Laurence Rilett, professor of civil and environmental engineering, Keith W. Klaasmeyer Chair in Engineering and Technology, and director of the Nebraska Transportation Center and Mid-America Transportation Center, was chosen as one of three University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty to receive 2021 University of Nebraska President's Excellence Awards.
Rilett received an Innovation, Development and Engagement Award (IDEA), which recognizes faculty who have extended their academic expertise beyond the boundaries of the university, enriching the broader community.
Known for his research in transportation system analysis, Rilett has said his centers’ outreach programs are the most gratifying part of his work. He works extensively with K-12 students, many of them from underrepresented backgrounds, to interest them in college and STEMfields.
He led the development of “Roads, Rails and Race Cars,” an after-school program for middle schoolers that has served more than 12,500 students, including, after a recent expansion, students on the Omaha, Winnebago and Santee Sioux Reservations.
He also collaborated with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs on a STEM summer academy for Native American high school students.
Rilett also created the Mid-America Transportation Center’s Scholars Program, which provides mentorship to undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to help them navigate the graduate school recruitment, admissions and completion process.
Announced March 24, the President's Excellence Awards awards recognize faculty across the NU system whose work has had a strong impact on students, university and state.
“Faculty are at the heart of any great university, and the University of Nebraska is fortunate to have some of the world’s best serving across our four campuses,” said Ted Carter, president of the NU system. “The teaching, research and outreach that these faculty do on a daily basis has a remarkable impact on our 52,000 students, state and entire world. I am honored to be able to celebrate their work.”
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