July 6, 2020
Awards, Honors and Recognitions
Richard Leiter, director of the Schmid Law Library, was honored with the 2020 American Association of Law Libraries Special Interest Section’s Frederick Charles Hicks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Law Librarianship. In the nomination, Leiter was cited for his service, scholarship, work on the podcast “Law Librarian Conversations” and his “spectacular ability to bring people together to learn, develop and dissect the core values and vision of what it means to be a great law librarian.”
Brett Ratcliffe, University of Nebraska State Museum, along with his colleague Ron Cave from the University of Florida, has been presented with the J.O. Westwood Medal for Excellence in Insect Taxonomy from the Royal Entomological Society of the United Kingdom. Ratcliffe began studying scarab beetles in 1970 and has published more than 200 scholarly articles since then. Ratcliffe and Cave’s published books document the classification, distribution and biology of more than 425 rhinoceros beetle species occurring in nearly 20 countries in Mesoamerica, North America and the West Indies.
Tom Larson, composition, emerging media and digital arts, received the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts’ Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, which recognizes a junior faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in research or creative activity.
Tyler White, composition and conducting and director of orchestras in the Glenn Korff School of Music, received the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts’ Senior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, which recognizes a senior faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in research or creative activity.
Jolene Smyth, sociology and director of the Bureau of Sociological Research, has earned the John M. Kennedy Achievement Award from the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations. Smyth has made substantial contributions to the science of survey research and is a respected teacher and colleague who has educated both students and fellow researchers about good survey design. Her service to the field of survey research includes promoting experimental methods testing in the context of university-based survey work, and volunteer committee work at both UNL and within the field’s various professional organizations.
Danni Gilbert, music, presented her research project “An examination and comparison of the perceived levels of anxiety and depression of university music majors and non-music majors” remotely at the 11th annual International Conference on Visual and Performing Arts in Athens, Greece.
Kristen Olson, sociology, was selected editor-in-chief for the survey methodology side of the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology by the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s Executive Council.
Xiao Cheng Zeng, chemistry, was elected to the Chemistry Division of the European Academy of Sciences, an independent organization of the most distinguished scholars and engineers who are at the forefront of research and development of advanced technologies.
Jeff Bradshaw, entomology, has been selected to serve as the interim director of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. He began July 1. Bradshaw is an associate professor of entomology and a Nebraska Extension specialist in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He joined the Panhandle center in 2010 and since then has worked extensively with the area’s wheat, dry bean and sugarbeet growers. He has conducted research in the areas of insect ecology, host plant resistance, biological control and integrated pest management, and has served as an adviser or mentor to many graduate students.
Michael Merten started his role as chair of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies on July 1. He comes to Nebraska from Oklahoma State University, where he was director of the Center for Family Resilience and professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Merten is an interdisciplinary family scientist with expertise in the determinants of youth and young adult outcomes particularly psychosocial and health outcomes considering both family and community contexts. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a doctorate in human development and family studies from Iowa State University.
Rebecca Funk, veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, has been appointed interim Nebraska beef quality assurance coordinator. The role was formerly held by Rob Eirich, who has moved into a new position as an engagement zone coordinator for Nebraska Extension. The position is a partnership among the university, Nebraska Cattlemen and the Nebraska Beef Council.
Donald Becker has been selected to lead the Department of Biochemistry. Becker, who has spent nearly 20 years as part of the biochemistry department faculty, assumed the position on July 1. He succeeds Paul Black, who is retiring. He first joined UNL’s biochemistry department in 1995 as a postdoctoral associate. In 1998, Becker joined the University of Missouri-St. Louis as an assistant professor in the chemistry department. In 2003, he returned to UNL’s biochemistry department, where he also became part of the newly formed Redox Biology Center. Becker has served as center director since 2009. Becker’s research program is in redox enzymology and proline metabolism.
David Scott McVey has been selected as the of Nebraska’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. In the role, which he will begin July 13, McVey will serve as the associate dean of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln/Iowa State University Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. McVey was most recently director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas, and has previously held tenure positions at Kansas State University and UNL, where he served as director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Center.