Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for June 15

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for June 15

The remnants of the wood pylons on the barrier which are designed to snap off while absorbing the energy of the crash to help slowly stop the car.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Midwest Roadside Safety Facility researchers, media and guests examine the results of a crash test held June 5. Members of the facility were recently honored by SAE International for their work in creating the SAFER Barrier.

Recent accomplishments by the campus community were earned by Merika Andrade, Christos Argyropoulos, Robert Bielenberg, Chris Bowling, Michaela Cunningham, Ronald Faller, Rodger Farr, Zachary Garrett, Shane George, Kolby Grint, Rose Holtz, Karla Lechtenberg, Marcella Mercer, John Reid, Chelsea Richardson, Mark Selzer, Dean Sicking, Samantha Teten, James Woolridge, Zachary Wrublewski and seven Nebraska Extension offices.


  • Christos Argyropoulos, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a senior member of the Optical Society of America. The honor is reserved for well-established researchers and recognizes their experience and professional accomplishments within the fields of optics and photonics. To be eligible, a candidate must have at least 10 years of significant professional experience in the field, be an active member of the society and be supported by two statements from current society members. Learn more about Argyropoulos and this honor.

  • Robert Bielenberg, Ronald Faller, Karla Lechtenberg, John Reid and Dean Sicking are among developers of the SAFER Barrier who recently received SAE International’s John Melvin Motorsports Safety Award. The honor is for individuals, teams and organizations whose research or work causes significant positive change and elevates safety in the world of motorsports. Developed at the Nebraska-based Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, the SAFER Barrier absorbs and reduces kinetic energy during high-speed impacts. There have been no driver fatalities in NASCAR or IndyCar events where a car has hit a retaining wall at a track where the SAFER Barrier is in use. Others who received the honor and assisted with the project are Anton George, John Rohde and James Holloway. Bielenberg and Lechtenberg are researchers at the roadside safety facility. Faller is director of the facility and a research associate professor. Reid is a professor of mechanical and materials engineering. Sicking, who served as director of the testing facility, is an emeritus professor of civil engineering. Learn more about the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility and the SAFER Barrier.


  • Michaela Cunningham, Rodger Farr, Kolby Grint and Samantha Teten, all agronomy students, were awarded scholarships in May by the American Society of Agronomy. The scholars will be matched with mentors at the beginning of the society’s annual meetings and acknowledged at an awards program during the event. Two to four Golden Opportunity Scholars from each class are selected and invited to attend Congressional Visits Day the following spring with all expenses paid. The Congressional Visits Day is an annual event held in Washington, D.C., which brings graduate students, scientists and society members to Capitol Hill to raise awareness and advocate for food, agricultural and natural resources research.

  • Marcella Mercer, a May journalism graduate, earned the Best Article of the Year award from among 605 entries at the Hearst Journalism Awards Intercollegiate Writing Competition in San Francisco. The winning entry, published in the Lincoln Journal Star on Feb. 10, examined the relationship between a Ugandan father and dying son. The College of Journalism and Mass Communications finished third overall in the writing and multimedia categories at the event and fifth among the 105 college journalism programs eligible to compete. Chris Bowling, also a May graduate, finished third in the Breaking News competition. James Woolridge and Merika Andrade finished in 10th place in the Multimedia Team Reporting/News category.

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be the most represented institution at the Biennial International Conference/Workshop on Teaching in Philosophy, June 25-29 at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. The conference is organized by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. Five philosophy graduate students, Zachary Garrett, Shane George, Mark Selzer, Chelsea Richardson and Zachary Wrublewski and one recent doctoral student, Aaron Elliott, will present at the conference. Richardson will deliver her presentation alongside Nebraska’s Rose Holtz, associate director of women’s and gender studies.


Seven Nebraska Extension offices have recently worked with the university’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Planning to complete emergency action plans. Those offices are in Antelope County, Burt County, Dakota County, Dixon County, Fillmore County, Knox County and Stanton County. The emergency action plans identify shelter-in-place locations, outline evacuation procedures, create office maps and compile staff contact lists.

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.

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