Sam Underwood earns prestigious Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

Sam Underwood earns prestigious Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

Calendar Icon Jul 30, 2019      Person Bust Icon By UNO University Communications     RSS Feed RSS

Sam Underwood, graduate student in architectural engineering, received a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.
Sam Underwood, graduate student in architectural engineering, received a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.

Sam Underwood, a recent architectural engineering graduate, has earned a prestigious fellowship from the national Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Underwood, who will be pursuing a master's degree in the College of Engineering on Scott Campus this fall, is one of 50 students across the country to receive the $8,500 award.

"It's a really distinct honor to be recognized on a national level like that and it is also a huge motivator," Underwood says. "It's going to allow me to work even harder in graduate school because those financial constraints won't be as prominent."

The Phi Kappa Phi fellowship, Underwood said, will help him continue acoustical engineering research, particularly into understanding the impact of sound on how English and Spanish speakers comprehend auditory information. Underwood has worked closely with faculty advisors Lily Wang, associate dean for faculty and inclusion, and Erica Ryherd, associate professor of architectural engineering.

Underwood is an intern at Threshold Acoustics in Chicago this summer, helping advise architects on everything from wall construction that provides proper noise blocking to the layout of large performance spaces.

It is something Underwood he hopes to leverage to ensure that people are engaging in healthy sound habits as well as healthy physical or emotional habits.

"It's important to be more conscious about things like noise pollution and hearing conservation. Those are the sorts of things I encourage people to explore as well as being more conscious about their own environments and how that can impact our physical wellbeing and our emotional and psychological health as well."

Phi Kappa Phi's 2019 class of fellows represents students from 58 colleges and universities across the nation.

“We are pleased to have offered this opportunity to emerging scholars for the past 87 years, and are especially delighted this year to significantly increase both the amount of the individual awards as well as the total amount awarded,” said Mary Todd, executive director of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Earlier this year, Underwood received the Dean's Award from the College of Engineering and the Senior Vice Chancellor Outstanding Undergraduate Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was also involved in the UNO University Honors Program and played in the UNO pep band.