Strand. As a member of the board, Dawes will consult with the organization on matters of artistic programming, serve as a judge for the organization’s largest poetry prizes, and act as a poetry ambassador to the world. Learn more about this honor.

Kwame Dawes


  • Leonardo Bastos and Joel Crowther received International Plant Nutrition Institute Scholar awards for 2017 at the North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 15. The conference facilitates the sharing of new soil fertility and nutrient management research information and fertilizer industry developments. Bastos is an agronomy doctoral student working in agronomy, soil fertility and precision agriculture. Crowther is completing a Master’s of Agronomy. Learn more about this honor.

Leah Sandall, agronomy distance education coordinator, with Michaela Cunningham at the Western Seed Association awards ceremony.

  • Michaela Cunningham, an agronomy major, received a 2017 Western Seed Association scholarship at the association’s banquet in Kansas City on Nov. 9. The scholarships are awarded based on scholarship and an interest in the seed industry. Cunningham plans to start a native grass seed production operation in spring 2018. Learn more about this award.

Amanda Easterly (left),and Bruno Canella Vieira are recipients of the distinguished Henry M. Beachell Fellowship.

  • Amanda Easterly and Bruno Canella Vieira received the Henry M. Beachell Fellowship. The honor recognizes academic excellence and research potential in agronomic and horticultural sciences. Easterly’s research is focused on increasing wheat productivity through hybrids to the needs of a growing population. She received a doctorate during December commencement exercises and was advised by P. Stephen Baenziger, professor of agronomy and horticulture. Vieira, an agronomy doctoral student, is focusing on understanding how incorrect herbicide application practices can affect herbicide resistance in weeds. He is advised by Greg Kruger, associate professor of agronomy. Learn more about this honor.

  • Marcella Mercer, a senior journalism major, earned a first-place finish in the feature writing category of the 2017-2018 Hearst Journalism Awards Competition. Her story, “Fathers and Sons,” was selected first from among 154 entries submitted by 82 journalism programs. Learn more about this honor.

  • Wounds of Whiteclay: Nebraska’s Shameful Legacy,” a depth report by 11 College of Journalism and Mass Communications students was named among the best global public health stories of 2017 by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Editors ranked the Nebraska report No. 2 behind a story by the New York Times. Learn more about this honor.

Trailer: "Wounds of Whiteclay"


  • Nebraska’s Graduate Student Assembly awarded eight Graduate Travel Student Award grants for the spring semester. The award winners are: Abhiteja Konda, chemistry; Ernest Tufuor, civil engineering; Carol Tscahmpl-Diesing, communication studies; Aaron Hess and Azar Mohammad Abadi Kamarei, earth and atmospheric sciences; Srikantha Kodati, plant pathology; Clarisse Warren, political science; and Bingnan Mu, textiles, merchandising and fashion design. More than 70 applied for the grants, which are awarded three times each year. Awards are $400 for domestic/regional conferences and $600 for international conferences.

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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