Achievements: Pedersen honored by science teacher association

· 6 min read

Achievements: Pedersen honored by science teacher association

Jon Pedersen

The Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) has selected Jon Pedersen, associate dean for research in the College of Education and Human Sciences, for its Outstanding Longtime Service Award.

Pedersen will receive the award at the ASTE Annual Conference in Portland, Ore., on Jan. 10.

A former high school science teacher, Pedersen has served on the board of directors of ASTE a total of 11 years, including serving as president. He has presented at the annual conference more than 30 times and has served on the editorial review board of the organization’s Journal of Science Teacher Education.

“He clearly and consistently exhibits his excitement and passion for working with others to improve science education, and this has certainly been a hallmark of Jon’s service to numerous professional organizations, but particularly to ASTE,” said Kevin Finson, professor of science education at Bradley University. “ASTE has absolutely been positively impacted by Jon’s long and ongoing service, and is much the better organization for it.”

ASTE’s award provides recognition for outstanding service by a senior member (minimum 15 years) whose efforts address issues, goals and actions that have intellectual merit and broader impact on science teacher education, while simultaneously serving the needs of ASTE members. ASTE is a non-profit professional organization composed of more than 800 members from countries around the globe. The mission of ASTE is to promote excellence in science teacher education worldwide through scholarship and innovation. ASTE is an international association of science teacher educators, scientists, science coordinators and supervisors, and informal science educators who prepare and provide professional development for teachers of science at all grade levels.

Faculty and Staff

James Volkmer will begin an interim stint as UNL’s director of scholarships and financial aid later this month. Volkmer, who is UNL’s assistant dean for business and finance for Academic Services and Enrollment Management, will assume the new role Jan. 12. He replaces Craig Munier, who last month announced his retirement from the university. Volkmer has indicated he will not be a candidate for the position and has agreed to serve as the chair of the search committee for a permanent director. An ASEM assistant dean since 2012, Volkmer brought more than 15 years of corporate finance experience to UNL. He has worked with several industry-leading corporations including Payless ShoeSource, Home Depot and Nike. Prior to joining UNL, Volkmer was the director of finance for Nike Global Marketing and Global Sports Marketing. The university has begun a national search and expects to have a permanent director named and in place this summer.

Dave Gosselin, natural resources, was re-elected member-at-large of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors executive committee through September 2016. The council is part of the National Council for Science and the Environment.

Sidnie White Crawford, professor of classics and religious studies, was elected to serve on the Council of the Society for Biblical Literature. The council is the governing body of SBL and determines its general policies and program initiatives and appoints committees, editors and additional representatives as needed. SBL is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies, with more than 8,500 international members. Crawford is also the chair of the board of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem, in its American Schools of Oriental Research Center.

Gary Kebbel, professor of journalism, will teach in Nigeria for two weeks in January as a consultant for the U.S. State Department. He will conduct training sessions for 50 reporters in the northern city of Kaduna and 30 media executives in the southern coastal city of Lagos. Kebbel will discuss using mobile and social media as additional techniques for reporters covering Nigeria’s presidential election this year.

The State Department has sent Kebbel to conduct previous journalism training sessions in Kenya, Russia, Taiwan and Tunisia. Additionally, he has lectured in South Korea, Lebanon and Latvia. Kebbel received two Fulbright Specialist grants from the State Department. In June 2014, he worked in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the headquarters of the African Union to help the communication staff add social and mobile media techniques to its strategic communication plan. During his first Fulbright trip to South Africa, he consulted with the journalism department at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria as it created a digital media curriculum. Recently, he was appointed to the national Fulbright Specialist selection committee, which determines who receives Fulbright Specialist grants from the State Department.


Keith Graham, a second-year master of fine arts student with an emphasis in printmaking in the Department of Art and Art History, has received a Caxton Club grant for his upcoming book arts project.

The Caxton Club of Chicago was founded in 1895 by 15 Chicago bibliophiles, who desired to support the publication of fine books in the spirit of the prevailing arts and crafts movement. Today they sponsor bibliophile events, often in collaboration with the Newberry Library. Caxton Club Grants are awarded for book-related projects to be completed in the academic year by students enrolled in a Midwestern graduate program in print culture studies, bibliography or library studies, history of the book or book arts areas. Graham was one of five book arts students from the Midwest who received funding for their book projects for 2014-2015.

Graham received $1,000 for his book arts project, which has a working title of “Vuelve, No Te Vayas (Come Back, Don’t Go).” His book will be a hand-printed, illustrated memoir of his 2006 trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, during an election and a teacher’s strike.

The UNL Ethics Bowl Team has earned a bid to the national Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition in Costa Mesa, Calif., which will be held Feb. 22. The competition is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. In the competition, teams are tasked with arguing and defending their moral assessment of some of complex ethical issues, based on cases developed by the APPE. Questions address a wide array of topics in business and professional ethics, in personal relationships, and in social and political affairs.

The UNL team will compete with 31 other teams. Members of the UNL team are Avery Messing, Drew Dudley, Kyle Kettler and Taylor Birdwell. The team is coached by graduate students Allison Fritz and Adam Thompson, along with assistant coaches Chelsea Richardson and Shane George. The faculty advisor is Aaron Bronfman, assistant professor of philosophy. The team competed last year in the national competition and were ranked 14th in the nation.

This column is a regular feature of UNL 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.

Keith Graham
Sidnie White Crawford
Dave Gosselin
Ethics Bowl team: (from left): Adam R. Thompson, Taylor Birdwell, Avery Messing, Kyle Kettler and Drew Dudley, Allison Fritz.
Gary Kebbel

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