Natural & Social Sciences

News & Notes

December 2014

Kurt B 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Kurt Brochard of the Sociology Department for being placed on the cover of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's, Fall 2014 Events Calendar.  Every year the museum explores questions about the effect of radical ideologies, the role of technology in spreading hate,and the responsibility of individuals in a series of sessions both across the nation and at the National Museum in Washington, D.C.

Kristy K-S Honor Coach

Dr. Kristy Kounovsky-Shafer and her daughter served as an honorary bench coach for the UNK Women's Basketball team on December 4th.  The College of Natural and Social Sciences offers hearty congrats to Kristy and thanks her for supporting the broader UNK community. 

November 2014

Dr. Jeff Wells from the History Department appeared on the Thursday morning edition of NTV's Good Life on November 20th.  Jeff spoke about digitizing historic photographs and how important digitizing documents and photos is to preserving history for future generations.  You can see Dr. Wells on NTV here:

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to Dr. Mahesh Pattabiraman on the receipt of a grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.  This award will help Dr. Pattabiraman continue his research until 2018.

October 2014

On October 25 the College of Natural and Social Sciences hosted the second Faculty Writing Day of the Fall Semester.  Fourteen of our colleagues across the entire university came to work on their research in a quiet yet collaborative environment.  All of our participants got a lot of work done and the college looks forward to hosting more of these events next semester.

Oct 25th Writing Day

The College of Natural & Social Sciences hosted its first alumni event of the year on Saturday, October 4.  NSS alums, family and friends enjoyed the Taste of Kearney food court, watched the game in the comfort of the sky boxes in the Union, and enjoyed ice cream and coffee at half time.  A good time was had by all.

NSS Footall 1 2014     NSS Football 2 2014

NSS Banners in the upper windows of the Nebraskan.

NSS Football 3 2014 

NSS guests at the Taste of Kearney.

NSS Football 4 2014

NSS guests enjoying the game in the Nebraskan.


Congratulations to Dr. BIll Meyer, Kearney native and a 1983 graduate from KSC with a major in Physics, who recently received the Exceptional Public Service Medal, the highest honor that  NASA can bestow.  A link to the story in the Kearney Hub may be found here: 

September 2014

On 27 September the College of Natural and Social Sciences hosted the first Faculty Writing Day of the 2014/15 academic year.  The writing day is a quiet time away from distractions so that faculty can concentrate on research and writing for publication.  Last Saturday, sixteen of our colleagues from across the four academic colleges at UNK attended our Writing Day, our biggest turnout yet!  NSS will host another Faculty Writing Day on 25 October.

NSS Writing Day Sept 27, 2014

Dr. Janet Steele of our Biology Department was on NTV this morning speaking about the Online Biology Masters Degree.  Please note that NTV changes and updates their video stream on a daily basis so to see Dr. Steele's interview, please click on the link below and search through the history to find her Sept 4th interview:

August 2014

The College of Natural and Social Sciences wishes hearty congratulations to Dr. Paul Twigg from the Department of Biology on receipt of his Pratt-Heins Award for Scholarship for 2014, Dr. Janet Steele from the Department of Biology on receipt of the Pratt-Heins Award for Teaching for 2014, and Dr. Carol Lilly from the Department of History on receipt of her Pratt-Heins Award for Service for 2014.

June 2014

Biggs/Betcher Book Cover

Congratulations to Dr. Doug Biggs of the UNK History Department and his wife Dr. Gloria Betcher of the English Department at Iowa State University on the publication of their book: Images of America: Ames from Arcadia Publishing in Charleston, SC.

May 2014

CNSS Hors Convo Spring 2014

The College of Natural and Social Sciences held its end of the semester Honors Convocation on Thursday evening, May 8.  The college honored twenty-one of its graduating seniors for their academic achievements, and wished them well in their future endeavors.

April 2014

Dr. Amanda Glass

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its hearty congratulations to Dr. Amanda Glass of the Chemistry Department for receiving an EPSCoR First Award Grant for her project: "Characterizing the Individual Metal Binding Sites Within the Nickel Metallochaperone SlyD." These grants are intended by the National Science Foundation to support early career faculty members to launch their research programs.

Dr. Robert Rycek (left) with Dr. Richard Miller

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratualtions to Dr. Robert Rycek (left in the photo above with Dr. Richard Miller) for his receipt of the Rocky Mountian Psychological Association's Distinguished Service Award for 2014.

