Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Oct. 12

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Oct. 12

Fall on East Campus
Craig Chandler | University Communication

Recent achievements for the campus community were earned by Kirk Dombrowski, Pete Pinnell, Wendy Smith, Megan Eckstrom, Rachel Gordon, Riley Jhi, Shaobin Li and Rachel Phinney.


  • Kirk Dombrowski, John Bruhn Professor of Sociology and director of Nebraska’a Minority Health Disparities Initiative, was selected to serve on the Big Ten Academic Alliance Health Equity Initiative Strategic Directions Task Force. The BTAA’s Health Equity Initiative Strategic Directions Task Force is a collaboration of member institutions with their respective health departments to conduct research with the goal of understanding and addressing the social determinants of health, and improving health outcomes of vulnerable children and infants across the eleven-state region.

  • Pete Pinnell, professor of art, has been elected the next president of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. In spring 2019, Pinnell will begin a four-year presidential cycle that includes one year as president elect, two years as president and a final year as past president. Pinnell is a longtime contributor to the council.

  • Wendy Smith, associate director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, was awarded the Don Miller Distinguished Service Award at the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Mathematics Conference on Sept. 21 in Kearney. The NATM board established the Don Miller Distinguished Service Award in 1989. Its purpose is to honor mathematics educators for their contribution to the improvement of mathematics education in the state of Nebraska.


  • Megan Ekstrom, Rachel Gordon and Riley Jhi, all UCARE grant recipients, presented papers at the 43rd annual European Studies Conference at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on Oct. 4-6. The students and their adviser, Beverley Rilett, assistant research professor in English, delivered talks as part of a panel on “George Eliot’s Relationships: Biographical and Data Visualization Implications.” Each student’s presentation examined different aspects of Eliot’s relationships. Ekstrom explored Eliot’s intimate relationships in “George Eliot’s Girlfriends: Contextualizing Lesbian-Coded Friendships in the Victorian Era.” Gordon discussed “George Eliot’s Transatlantic Friendships: Stowe, Fields and Phelps.” And, Jha focused on mapping techniques developed to represent Eliot’s circle of family members and friends in “Visualizing Relationship Data on the George Eliot Archive.” Learn more about the George Eliot digital archive created by Ekstrom, Gordon and Jhi.

  • Shaobin Li, a civil engineering doctoral student, earned the inaugural Student Life Cycle Assessment Leadership Award from the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment. The award was presented at the 18th annual ACLCA conference, Sept. 25-27, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The award recognizes Li’s leadership and research in pioneering the development of sustainability assessment techniques to apply in the meat packing industry. Read more about Li’s work.

  • Rachel Phinney, a meteorology major, has been awarded the Bob Glahn Scholarship in Statistical Meteorology from the American Meteorological Society. The $2,500 is awarded to a student who has shown a strong interest in statistical meteorology on the basis of academic excellence. These scholarships are intended to help further the education of outstanding students who are pursuing degrees in the atmospheric and related oceanic or hydrologic sciences. Phinney is also invited to attend the AMS Annual Meeting.

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.

Kirk Dombrowski
Pete Pinnell
Wendy Smith
Members of the Nebraska team that created the George Eliot digital archive are (from left) Megan Ekstrom, Rachel Gordon Riley Jhi and Beverley Rilett.
Nebraska’s Shaobin Li (center) receives the Student Life Cycle Assessment Leadership Award from American Center for Life Cycle Assessment representatives Bill Flanagan (left) and Debbie Steckel (right).

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