Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Feb. 12

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Feb. 12

Recent honors collected by the UNL community include recognition for faculty Ruth Heaton, Jennifer Schmidt, Joseph Francisco, Xiao Cheng Zeng and Chigozie Obioma.


Ruth Heaton, the Gilmartim professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education was presented the 2016 Nadine Bezuk Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service in Mathematics Teacher Education. Heaton is leading efforts to build the mathematics instructional capacities of pre-K-8 teachers in Nebraska and studying their learning. At UNL, she collaborates with faculty in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences to prepare prospective teachers in an innovative program that integrates math content, pedagogy and field experience.

A UNL team’s research into cost-effective and durable energy-absorbing roadway barriers was honored in January by the Transportation Research Board. Jennifer Schmidt, research assistant professor at UNL’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, and her team – Robert Bielenberg, John Reid, Scott Rosenbaugh, Ronald Faller and Tyler Schmidt – received the 2015 Best Paper Award from the Roadside Safety Design Committee at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. It was the second time in three years that Schmidt’s work has earned the award. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven program units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which provides independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conducts other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. For more on the award, click here.

UNL chemists Joseph Francisco, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Xiao Cheng Zeng, Ameritas University Professor of chemistry, led a new study that was highlighted in the “Concentrates” section of Chemical & Engineering News. The study reveals a chemical reaction among water, ammonia and sulfur trioxide that may lead to the formation of ammonium bisulfate, a salt that in turn contributes to the formation of atmosphere-polluting aerosols.

Chigozie Obioma, English, earned a 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Debut Literary Work. Obioma’s novel, “The Fishermen,” also was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in late 2015.


Nicole L. Smith, sophomore geology and environmental studies major, has been awarded the George E. Condra Memorial Scholarship for 2015. Smith’s emphasis of study is in hydrology. She knew from a young age she wanted to be a geologist and work to protect and conserve our most valuable resource - water. The George E. Condra Memorial Scholarship is in memory of Dr. George E. Condra, director of the Conservation and Survey Division of UNL from 1921 to 1954.

Evan Hummel, a senior broadcasting major from Lincoln, placed third in the Hearst Journalism Awards radio competition. He submitted two pieces: one on sex trafficking in Nebraska and what the state is doing to combat the problem, and another on the recently passed Dreamers Drivers License law. He has advanced to the championship in San Francisco in June.

Andrew Barry, a junior journalism major from Lincoln, placed 11th in the Hearst Journalism Awards first multimedia competition. He placed in the multimedia features competition with his package “Tattered Wings,” which tells the story of a mother who works at a butterfly farm in Ecuador.

Tommy Rezac, a junior broadcasting major from Valparaiso, placed second in the Hearst Journalism Awards radio competition. He has advanced to the championship in San Francisco in June.

Ruth Heaton
Jennifer Schmidt
Xiao Cheng Zeng
Chigozie Obioma

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