The Student Physics Society (Physics Club) sent Louie Loper into space earlier this month. The students performed a their first flight of their high altitude balloon with Louie as their first passenger. The balloon reached the stratosphere (about 6 to 8 miles above the planet). The students plan to launch additional flights of their high altitude balloon in the summer and fall with equipment on board to gather various research data. To view a condensed version of the two-hour plus flight please see the YouTube link:

The College of Natual and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the following students who were inducted into Associate Membership in Sigma Xi (the Science Honor Society): Aspen Clements, Tad Fuchs, MIchael Hanrahan, Katelyn Haschke, Anna Nelson, Alexis Page, Erik Prenosil, Ryan Sowle, Corey Willicott, and Zach Woiak.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the following students who were inducted into Phi Alpha Theta (the History Honor Society): Nathan Bauer, Demares Campos, Kassandra Nelson, Grace Synek, James Tidei, John Adamik, Elizabeth Bradley, Marilyn Burns, Susan Ciconte, Bart Everts, Gina Gage, Sarah Hoegger, and Nicole Secord.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the following students who were inducted into Psi Chi (the Psychology Honor Society): Bethany Barleman, Sangeeta Boken, Whitney Brown, Aubrey Chavalier, Zach Davidson, Chesany Eberle, Rachael Gilliland, Katelyn Haschke, Jonathan Hess, Allison Hipke, Jordan Hopkins, Rachel Hosick, Deanna Howerter, Darcie Kennedy, Kelsey Kreiger, Megan Krueger, Kelsey Lehn, Sarah Pettay, Drema Roseberry, Kara Siedhoff, Alecia Snygg, Ryan Sowle, Jordanne Speer, Geoff Streeter, Becky Svatora, Petra Vanderweijden, Shaoning Wei, and Heather Wilkie.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the following students who were inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha (the Political Science Honor Society): Christopher Brown, Kevin Carder, Douglas Fenske, Brian Fountain, Margaret Jackson, Katie Jadlowski, Morgan Kristensen, Karson Kuntz, Nicholas Ridgeway, Adam Ripp, and Miguel Verdungo.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the Department of Biology for winning the University-wide Departmental Teaching Award for 2014.

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to the following students who won awards at Student Research Day:

Natural and Physical Sciences Poster Awards:
1st Place
Derek Kleier, Primary Presenter
Co-Presenter: Jordanna Glock
Department: Biology
Advisor: Dr. Dawn Simon
Title: Intron Degeneration in the Lichen Fungi Teloschistes

2nd Place
Tara Bjorklund
Department: Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Amanda Glass
Title: Characterizing the Metal Binding and Stability of Peptide 1 from the Metal-binding Domain of Metallochaperone SlyD

3rd Place
Aspen Clements
Department: Chemistry
Advisor: Dr. Mahesh Pattabiraman
Title: Gamma Cyclodextrin Mediated Cross Photocyclication of Substituted Alkenes

Behavioral and Social Sciences
1st Place:
Chelsea Atkins
Department: Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Krista Forrest
Title: I didn't do it: Alibi Prototypes for a Love-Triangle Murder Scenario
2nd Place:
Zach Davidson
Department: Geography & Earth Sciences
Advisor: Dr. Jason Combs
Title: College Student Debt by Region in the United States

3rd Place:
Renming Liu
Department: Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Stephanie Anderson
Title: Different Perception of Facial Attractiveness between American and Chinese

Graduate Reserach Posters

2nd Place:
Adrienne Conley
Department: Biology
Advisor: Dr. Wyatt Hoback
Title: Trap and Relocate for Burying Beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae: Nicrophorusspp.) and its Implications for Conservation of the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus Americanus)

Undergraduate Oral Presentation
1st Place:
Breanna Carman
Co-Presenters: Stacey Johnson and Brandi Hill
Department: Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Krista Forrest
Title: The Effects of Law and Order on Perceptions of Police Interrogations

Graduate Oral Presentation
1st Place:
Brittany Musil
Department: History
Advisor: Dr. James Rohrer
Title: Righteous Reprobation

March 2014

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to Dr. Pari Ford of the Mathematics and Statistics Department for being featured in an NTV news story on her use of the Flipped Classroom to teach Math. You can see the story here:

The College of Natural and Social Sciences extends its congratulations to Drs. Haishi Cao and Mahesh Pattabriaman of our Chemistry Department and Dr. William Lee Powell of our Physics Department on their receipt of EPSCoR grants to help them fund their ongoing research with undergraduate students at UNK. Well done!

