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2008.05.02 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

Recent UNO Graduate Receives Fulbright Grant

Omaha - A recent University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) graduate will spend 10 months in Norway studying graduate level arctic geology and geophysics at University Center at Svalbard.

Jordan Mertes received a bachelor’s degree in physics, with an emphasis in geology, from UNO in December 2007. Beginning in August, Mertes will study on Svalbard, a small island north of Norway's mainland on the 80th parallel.

Mertes received a Fulbright Award, allowing him to spend the 10 months in Norway. Having recently been accepted to work on his master’s degree in glaciology and climatology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, Mertes will take hands-on courses in glaciology, remote sensing and air-ice-sea interactions at University Center at Svalbard, and conduct fieldwork in an environment well suited for the topic of study.

Established in 1946 by Congress, the Fulbright Program is the largest international exchange program in the United States. It offers opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

For nearly two years, as a UNO undergraduate, Mertes studied under Jack Shroder and Michael Bishop while monitoring glacial changes in the Himalaya Mountains from Omaha. Shroder and Bishop are professors in the Department of Geography/Geology.

“Jordan is, without a doubt, the best student I have had in the past 39 years here at UNO,” Shroder said. “It just goes to show what a few skills with math and computers will do for you.”

Mertes is co-author of five research abstracts and posters submitted at numerous national and international organization meetings and is working on other research projects.

Mertes is also a student research assistant in the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Regional Center for Southwest Asia, which includes the Hindu Kush and western Himalaya mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"I hired Jordan because of his wonderful work ethic, attention to details, and his ability to function in a multidisciplinary problem-solving environment. The quality of his work is fantastic, and he has a very bright future ahead of him,” said Michael Bishop, director of the GLIMS project, which is funded by NASA.

The objectives of the GLIMS organization, which are supported by objectives of the United Nations, are to monitor and, through the use of satellite and other remote sensing information, collect data on glacial velocity changes, potential hazards (glacial lake outburst floods and landslides, for example), glacial water resources and inter-annual glacial changes. The information gathered from regional centers is compiled in the world glacier inventory for use by scientists around the world.

For more information, call (402) 554-2762.

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UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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