Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for April 8

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for April 8

Recent accomplishments earned by members of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln community include honors, awards and publications collected by faculty/staff Jason Kautz, Liangcheng Du, Kelly Payne and Robert Zink.

Faculty and Staff

Jason Kautz, associate professor of practice in chemistry, is the 2016 recipient of the Hazel R. McClymont Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. The McClymont Award is chosen by the faculty instructional development committee and honors exemplary teaching. Kautz has taught at UNL since 2004. He will be recognized April 22 during the college’s Celebration of Excellence.

Liangcheng Du, professor of chemistry; Mario Scalora, professor of psychology; and Ken Price, Hillegass University Professor of American Literature, have been named 2016 recipients of the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award from the College of Arts and Sciences. The college ORCA awards were established to recognize Arts and Sciences faculty who have realized extraordinary accomplishments. Winners of the award, which is not affiliated with the University of Nebraska’s systemwide ORCA honor, will be recognized April 22 during the college’s Celebration of Excellence.

Kelly Payne, chief academic adviser in the Department of English, received the Dr. Charles Riedesel Outstanding Academic Advising Award. The honor is for an individual who demonstrates qualities associated with outstanding advising of undergraduate students. Payne regularly initiates new programs and projects and successfully mentors undergraduate by being a proactive adviser. “Kelly’s work has aligned closely with and has greatly enhanced departmental, college, and university efforts to recruit, retain, professionalize, nurture, and develop a sense of community and mutual support among our students and the wider campus community,” said Tom Lynch, professor of English.

Robert Zink is the newest faculty member of the School of Natural Resources at UNL. Zink has more than 30 years teaching and research experience that he will apply to the SNR, the School of Biological Sciences and the Nebraska State Museum of Natural History. While at UNL, Zink will teach courses in both SNR and SBS and will continue his research on the evolution of avian migration and genomics of birds in Baja, California. He will also expand his research to include the genetic structure of white-tailed deer, wild turkey and pheasant populations in Nebraska.


Kelsey Appleby, Jonathan Berger, Seth Schafersman and Tiffany Wieser received the William N. Wasson Student Leadership and Academic Award presented by the NIRSA. The four students received the award during the association’s national conference April 3-6 in Florida. UNL leads the nation with 74 recipients since the award’s inception in 1993 and is the only higher-ed institution in the country to have at least one Wasson Award winner every year the award has been given. The award is named after NIRSA’s founder Dr. William N. Wasson and is bestowed upon twenty-four undergraduate and twelve graduate students nationwide each year. It recognizes outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who are active participants, employees or volunteers in collegiate recreational sports departments. Criteria for the award includes self-improvement through leadership, academic success, activities, volunteerism and promoting inclusion.

Hunter Cave and Tommy Rezac, broadcasting majors, placed third in the Radio/TV Sports Event, Play-by-Play Talent category in the Broadcast Education Association’s 2016 Festival of Media Arts competition. The students received this award for their Nebraska-Minnesota football play-by-play. Also, Brianna DeBose, senior, tied for third in the Video Animation/Experimental/Mixed Category for her Black Lives Matter video and poem at the BEA’s 2016 Festival of Media Arts competition. DeBose was one of the organizers of UNL’s Black Lives Matter event last fall.

Kellan Heavican, Zach Penrice and Tommy Rezac, College of Journalism and Mass Communication students, received Grand Prize in the Audio Sports Program competition from the National Broadcasting Society. Heavican and Rezac were also both awarded the 2016 Grand Prize in the Audio Sports Segment competition. Heavican and Rezac both worked on the KRNU sports staff for the fall 2015 football season, and their winning pieces aired on the KRNU Husker Countdown show for the Nebraska v. Northwestern game. Penrice, who also works on the KRNU sports staff, produced a Grand Prize-winning pregame show, along with Rezac and Heavican, for a Husker men’s basketball game against Miami.

Allison Hess, senior journalism major, placed seventh in the Heart Journalism Awards Photo II/ Photo Picture Story/Series competition. Hess is a semi-finalist and will submit additional photography work to compete for a finalist place at the championships in San Francisco in June. Hess placed for her story “Test of Faith” which tells the story of a 7-year-old Ecuadorian girl’s battle with brain cancer and the toll it took on her family. She produced this piece as part of the Global Eyewitness program, which gives students the opportunity to travel to places of great human need and document the stories of the people there. Hess is also a photographer at the Daily Nebraskan and has held internships at ELLE Magazine, the Lincoln Journal Star and FotoFest International.

Adam Warner and JP Davis, College of Journalism and Mass Communications students, placed in the top 20 in the second of four Hearst Journalism Awards multimedia competitions. Warner placed 11th with a piece entitled “Gray Water.” It tells the story of Mario Alexander and Marcia Ines Castillo, two fishermen in one of the poorest, most densely populated neighborhoods in Managua, Nicaragua. Davis placed 13th with his submission “The Prodigal Sons.” Davis tells the story of young Nicaraguans’ journey from a life of crime and addiction on the street to rehabilitation and fellowship at El Hijo De Prodigo, a drug addiction rehabilitation center in Matiguas, Nicaragua. Warner and Davis have both traveled abroad with professor Bruce Thorson as part of the Global Eyewitness program. It was through this program that they both traveled to Nicaragua to create their winning submissions.

This column is a regular Friday 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.

Jason Kautz
Robert Zink
Allison Hess
Pictured (clockwise from top left) is Kelsey Appleby, Jonathan Berger, Tiffany Wiser and Seth Schafersman.
J.P. Davis (left) and Adam Warner

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