Kudos to Award Winning History students from UNK! Our colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Omaha hosted the joint Missouri Valley History Conference/Phi Alpha Theta Regional History Conference this year from March 6-8 in Omaha. Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society, gives out awards each year to the best student paper in both undergraduate and graduate categories. Sarah Hoegger, a UNK graduate student from Minneapolis, MN won second prize in the graduate category and Megan Veburg, a Senior, won third prize in the undergraduate category.; Congratulations to both Sarah and Megan and to all of our UNK students and alums who presented at the MVHC!

Josh LallmanWe want to give a quick "shout out" to one of our NSS Freshmen student/athletes, Josh Lallman. Josh is a Bio-Chem major who is working to attend medical school. He is also an Omaha World Herald Scholar who combines excellence in the classroom with excellence on the court.

February 2014

Congrats to Dr. Ken Trantham for his being interviewed on NTV on February 10 about the Last Lecture Series at UNK. To see Dr. Trantham please click on the link here:

February 2014 Writing DayOn Saturday, February 8 the College of Natural and Social Sciences hosted the first Faculty Writing Day of the semester. This Writing Day was a time where faculty could come and focus on writing for publication away from cell phones, family and friends. Fourteen colleagues from all four of the academic colleges at UNK attended the event

December 2013

Steve RothenbergerOn Thursday evening, December 19, the College of Natural and Social Sciences hosted its bi-annual Honors Convocation to honor and recognize the best NSS graduates from the current semester. This Fall semester NSS honored eight students.
Dr. Steve Rothenberger, Professor of Biology, delivered the address to the students.

Fall 2013 Honorees The Fall 2013 honorees were Spencer Knight (CSIS), Wes Edison (CJUS), Dayana Rodriguez and Nicholas Stoll (Geography), Kathleen Sladek (History), Staci Cahis-Sanchez, Marguerite Gallegos, and Dayana Rodriguez (Biology).

Congratulations to Dr. Maha Younes of the Department of Social Work on receiving the 2013 UNK Innovation, Development and Engagement Award. The UNK IDEA award is given each year to a faculty member who has extended their academic expertise beyond the university for the benefit of the broader community.

Congratulations to Dr. Krista Forrest of the Department of Psychology on receiving the 2013 UNK Creating Teaching Award. The UNK CTA award is given each year to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching.

Congratulations to the Biology Department at UNK on receiving the 2013 UNK Department Teaching Award. The UNK DTA award is given each year to recognize excellent teaching and a commitment to serving students.

November 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Longo of our Political Science Department on the publication of this issue of Great Plains Research: A Journal of and Social Sciences that he co-edited with Dr. Richard Edwards, Professor of Economics and UNL. This issue of the journal contains research presented at the Symposium on Rural Communities and School Consolidation that was held on UNK's campus in April.

Congratulations are also due to Dr. Christie Maloyed, Assistant Professor of Political Science, for her article: "Place-Based Civic Education and the Rural Leadership Crisis in Nebraska," that Christie co-authored with Dr. J. Kelton Williams from Knox College in the same volume.

September 2013

NSS Students Receive iPads for Fall Semester in Dean's Lottery!

Students with iPadsAshleigh Teten (Sophomore Psychology Major) and Nathan Harms (Freshman Biology Major) each received the use of an iPad mini for Fall Semester 2013 courtesy of the NSS Dean, John La Duke. During the Loper Showcase on the evening of Move in Friday, Sophomore and Freshmen students who had their NSS hats were eligible to register to win the use of an iPad mini for one semester. Both students are making good use of their devices. Ashleigh uses hers to take notes and access Blackboard for her on line Psychology course this semester in addition to keeping up with her e-mail. Nate too uses the iPad a lot for Dr. Kovacs Chemistry course where there are a lot of videos. He also uses it to access his courses on Blackboard and keep up on e-mail. The college wishes these two students well in using these mobile devices (for a larger picture please click directly on the image below).

Paul PlinskeDr. Paul Plinske HERDED!!!

The College of Natural and Social Sciences wants to welcome Dr. Paul Plinske as the new HERD leader for Athletics. Paul brings an infectious enthusiasm to his new job. We look forward to working with him as he puts his brand on the athletic HERD. We encourage you to introduce yourself as you see him at athletic events or just around campus (for a larger version of the image please click directly on the picture).