GRAND ISLAND DAY AT UNK TODAY (Wednesday, April 14).

Curt Carlson
Vice Chancellor for University Relations, 308.865.8529

UNK- Grand Island leaders were hosted on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus this morning (Wednesday, April 14) for Grand Island Day at UNK.

“The theme of today’s visit was to reintroduce our good friends from Grand Island to the opportunities that UNK offers,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “There are exciting things happening in Grand Island, and exciting things happening at UNK and throughout Kearney. Our communities have a great deal in common.”

The chancellor’s comments were part of a “State of UNK” presentation, which was followed by a panel discussion by a group of UNK students from Grand Island. Student panelists included Andy Greer, Brad Green, Andrea May, Sam Schneider and Vanessa Gauthier.

After the student panel, UNK professors Dr. Scott Darveau and Dr. Chris Exstrom presented information on their solar cell research. The two, both professors in the UNK Department of Chemistry,

lead the UNK Solar Energy and Nanoscience Research Group (SENRG).

In collaboration with electrical engineering faculty members at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, they are developing and studying new thin-film and nanocrystalline solar cell materials. In the past five years, the group has had five refereed journal articles, numerous professional conference presentations and more than $2 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of energy and the Nebraska Research Initiative Program. At UNK, solar cell materials research focuses on the preparation of nanocrystalline materials and micro-Raman spectroscopy analysis of these and thin-film materials produced by the UNL colleagues.  

The Grand Island group also toured Antelope and Nester Residence Halls before concluding their visit with a star show in the UNK Planetarium, Nebraska’s newest star theater. Each of the 6,000 stars in the planetarium is individually projected on the dome with fiber-optic technology. The space and time functions of the projector are completely computer controlled, which means that it is possible to navigate to any place in the world, and any date in the past or future, with the push of a button. A $600,000 NASA grant helped fund the new planetarium, which features a state-of-the art projector, the Zeiss Skymaster ZKP4.

In welcoming remarks, Curt Carlson, UNK vice chancellor for University Relations said, “Today was an opportunity to share the excitement of this place and some of the progress being made in recent years.”

Among those who attended were Deb Brennan, Central Community College; Kent Brown, Nebraska Truck Center, Inc.; Lynn Cronk, Grand Island Public School Board; Bill Dunn, Grand Island Independent; Don Dunn, Rembolt Ludtke, LLP; Jana Hafer, Nebraska State Fair; Sheila Hollister, Bosselman, Inc.; Margaret Hornady, Grand Island mayor; Cindy Johnson, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Steve Joel, Grand Island superintendent of schools; Greg Logsdon, Grand Island Central Catholic School; Kent Mann, Grand Island Public Schools; Joseph McDermott, Nebraska State Fair; Pam Price, Stuhr Museum; Kirk Ramsey, Barr Middle School; Lisa Willman, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce; and Jennifer Worthington, Doane College.