2020 was a year of challenges, successes and achievements

Calendar Icon Jan 06, 2021          RSS Feed  RSS Submit a Story

College of Engineering 2020 Year in Review.
College of Engineering 2020 Year in Review.

While 2020 was a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering had a year of success stories and major milestones – including our faculty and staff responding to community needs during the pandemic, pioneering research in numerous fields, student successes and accolades, and continuing construction of the new “Link” in the first year of the college’s facilities project.

Here is a look at some of the big 2020 stories from the college:

The Topping Out ceremony for the new "Link" was held Aug. 26, 2020.


Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering, led studies of wastewater to predict COVID-19 outbreaks.


Nicole Iverson's team is working to make nitric oxide sensors easier to use in studying healthy and diseased cells.


  • A new $1 million tomography machine, similar to the magnetic resonance imaging devices used in medicine but with greater power, will provide College of Engineering researchers and Nebraska businesses a deeper, 3D look at materials and printed products. 

  • Engineering researchers led by Yuris Dzenis (mechanical and materials engineering) have discovered a process for analyzing high-performance fibers when stretched to their breaking point, which could lead to development of more durable fibers. 

  • A team (photo above) led by Nicole Iverson (biological systems engineering) earned a $1.77 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to make nitric oxide sensors easy to use and to utilize them to study both healthy and diseased cells. 

  • Siemak Nejati (chemical and biomolecular engineering) was part of a team that discovered a way to synthesize a special type of organic solids that are lightweight, intrinsically porous and can be assembled like LEGO bricks to form larger structures. 

  • Yufeng Ge (biological systems engineering) received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to lead a team of researchers from three universities in expanding and standardizing plant phenotyping

Nebraska Engineering faculty (from left) Vitaly Alexandrov, Ryan Pedrigi and Rajib Saha earned NSF Early CAREER Awards.


  • Three faculty (photo above) - Rajib Saha (chemical and biomolecular engineering), Ryan Pedrigi (mechanical and materials engineering), and Vitaly Alexandrov (chemical and biomolecular engineering) - were awarded NSF Early CAREER Awards

  • Four engineering faculty were chosen to join the inaugural cohort of Faculty Fellows in the new Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, which studies the ever-changing relationship between law and technology. 

  • Ronald Faller, director of the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, received the 2020 Kenneth A. Stonex Roadside Safety Award for lifetime contributions to roadside safety, leading a harvest of awards for Nebraska transportation researchers. 

  • Virtual Incision, co-founded by Shane Farritor (mechanical and materials engineering), has reached another milestone on its road to transforming abdominal surgeries by way of a miniaturized, first-of-its kind surgical robot platform. 

  • Michael Sealy (mechanical and materials engineering) received the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' 2020 Outstanding Young Manufacturer Award, given to engineers age 35 or younger. 

Justin Humphrey, third from right, earned the SAME ROTC Award of Merit as one of the top engineering students/ROTC cadets in the nation.


Submit a Story