Accolades, December 2023

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted January 4, 2024 by Tiffany Lee

Honors and Awards

Daniel Ciobanu, animal science, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. Ciobanu is a world-renowned molecular geneticist whose research and inventions have significantly impacted the field of animal genetics, with a particular focus on swine. His work to identify genetic variants that affect traits like viral disease susceptibility, sow fertility and meat quality has led to three U.S. patents and two international patents.

Dan Duncan, founding executive director emeritus of Nebraska Innovation Campus, received the Roger T. Larson Community Builder Award at the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Celebrate Business Awards Lunch on Dec. 5. The award is given annually to an exceptional candidate whose leadership and influence through public service has shaped the Lincoln community.

Taro Mieno, agricultural economics, is co-author of a paper that recently received the first place Impactful Research Prize from The Unjournal. The paper, “Banning wildlife trade can boost demand,” was selected for its intriguing question, potential for policy impact and methodological strength. The Unjournal funds public journal-independent evaluation of hosted papers and dynamically presented projects to promote better research by making it easier for researchers to get feedback and credible ratings. The Impactful Research Prizes were part of the organization’s mission to make impactful research more rigorous.

Lance C. Pérez is the inaugural Fred Hunzeker Dean of Engineering, a named deanship established with a gift from Fred Hunzeker, a distinguished alumnus from the College of Engineering. The deanship supports a salary stipend; funds may also be used to support strategic initiatives within the College of Engineering. Hunzeker earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNL and retired as chief executive officer of Tenaska Marketing Group in 2021, having led the company’s extraordinary growth from a small natural gas marketing company to one of the top five marketers in North America.

Ivan Rush, animal science (emeritus), received the Friend of the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Award at the 2023 Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention and Trade Show on Dec. 7, 2023. Rush was a beef extension specialist at UNL’s Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center until his retirement in 2008. Since then, he has remained active in the beef industry, supporting initiatives for youth scholarships and judging. The award recognized Rush’s lifelong dedication to beef research and extension education and his contributions to the agricultural community.  

The Center on Children, Families and the Law was selected to provide evaluation for the new National Center for Adoption Competent Mental Health Services, launched on Sept. 30, 2023, by the Center for Adoption Support and Education. The center, supported by a $20 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, aims to improve the mental health outcomes for children in care and in adoptive and guardianship homes by building bridges between child welfare systems and state mental health systems. CCFL is among a pool of national subject matter experts and other leading organizations that will help ensure the center’s success.       


Tom Gannon, English, is author of “Birding While Indian: A Mixed-Blood Memoir,” which weaves together a lifetime of bird sightings, history, and Gannon’s personal experiences growing up half Lakota, including his experience at what is now called Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The book was recently named Book of the Day by The New York Public Library.    

Frauke Hachtmann, advertising, recently published “Crisis Response Advertising: Insights and Implications from COVID-19.” Drawing on her extensive research on how advertising agencies responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hachtmann developed a model to help agencies move through crises. She hopes the model serves as a foundation for future research and as an aid to advertising professionals.    

Justin McMechan, entomology, is co-author of a journal article that received a 2023 Outstanding Paper Award from the Agronomy Journal, the flagship journal of the American Society of Agronomy. The paper, titled “Conditions potentially affecting corn ear formation, yield, and abnormal ears: A review,” explores the factors underlying abnormal corn ear development during the 2016 growing season, including a literature review of the conditions that affect corn ear formation, yield and abnormal ears.

Professional Service

Jenna Pieper, management, was a presenter in the webinar series “Future Management Professor: How to Succeed in the Ph.D. Admissions Process,” aimed at preparing management scholars seeking doctoral degrees in the field. Pieper was among 30 faculty and Ph.D. student session leaders from high research activity universities across the nation.  

Other News

Deborah Bathke was named interim state climatologist in the Nebraska State Climate Office, succeeding Martha Durr, who stepped down in November. Bathke, research associate professor in the School of Natural Resources, will lead efforts to complete a report assessing impacts of climate change, requested by the Nebraska Legislature through LB 1255 in 2022. She is nationally recognized for her work in climate science and is skilled in translating complex data for the public. The university is conducting a national search for a full-time state climatologist.

Tiffany Heng-Moss was reappointed for a second five-year term as dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. During her time in the role, the college has expanded experiential and other hands-on student learning opportunities; developed statewide partnerships with K-12 schools and other educational partners; and increased enrollment, retention and graduation rates. Prior to becoming interim dean in 2017, Heng-Moss taught and developed courses in the Department of Entomology for undergraduate and graduate students and led development and implementation of the college’s bachelor’s degree program in insect science. She has authored and co-authored more than 90 refereed teaching and research articles, with her research focused primarily on insect science and pest management.

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