2016 Friend of Science Honorees were Randall Lienemann, Hildreth, NE; and
James Turpen, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Randall Lienemann graduated from Hildreth High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Kearney Sate College with endorsements in Biology, Chemistry and Physical Science. He began his thirty-four years of teaching science at St. Paul Public School, Hildreth, Wilcox/Hildreth and Franklin before retiring in 2012.
He has been involved in science education activities for over forty years. Mr. Lienemann actively promotes quality science programs that involved students in doing in-depth science research projects. His students were always selected for Regional, State, National and International competitions. He had many students that received first place in their category at the International Science Fairs.
In 2001, he was selected as the International Outstanding Science Educator. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and the NTV Honorable Mention award.
Mr. Lienemann is currently the Science Fair Director of the Central Nebraska Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, NE. This is one of the two affiliated fairs with ISEF in Nebraska.
He is the Acting President of the Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences and President-Elect of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences.
He holds membership in many professional organizations, including the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science. He has facilitated professional development science research sessions at NATS and across the state for science teachers. He currently farms with his son south of Hildreth. He is married and has three grown children and six grandchildren.
Jim Turpen was born in Wyoming and grew up in the suburbs of Denver Colorado. Jim was fascinated by biology, especially tadpoles and frogs, from an early age and was drawn to advanced biology classes starting in junior high school. Jim’s first teaching experience was as a laboratory assistant in both biology and advanced zoology classes at Littleton Senior High School. He received his B.S. and M.S degrees in zoology from the University of Denver and his PhD in biology from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jim held teaching assistant positons at both Denver University and Tulane University. Following a year as an instructor of biology at Tulane, Jim pursued postdoctoral studies in immunology at the University Rochester School of Medicine. Jim’s first position as an assistant professor was at Pennsylvania State University where he taught general biology and developmental biology. Jim was recruited to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1983 and continued his research on the development of hematopoietic stem cells. Jim taught embryology and basic cell biology to first year medical students from 1983-2013 when his administrative responsibilities took him out of the class room.
During his early days in graduate school, Jim worked in a laboratory that was among the first to use somatic cell nuclear transfer as an experimental tool. Jim’s subsequent 30 year research career focused on stem cell biology, the development of hematopoietic stem cells in the frog embryo and stem cell-thymus interactions. Currently, Jim is Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Executive Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy. Jim is also the Principal Investigator on the NIH supported Nebraska INBRE Project. This project, which is in its 15th year of NIH support, focuses on developing the research infrastructure and capacity at the primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in Nebraska. INBRE funds are used to support faculty research in biomedical areas at eight PUIs. Support for faculty and their research laboratories is essential for providing opportunities for undergraduate students to have meaningful scientific research experiences during their academic years. A cornerstone of the NE-INBRE is the INBRE Scholars Program. Students on the participating campuses are selected during their sophomore year and INBRE support enables them to do full time research during their two summers in the program as well as part time research during the academic year. Over 300 Scholars have completed the program and over 75% of the Scholars have pursued careers in biomedical research, the health professions or the scientific workforce in Nebraska.