Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for July 28

· 6 min read

Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for July 28

Huskers who earned recent honors include Yves Bemba, Krista Benesch, Charlie Foster, Emily Frenzen, Aileen Garcia-Avanzado, Dee Griffin, Maricia Guzman, Katie Kodad, Joe Luck, Moi Padilla, Steve Pritchard, Kevin Reese, Kerra Russell, David Sellmyer and Brandi Woodell. Other honors include Emmy award for NET productions and a study abroad experience at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.


  • Yves Bemba, Charlie Foster, Maricia Guzman, Katie Kodad, Moi Padilla, Kevin Reese and Kerra Russell presented at the Multicultural Student Services Regional Conference, which was held July 20 at Iowa State University. The conference focused on current issues and trends, along with building professional networks. The team led presentations on two topics including methods that can help undocumented students navigate areas like financial aid, health care services, internships and post-graduation planning. The second presentation featured the university’s weekly Dish It Up conversations, which allow the campus community to engage in robust conversations on topics ranging from politics and current events to race and pop culture.

  • Dee Griffin, veterinarian and professor emeritus of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, received the Industry Leadership Award and was inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame during the group’s annual banquet, held July 11 in Denver. The national award recognizes distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service and have made significant contributions to the advancement of the cattle-feeding industry. Griffin has been a leader in beef-cattle medicine and beef production systems for more than 40 years. He is widely recognized in the beef industry for helping to establish the nationally known Beef Quality Assurance program, a set of management practices and husbandry techniques that help improve herd health and ensure that consumers are provided a safe, high quality product.

  • Joe Luck, associate professor of biological systems engineering, has been named educator/researcher of the year by the Precision Ag Institute. The honor cited Luck’s work as an educator and his publications along with his development of precision agriculture data management workshops offered through Nebraska Extension. The annual workshops focus on farm data management, teaching participants how to utilize the data to drive decisions that impact crop production. The Precision Ag Institute was developed in 2006 as an independent global forum dedicated to the sharing advancements in precision agriculture. Learn more about the award.

  • Steve Pritchard, a Nebraska Extension educator at the Northeast Research and Extension Center, received the Bill Stevens 4-H Leadership Award from Federal Premium Ammunition. The award honors volunteers and professionals who are leaders in 4-H shooting sports. Pritchard has served as the state coordinator for Nebraska 4-H Shooting Sports for more than 15 years. Under his guidance, Nebraska’s shooting sports program has grown to an all-time high enrollment of nearly 5,000 youth. Pritchard has also trained nearly 1,000 adult volunteers over the years of his involvement. Read more about this award.

  • David Sellmyer, director of the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, served as co-editor of the recently published book “Magnetic Nanomaterials: Fundamentals, Synthesis and Applications.” The 16-chapter book outlines how the latest developments in magnetic nanoparticles and nanomaterials are advancing the fields of biomedicine, energy storage, water treatment and more. Learn more about the book.


  • Krista Benesch, a sophomore music education major, earned an honorable mention at the 2017 Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy. For the international competition, Benesch performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Non So Piu” and Ernest Chausson’s “Les Temps de Lilas.” Read more about the award.

  • Emily Frenzen, a sophomore agricultural and environmental sciences communication major, has received a $2,000 scholarship from the Nebraska Corn Growers Association for the 2017-2018 academic year.

  • Aileen S. Garcia-Avanzado and Brandi Woodell received 2017-18 Presidential Graduate Fellowships from the University of Nebraska. The fellowships are awarded annually to a select group of NU-system graduate students on the basis of high scholastic performance and personal accomplishment. Fellows receive a stipend, provided through the University of Nebraska Foundation, that allows to pursue studies full-time. Woodell, a doctoral student in sociology, studies how factors such as family support, community involvement and social discrimination affect the health disparities between sexual minorities and heterosexuals. Her dissertation aims to identify key resources available and missing from the lives of sexual minorities and heterosexuals in rural areas in order to develop strategies for better health-related outcomes. Garcia-Avanzado, a doctoral student in child, youth and family studies, is interested in investigating how psychological and educational concepts can be integrated to promote higher achievement among low-income children. Her doctoral dissertation is focused on parental involvement in education among low-income families in the Philippines. Learn more about these awards.

  • Sixteen students from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film and one from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications studied at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England. Along with attending theater productions and workshops, the students performed under candlelight in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The trip was led by Wesley Broulik, assistant professor of practice in theatre and film. Participating students include Emmalee Allen, Emily Blythe, Brittany Carter, Kasey Halvorson, Ciara Hergott, Tatianna Hizar, Jazmine Huertas, Brina Miller, Luke Morken, Candace Nelson, Nicholas Russell, Katie Schini, Clayton Shellgren, Kaitlin Triplett, Katherine Vondrak, Cullen Wiley and Taylor Winks. The study abroad experience was supported by the Hixson-Lied endowment. Learn more about this study abroad opportunity.


  • NET recently received two Emmy awards from the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as an honor from the Public Radio News Directors. The Emmys were for “Nebraska Volleyball Championship: Destination Omaha” in the sports — one time special category, and “Paleo Slueths” in the documentary — historical category. NET and Harvest Public Media earned a first-place honor for “Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat” in the investigative/enterprise news category during the news directors’ national conference. The collaborative reporting project, which included work by public radio stations in Missouri, Iowa and Colorado, focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Learn more about these awards and productions.

This column is a regular Friday 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.

Nebraska's Kerra Russell (from left), Moi Padilla, Kevin Reese, Maricia Guzman, Charlie Foster, Yves Bemba and Katie Kodad led presentations at the first Multicultural Student Services Regional Conference, which was July 20 at Iowa State University.
Surrounded by family, Dee Griffin (center) accepts the Industry Leadership Award from the Cattle Feeders' annual banquet.
Joe Luck
Nebraska’s Steve Pritchard (left) accepts a leadership award from Conrad Arnold, national 4-H shooting sports program coordinator.
David Sellmyer
Emily Frenzen
Students from the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film rehearse a final production of “Romeo and Juliet” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.

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