Accolades News for Researchers
Posted May 1, 2023 by Tiffany Lee
Awards, Honors and Recognitions
Mark Riley, biological systems engineering, was elected a fellow of the Institute of Biological Engineering. Fellows have a recognizable and demonstrable record of unusual and exceptional achievement and accomplishment in a specific sector of biological engineering. Riley, who serves as associate dean for research, focuses his work on bioprocess engineering and biosensors, detection of pathogens in drinking water and lung cell spectroscopy. He has a notable record of service to IBE, including a term as president in 2010.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln received two of the 2023 President’s Excellence Awards, the University of Nebraska system’s most prestigious awards for teaching, research and engagement.
- Rick Bevins, psychology, received the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award. The ORCA is the University of Nebraska system’s most esteemed honor for research and creative activity, honoring faculty whose work has strongly impacted students, the university and the state. Bevins is Chancellor’s Professor of psychology, associate vice chancellor for research and director of the Rural Drug Addiction Research Center. He was selected for his work expanding knowledge related to drug abuse, causes of relapse, behavioral pharmacology and addiction science. Bevins has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and UNL. His team is responsible for more than 160 research papers.
- The School of Biological Sciences received the 2023 University-wide Departmental Teaching Award. The award is the University of Nebraska system’s most prestigious honor for departmental excellence in teaching, recognizing a unit’s outstanding commitment to the education of students at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. It includes a $25,000 prize to be used as the department sees fit. Michael Herman, professor and director, leads the school in serving as hub of life sciences research and education in Nebraska and beyond, educating more than 600 undergraduate biological sciences majors, 75 graduate students and numerous non-majors.
Ash Eliza Smith and Robert Twomey, emerging media arts, had their work titled “Cleaning the Stables” included in the La Jolla Playhouse Without Walls Festival on April 27. “Cleaning the Stables,” a combination of a sound walk and a locative cinema experience, is part of the Herakles Project by the INKubator Collective. Husker alum Sam Bendix is a producer and visual designer on the project, and student artists at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts provide additional production support.
Becky Wachs, biological systems engineering, received the JOR Spine Early Career Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society. The award recognizes rising stars in the field and highlights their outstanding work published in JOR Spine, a journal publishing high-quality research in the orthopedic and sports medicine field. Wachs was honored for the article “Axial hypersensitivity is associated with aberrant nerve sprouting in a novel model of disc degeneration in female Sprague Dawley rats.”
Jian Wang, mechanical and materials engineering, was named a Brimacombe Medalist by the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. This is a mid-career award that recognizes individuals with sustained excellence and achievement in business, technology, education, public policy or science related to materials science and engineering, and with a record of continuing service to the profession. Wang was selected for outstanding service and contributions to the fundamental understanding of the mechanical behaviors of nanostructured metallic materials and hexagonal close-packed, or HCP, metals.
School of Accountancy faculty were ranked No. 1 in Nebraska in the latest BYU Accounting Research Productivity Ranking, which measures faculty research among more than 600 international institutions. In worldwide rankings, Nebraska ranked No. 6 in archival tax research and No. 12 in archival audit. Accounting faculty Tom Kubick and Thomas Omer tied at No. 6 overall for archival tax research in the last six years, and Omer placed No. 7 in archival audit overall. Rankings are based on the total research output of the school’s faculty in the top 12 peer-reviewed accounting journals.
“Expedition Nebraska: A Natural History VR Experience,” a project co-developed by the University of Nebraska State Museum and Nebraska Public Media Labs, was honored with a Webby Award, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The production received the honor in the Metaverse, Immersive and Virtual Experiences category. Expedition Nebraska enables visitors to virtually travel back in time to prehistoric Nebraska and experience how it has changed over the millennia. The Webbys are the leading international awards honoring excellence on the internet.
The University of Nebraska State Museum is the 2023 Lincoln’s Choice winner for Best Museum, the sixth consecutive year it has received the honor. The contest is sponsored by the Lincoln Journal Star, with winners selected through votes from the Lincoln community.
Nine University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers were selected as fellows of the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska. Their expertise is expected to contribute to solutions to NSRI’s primary Department of Defense mission areas: strategic deterrence and countering weapons of mass destruction. The UNL fellows are part of this year’s 21-member cohort. They are:
- Scott Barrett, psychology;
- Byron Chaves-Elizondo, food science and technology;
- Loren Giesler, plant pathology;
- Matt Hille, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences;
- Jerry Hudgins, electrical and computer engineering;
- Srivatsan Kidambi, chemical and biomolecular engineering;
- Yongfeng Lu, electrical and computer engineering;
- Eric Weaver, virology; and
- Richard Wilson, plant pathology.
The university announced that 93 faculty members received promotion and/or tenure in 2023. A full list is available on the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor website. The EVC also announced that nine faculty earned named professorships.
- Eileen Hebets, George Holmes Professor of biological sciences;
- Kimberly Tyler, George Holmes Professor of sociology;
- Qingsheng Li, Willa Cather Professor of biological sciences;
- Robert Powers, Charles Bessey Professor of chemistry;
- Francisco Souto, Willa Cather Professor of art, art history and design;
- Brian Couch, Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of biological sciences;
- Xiaoshan Xu, Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of physics and astronomy and in the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience;
- Vanessa Gorman, Aaron Douglas Professor of history and classics and religious studies; and
- Kenneth Kiewra, John E. Weaver Professor of educational psychology.
Byron Chaves, food science and technology, was appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. The committee’s decisions provide guidance for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which annually conducts 7.6 million food safety and food defense procedures across 6,800 USDA-regulated establishments. Chaves focuses his research on food safety and microbiology and serves as a food safety specialist for Nebraska Extension, a role that involves providing training and technical assistance to the food manufacturing industry in Nebraska and regionally.
Brenden Timpe, economics, and his co-authors were cited in the March 2023 Economic Report of the President. The report referred to the team’s research on how the federally funded Head Start preschool program greatly improves the likelihood of the participating children obtaining financial self-sufficiency in adulthood. The study appeared in the American Economic Review.
Bill Johnson has been selected as senior vice president of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation, where he will lead private fundraising efforts for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His tenure begins June 5. A native of Plainview, Nebraska, Johnson will work with the chancellor and other university leaders, Husker Athletics, the Nebraska Alumni Association and the foundation’s UNL development team to advance the university’s fundraising goals. He is currently vice president of university advancement at the University of Nevada, Reno. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education administration/athletic administration from UNL and played basketball under coach Danny Nee.
Felix Olschofka has been named the director of the university’s Glenn Korff School of Music. Olschofka, associate dean for operations and professor of violin at the University of North Texas College of Music, will begin his appointment July 3. Olschofka has been at UNT in Denton since 2010, including service as director of graduate studies from 2018-2020. He was selected for his experience in innovating curricula, overseeing building projects and developing youth engagement programs, including the UNT International Summer Music Institute. German-born and raised, Olschofka has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Music Conservatory “Hanns Eisler” Berlin, a performance certificate from Indiana University and a doctorate from the University of California, San Diego. He replaces Sergio H. Ruiz, who returned to the faculty last summer.
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