Accolades, June 2023

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted June 30, 2023 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognitions

Sohrab Asgarpoor, electrical and computer engineering, received the Midwest Section Outstanding Campus Representative Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. The award recognizes ASEE representatives who have achieved excellence in their role as a society representative on campus, including liaising with members, stimulating interest among faculty in society meetings and promoting individual membership and involvement.        

Ken Bloom, physics and astronomy, was appointed to serve a three-year term on the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. The panel, founded in 1967, provides advice and recommendations related to the High Energy Physics program of the Department of Energy. Bloom will provide expertise in energy frontier research.

Kendra Ordia, architecture, received the 2023 Interior Design Educators Council Teaching Excellence Award. Orida was recognized for her efforts to craft nature-integrated interiors through biophilic experiential learning methodology in teaching studios. The development and delivery of this educational experience has led to exceptional student learning. 

Jim Specht, agronomy and horticulture (emeritus), received the first-ever Larry Tonniges Research Achievement Award. The award honors researchers who have made significant contributions to soybean research for the Nebraska Soybean Board. Specht, who joined UNL in 1976, is internationally recognized for his work in modern plant biology and genetics for soybean improvement. The award is made possible by the family of the late Larry Tonniges, a longtime Nebraska farmer who was dedicated to production research as part of the Nebraska Soybean Board.   


Bonita Sharif and Hamid Bagheri, computing, along with Husker postdoctoral research associate Niloofar Mansoor and Eunsuk Kang of Carnegie Mellon University, received a Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Formal Methods in Software Engineering. They were honored for “An Empirical Study Assessing Software Modeling in Alloy.”

Other News

Rodney D. Bennett is the new chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He assumed the role on July 1. From 2013 to 2022, Bennett served as president of the University of Southern Mississippi. Highlights from his tenure include bringing the institution into the top tier of research institutions, delivering improved student outcomes, investing in faculty and high-growth academic programs, and stabilizing the budget through fiscally conservative management. Prior to his role at Southern Miss, Bennett held various leadership roles at the University of Georgia, Winthrop University and his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University.    

Loren Giesler was appointed for a second five-year term as head of the Department of Plant Pathology. During his first term, Giesler has instilled a sense of camaraderie and engaged faculty, staff and students in strategic visioning and problem solving. His reappointment takes effect on Sept. 1.   

Susan Longhenry has been named the next director of the Sheldon Museum of Art, effective Aug. 15. Longhenry, who was selected through a national search, is director and chief curator of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. She is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and has more than 30 years of leadership experience with art museums nationwide. Longhenry has a Master of Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University.

Larkin Powell was selected as director of the School of Natural Resources. His term begins Aug. 1. Powell, who joined SNR in 2001, is currently a professor of conservation biology and animal ecology, as well as associate dean for student experiences for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. His research program focuses on landscape dynamics, animal demography and movements, and decision-making by private landowners in the Great Plains and around the world. Powell received his undergraduate degree from Graceland University, his master’s from Iowa State University and his doctoral degree from the University of Georgia. Powell succeeds John Carroll, who is returning to the faculty.   

Hank Stratton, head of acting/musical theatre at the University of Arizona and the artistic director of the Arizona Repertory Theatre, was named the director of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film and executive director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. Stratton, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, has broad experience in education and acting and has strong relationships with key industry partners. He has served as a guest artist for leading educational institutions around the country, acts in Hollywood in television and film, and is a member of many professional organizations, including the Screen Actors Guild and the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance. Stratton’s appointment begins Aug. 1.   

William “Bill” Watts was named interim vice chancellor for student affairs, effective Aug. 7 pending approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Watts, who joined UNL in 2007, currently serves as associate dean of university advising and career development. He oversees the Academic Navigators, Career Services, Explore Center, National and International Fellowships, and Undergraduate Research. Watts holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science from Buena Vista University and a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Missouri.  

Nathan Meier, assistant vice chancellor for research, is serving as president of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. NORDP has more than 1,200 members and is the only professional association dedicated solely to research development. Meier has been involved in numerous roles, including as a conference presenter, liaison to external organizations and recipient of a Rising Star award in 2018.

Research News Accolades Submission Form

Accolades are compiled from faculty and staff nominations, weekly Achievement columns published by University Communication, and college, center and departmental websites. To submit yours or a colleague's, complete the form below.

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