Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for March 15

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for March 15

In honor of the university's 150th birthday, several buildings on campus and the Nebraska Capitol Building lit up in red on Feb. 14 and 15.

Recent achievements for the campus community were earned by Izzy Brehm, Kiyomi Deards, Veronica Duran, Jackson Grasz, Luciano Ramirez Guerra, Anna Gutmann, Lazzi, Jordan Newsom, Zahmeeth Sakkaff, Kelly Willemssens and Xiao Cheng Zeng.


  • Kiyomi Deards, University Libraries associate professor, has been named a visiting program officer for diversity and leadership by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). As a visiting program officer, Deards will conduct research and create resources on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in ARL member libraries and archives.

  • Xiao Cheng Zeng, Willa Cather Professor of Chemistry, has been named a 2019 Materials Research Society Fellow. Zeng earned the honor for his work on low-dimensional ice and clathrate gas hydrates, structures of ligand-covered gold clusters, catalysis with surface-supported gold and metal clusters and computational design of low-dimensional materials.


  • Izzy Brehm, Jackson Grasz, Anna Gutmann and Jordan Newsom, undergraduate students in business and architecture, earned fourth place in the CoreNet Global Academic Challenge. Over 40 teams from 36 countries around the globe competed in the challenge, which tasked students with addressing how a fictitious bank could counter technological disruptors in the industry.

  • Veronica Duran, graduate student in history, has been selected as a 2019 Humanities Without Walls pre-doctoral workshop fellow. As a fellow, Duran will participate in a summer workshop that aims to help prepare doctoral students for careers both within and outside the academy.

  • Luciano Ramirez Guerra, a first-year student in the College of Law, has been awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship for his commitment to workers’ rights and social and economic justic. The summer fellowships provide opportunities to students pursuing careers in public interest labor law.

  • Zahmeeth Sakkaff, graduate student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, recently earned a best poster award at the 2019 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Computational Science and Engineering Conference. Her winning poster was titled “Molecular Communication in Cell Metabolism Communication and Information-Centric Computational Tool in KBase.”

  • Kelly Willemssens, a graduate student in natural resources, is featured in a National Park Service podcast about the wetsalts tiger beetle. Willemssens has spent summers conducting research on the beetle as part of a project led by Leon Higley, professor of natural resources. Learn more about the research.


  • Nebraska’s student-led improv team Lazzi won second place at the College Improv Tournament (CIT) Heartland Regionals in Kansas City, Missouri. The team competed against 10 schools from Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.

This column is a regular 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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