Great Plains Fellows

Great Plains Fellows annual meeting
Great Plains Fellows annual meeting
Great Plains Fellows annual meeting

Fellows constitute the core of the intellectual community that is the Center. They publish research and book reviews in the Center’s journals, give talks as Olson Lecturers, write for the Center’s book series, speak at annual Great Plains symposia, advise the Great Plains Art Museum. They sit on the Board of Governors and choose the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize winner. Their work helps the Center meet its mission of increasing understanding of and appreciation for the people, cultures, and natural environment of the Great Plains.


Welcome new Fellow and Affiliate Fellow

The Center welcomes eleven new Fellows / Affiliate Fellows for spring 2020:

Megan M. Adkins-BollwittAssociate Professor, Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, University of Nebraska-Kearney

Specialties: S.T.E.M., Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Teacher Education Preparation

Dr. Adkins holds a B.S. in Community Health and in K-12 Health and Physical Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She acquired her M.S. in Teaching Physical Education with an emphasis on  special populations at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education with an emphasis in technology from UNL. Her research focuses on teacher preparation, S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and social emotional learning of under-served populations. Dr. Adkins teaches method courses, and focuses student preparation on experiential learning through a homeschool Physical Education teaching lab, S.T.E.M., and SEL afterschool programming she has developed.


Ashlee Dere, Associate Professor, Department of Geography/Geology, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Specialties: Soil geochemistry, soil morphology and genesis

Dr. Dere holds a B.S. in Earth Sciences from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo,  an M.S. degree in Soil Science, and a Ph.D. in Geosciences, both from Penn State University. Her research focuses on weathering and soil formation across a range of natural environments as well as the impact of agriculture on soil and water chemistry in the Great Plains. She teaches Soil Genesis, Process Geomorphology, Critical Zone Science, Introduction to Physical Geology, Senior Thesis Writing, Professional Development in the Geosciences, Geologic Field Experiences, and coaches the UNO Soil Judging Team.


Angela Hollman, Associate Professor, Cyber Systems, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Cybersecurity in education

Dr. Hollman holds a BS in Computer Information Systems, an MS.Ed. in Instructional Technology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from UNL. Her research focuses on overcoming digital inequities in rural areas, particularly in cybersecurity education and Internet broadband speeds. She teaches beginning and advanced networking and systems courses as well as offensive and defensive cybersecurity courses. She also coaches the cybersecurity competition teams.


Jesse Korus, Assistant Professor, Conservation and Survey Division, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Specialties: Groundwater geology, Sedimentology, and Stratigraphy

Dr. Korus holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Nebraska, M.S. in Geology from Virginia Tech, and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Nebraska. He has research and Extension appointments at UNL. His research aims to understand the formation of sedimentary aquifers and the geological characteristics that influence groundwater flow, aquifer response to pumping, and groundwater-surface water interactions. He has worked extensively on modern and ancient river systems on the Great Plains. His Extension program aims to make geological data, technology, and software tools more accessible to Natural Resources Districts for groundwater management.


Kristin Malek, Event Management Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Specialties: ROI of events, economy development and economic impact of events, rural tourism, event operations

Dr. Malek holds a M.S. degree in International Tourism from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Her research and extension work focuses on experiential event design and incorporating events into a community’s overall tourism strategy. At UNL, she teaches Introduction to Event Operations and Advanced Operations and is the faculty advisor for the Nebraska Event Management Association.


Richard Mocarski, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Health Disparities, Community-Based Participatory Research, Stigma

Dr. Mocarski has a BA in English and Psychology from the University of Michigan, as well as an MA in Communication Studies and a PhD in Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Alabama. His current research centers on reducing health disparities in the Great Plains Transgender and Gender Diverse populations. In this multi-prong effort, Dr. Mocarski leads patient-based interventions aimed at developing self-efficacy and leadership skills within the community.


Bianca Ott Andrate, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, UNL

Specialties: Grassland ecology and management

Dr. Andrade holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an M.S.  in Forest Engineering from the Federal University of Paraná. She earned a Ph.D.  in Botany from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Her research focuses on better understanding the patterns of vegetation distribution in space and time, using floristic and functional metrics and plant-soil interaction. She is also interested in big data analytics as a tool to disentangle and better understand the complex factors that govern these patterns to support sustainable use and restoration.


Dustin Ranglack, Assistant Profession, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Large mammal ecology, conservation, and management

Dr. Ranglack holds a B.S. in Wildlife Science and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Utah State University. His research focuses broadly on large mammal ecology, conservation, and management, with a specific focus on wildlife habitat selection, movement, and human-wildlife conflict. He teaches Range and Wildlife Management, Wildlife Conservation, Large Mammal Ecology, Animal Community Ecology, Predator Ecology, and other courses as needed. He is also the faculty mentor for the UNK student chapter of The Wildlife Society and the UNK IACUC Chair.


Sabrina Russo, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Specialties: Plant ecology and diversity

Dr. Russo holds a B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D.  in Ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the patterns, causes, and consequences of ecological diversity, with emphasis on plant communities.  She teaches Ecological Interactions, Plants in Human Medicine, and Plant Biology.


Julie Shaffer, Professor, Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Invertebrate microbial interactions

Dr. Shaffer is a first generation college student who holds a B.S. in Biology and English from the University of Sioux Falls and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research focuses on invertebrate microbial interactions with an emphasis on disease transmission, but she has also explored the microbial community of various environments from aquatic systems to agricultural soil. She is currently the Chair of Biology at UNK and teaches microbiology classes for undergraduates and online graduate students.


