Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Sept. 18-Oct. 1

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Sept. 18-Oct. 1

Donde Plowman (standing), dean of the College of Business Administration, talks with students. Plowman was named Woman of the Year in Lincoln's inaugural Inspire — Celebrating Women's Leadership Awards.
University Communications
Donde Plowman (standing), dean of the College of Business Administration, talks with students. Plowman was named Woman of the Year in Lincoln's inaugural Inspire — Celebrating Women's Leadership Awards.

Recent honors collected by the UNL community include recognition for Dawn Braithwaite, Charles Francis, Melissa Homestead, Darren Johnson, Gary Pickard, Donde Plowman, Matthew Schaefer, Anna Shavers, Patricia Sollars, Judy Walker, Don Wilhite and Catherine Wilson. Read on for more information about each award.


Dawn O. Braithwaite, professor and chair of communication studies, is a co-author on an article that won the National Communication Association’s GLBTQ Communication Studies Division Monograph of the Year award. The article, “Discursive Struggles Animating Individuals’ Talk About Their Parents’ Coming Out as Lesbian and Gay,” published in the Journal of Family Communication. Braithwaite authored the article with Diana Breshears, who earned a doctorate in communication studies from UNL in 2011 and is now at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Charles Francis, professor of agronomy and horticulture, has earned an honorary doctoral degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The award is for Francis’ contributions to agroecology teaching and creative activity in education research. He has collaborated with colleagues at the Swedish university for many years, developing curricula in sustainable agriculture and agroecology. The award will be presented Oct. 3 at the university’s Ultuna campus in Uppsala, Sweden.

Melissa J. Homestead, professor of English and program faculty in women’s and gender studies, is featured in the lead essay in a new volume of Cather Studies, Willa Cather and the 19th Century. Her essay is “Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality.” The volume was published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Gary Pickard and Patricia Sollars, faculty of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, respectively, have co-authored a study that recently appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, authored with researchers from Northwestern University, has revealed how the herpes virus rewires a cellular protein to access the central nervous systems of its hosts. Pickard and Sollars contributed to the study by examining this neuroinvasive process in animal hosts.

Donde Plowman, dean of the College of Business Administration, was named Woman of the Year during Lincoln’s first-ever Inspire — Celebrating Women’s Leadership Awards. Plowman was honored for her efforts in raising $80 million in private donations to construct a new College of Business Administration building. The awards, sponsored by the Lincoln Journal Star, CHI Health, University of Nebraska and Nebraska Wesleyan University, were presented Sept. 22 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel.

Matthew Schaefer, professor of law and director of the College of Law’s space, cyber and telecommunications law program, was one of 15 participants in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Commerce Roundtable. Held Sept. 1 in Pasadena, California, the event examined the best methods and approaches to regulating space activities, including space tourism, asteroid mining and on-orbit satellite services. The discussion included coverage of recent bills passed by the House (HR2262) and Senate (S1297). Schaefer’s recommended approach to third-party liability is included in both bills, and his recommended approach to space flight participant liability is in the House bill. Schaefer also helped draft and is a co-signer of two letters sent to Congressional leaders in support of the property rights provisions in the House bill.

Anna Shavers, has been appointed to the American Bar Association’s task force on international trade in legal services. The task force works to: monitor ongoing trade negotiations and other initiatives that impact trade in legal services; inform and educate bar association members and state regulators about legal services trade issues and how they will impact the practice of law; and communicate about legal services with representatives from the Office of U.S. Trades and Department of Commerce. Shavers’ appointment concludes in August 2016.

Judy Walker, professor and chair of mathematics, has earned the 26th annual Louise Hay Award. The honor, which will be presented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle, Washington, in January, recognizes outstanding achievements in any area of mathematics education. Walker earned the award for her leadership and contributions as a mathematical scholar and educator.

Don Wilhite, professor of natural resources, has been selected to receive the 2015 Conservation Education Award from the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. The award is for Wilhite’s work to understand and educate others about climate change and its impact on Nebraska. It also recognizes his co-authorship of “Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska,” A September 2014 publication that documents many of the key changes that Nebraska will face as a result of climate change.

Catherine Wilson, professor of law, has been named to the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council. The council includes individuals with consumer- and community development-related expertise who provide information, advice and recommendations to the Federal Reserve Board. The council’s first meeting is Nov. 20 in Washington, D.C.


Darren Johnson, a senior actuarial science major, was awarded the Actuary of Tomorrow — Stuart A. Robertson Memorial Scholarship by the Actuarial Foundation. The scholarship recognizes the academic achievements of undergraduate students pursuing a career in actuarial science and who have completed at least two actuarial examinations.

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.

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