Nebraska EPSCoR announces new recipients for annual FIRST Award

November 9, 2022

Funding, expert reviews assist early-career faculty in pursuing national distinctions

To help Nebraska’s early-career scientists prepare to pursue important large research grants, such as the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, Nebraska EPSCoR conducts annual FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—Awards.

Each year several dozen CAREER Award aspirants submit pre-proposals to Nebraska EPSCoR’s FIRST Awards competition, with a select group of these applicants meriting FIRST Award “Finalist” status. In early fall 2022, chosen finalists were invited to advance, and prepare full proposals patterned after the NSF CAREER Award format; all FIRST Award Finalists gain expert scientific reviews on their submissions. From the Finalists group, FIRST Award Recipients advance to receive $25,000 for their further national award submission efforts (an amount which must be matched by each Recipient’s department)—in addition to the valuable reviews by national-level scientists outside Nebraska, engaged by Nebraska EPSCoR.

At Nebraska EPSCoR’s meeting of its State Committee on November 2, the following FIRST Award Recipients were selected:

  • Mona Bavarian, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Mohammad Ghashami, UNL Mechanical and Materials Engineering
  • Jayne Jonas-Bratten, University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Department of Biology
  • Guadalupe Leon, Doane University Engineering and Physics
  • Qiang Liu, UNL School of Computing
  • Jane Roitsch, UNK Department of Communication Disorders
  • Yanan Wang, UNL Electrical and Computer Engineering

More information about Nebraska EPSCoR’s FIRST Awards program is at, including past Recipients since the program began in 2004. Nebraska EPSCoR conducts this program with funding currently through NSF RII Track-1 Award OIA #2044049.