Nathan Tye, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Agricultural history, Great Plains history

Dr. Tye holds a B.A. in History and Theology from Creighton University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research charts the lives of transient agricultural laborers, better known as hobos, as they moved across the Great Plains and West during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He teaches Nebraska and Great Plains history, Midwestern history, U.S. history and digital history courses.


Kelly Willemssens, Lecturer, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Specialties: Ecology, insect physiology, and animal behavior

Dr. Willemssens visits us from Belgium and completed both her Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Ecology at UNL. She is currently a lecturer at UNL, where she incorporates Great Plains' fauna and flora in her classrooms and field trips. Her Master's research focused on the endangered American burying beetle, which used to thrive throughout the Great Plains region and the eastern United States. Her current research focuses on extremophiles in the thermal pools of Yellowstone National Park.


Melissa Wuellner, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Specialties: Fisheries Ecology and Fisheries Management

Dr. Wuellner holds a B.S. in Biology from Ball State University, an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University – Bozeman, and a Ph.D in Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University.  Before moving to UNK in July 2017, she was a faculty member at SDSU for 7 years. Her research includes energy dynamics, habitat use, and movement ecology of recreationally important fishes and population and community dynamics of streams and reservoir fisheries. Dr. Wuellner teaches ichthyology, fisheries ecology, aquatic trophic ecology, human dimensions, and biostatistics. She is the co-advisor to the UNK Fish and Wildlife Club, an Associate Editor for Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, and an active member at various levels in the American Fisheries Society.


AFFILIATE FELLOWS

Nico Arcilla, President, International Bird Conservation Partnership

Specialties: Avian ecology, migration, and conservation

Dr. Arcilla earned a B.A. from Yale University, M.S. from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Georgia. Her research assesses bird community and population responses to human impacts such as habitat loss and degradation, invasive alien species, and climate change to contribute to conservation strategies. Working with collaborators in the Americas, Africa and Madagascar, Europe and the Middle East, and the tropical Pacific, she has produced nearly 40 scientific publications to date. Her current projects include investigating the effects of climate change and land management on Neotropical migratory songbirds breeding in the Great Plains, which are among the most rapidly declining birds in continental North America.


Brennan Jordan, Associate Professor, Department of Sustainability & Environment, University of South Dakota

Specialties: volcanology, geodiversity, tourism

Dr. Jordan holds a B.A. in geology from Hofstra University, an M.S. in geology from Idaho State University, and a Ph.D. In geology from Oregon State University. His research has focused on volcanism in Iceland, but he has just completed a sabbatical in Scotland to add new dimensions to his research in geodiversity and tourism. He teaches a variety of geology classes at USD, as well as a course in Energy & Sustainability.  He is also an associate director of the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium.


FELLOW NOMINATION PROCEDURE

Next nomination period: October 2019

Fellows of the Center shall include scholars presently holding regular appointments at the University of Nebraska who are concerned with the past, the present, and the future of the Great Plains. Candidates for this status must be nominated by a Fellow and must present evidence of a research, teaching, or public service commitment to the Plains region. Fellows are elected upon recommendation of the Nominating Committee and by a majority of the Board of Governors.

Membership (Governance Document, Article IV, Section 1)

Documentation

Three documents are required for the nomination

  1. A letter from the nominee indicating interest in becoming a Fellow
  2. Nominee's current short vita (around two pages)
  3. Letter of nomination from a current Fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies Documentation should be sent by the nominator to:

Richard Edwards, Director Center for Great Plains Studies
University of Nebraska
1155 Q Street,
PO Box 880214
Lincoln, NE 68588-0214

or emailed to cgps@unl.edu

Procedure

Upon receipt of the nomination at the Center, it will be sent to the five-member Nominations Committee for their consideration. Following approval, they forward the nomination in the form of a seconded motion to the twelve-person Board of Governors. The Board of Governors votes on acceptance of the nominee. The Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies will notify the nominee and the nominator of the results of the Board action.

Other

No fee is required for designation as a Fellow. Fellows are kept apprized of all Center activities via email, especially the seminars and annual interdisciplinary symposia.


AFFILIATE FELLOW NOMINATION PROCEDURE

Accepting nominations: Oct. 1 - Nov. 8 2019

Affiliate Fellows of the Center shall include persons who have a professional interest in the Great Plains and the purposes and program of the Center and are not presently holding regular appointments at the University of Nebraska. Candidates for election must be nominated by a Fellow. The nominator must present evidence of a research, teaching or public service commitment to the Plains region. Affiliate Fellows shall also include any Fellow who no longer has an appointment at the University of Nebraska and who has not provided the Director with a signed letter resigning his or her Center affiliation. Affiliate Fellows shall be elected in the same manner as Fellows, but they shall not have voting privileges.

Membership (Governance Document, Article IV, Section 2)

Documentation

Three documents are required for the nomination

  1. A letter from the nominee indicating interest in becoming a Affiliate Fellow 
  2. Nominee's current short vita (around two pages)
  3. Letter of nomination from a current Fellow of the Center for Great Plains Studies Documentation should be sent by the nominator to: 

Richard Edwards, Director Center for Great Plains Studies 
University of Nebraska
1155 Q Street,
PO Box 880214
Lincoln, NE 68588-0214

Procedure

Upon receipt of the nomination at the Center, it will be sent to the five-member Nominations Committee for their consideration. Following approval, they forward the nomination in the form of a seconded motion to the twelve-person Board of Governors. The Board of Governors votes on acceptance of the nominee. The Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies will notify the nominee and the nominator of the results of the Board action.

Other

No fee is required for designation as an Affiliate Fellow. Affiliate Fellows are kept apprized of all Center activities via email, especially the seminars and annual interdisciplinary symposia.