Accolades, October 2021

Accolades News for Researchers

Posted October 27, 2021 by Tiffany Lee

Awards, Honors and Recognitions 

Trina Creighton, journalism and mass communications (emeritus), was inducted into the Omaha Press Club Hall of Fame during a Sept. 18 ceremony. Creighton launched her broadcast career at one of the country’s first Black-owned and operated community radio stations, KBBG Radio in Waterloo, Iowa, and went on to work at KRNT Radio, WHO-Radio and WHO-television in Des Moines, Iowa, before joining the university. During her 20-year career teaching broadcasting courses, Creighton was known for her commitment to students and work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. She chaired the college’s diversity and inclusion committee and taught media courses focused on social justice, race and gender, and human rights before retiring in August 2021. 

Terry Howell, executive director of the Food Processing Center, was named a 2021 fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. ASABE fellows are selected for their unusual professional distinction, with outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in, or related to, the field of agriculture, food or biological systems engineering. Howell was recognized for his research and leadership contributions to the agri-food industry and academia and his committed leadership within ASABE. 

Jennifer Johnson Jorgensen, textiles, merchandising and fashion design, received the Nancy Rutherford Teaching Innovation Award from the International Textile and Apparel Association. The award recognizes innovative teaching strategies that address emerging issues in the apparel and textile fields. She was honored for a module she developed called Sustainability in Sourcing and Retail, which she incorporated into her International Textile and Apparel Sourcing course. She developed the module with help from sustainability curriculum development workshops run by the Chancellor’s Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Commission

Professional Service 

Kelli Britten, journalism and mass communications, was named the lieutenant governor for the American Advertising Federation District 9. She will also serve on the National American Advertising Awards Committee, which develops and runs the American Advertising Awards. Britten will be responsible for the district AAF competition and will support clubs in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.  

Bijesh Maharjan, assistant professor in agronomy and horticulture and soil and nutrient management specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, will chair the 51st North Central Extension-Industry Soil Fertility Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 17-18. The conference will unite soil researchers, soil fertility students, industry representatives, crop consultants and others to share research information on agricultural production, with an emphasis on soil and nutrient management.  

Bing Wang, food science and technology, was appointed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to serve a two-year term on the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. Members of the committee are chosen for their expertise in microbiology, risk assessment, epidemiology, public health, food science and other relevant disciplines. Wang is a human health risk analyst who focuses on addressing microbial food safety issues. She will work with other committee members to offer expert advice on scientific and technical food safety issues to federal food safety agencies. 


Yingchao Lan, supply chain management and analytics, received the Chan Hahn Best Paper Award at the 2021 Academy of Management Conference for her paper “Ancillary Cost Implications of Physicians Multisiting and Inter-Organizational Collaboration During Healthcare Delivery.” The paper explores how the use of multisiting physicians, who work at more than one hospital, may reduce costs and pass savings onto patients.   

Other News 

Kelly Bruns was reappointed as director of the West Central Research, Extension and Education Center in North Platte. Bruns, who has served as director since 2016, will serve another five-year term, working with the center’s nine specialists and 40 staff who specialize in cropping systems and beef cattle and are involved in research, teaching and extension initiatives that extend throughout the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Aemal Khattak, civil and environmental engineering, was selected as director of the Mid-America Transportation Center. He has served as interim director for MATC and the Nebraska Transportation Center since July 2021, and will continue on in the latter role. Khattak, a nationally recognized expert in highway and rail crossing safety, focuses his research on transportation safety, transportation infrastructure planning and intelligent transportation systems. He is an active member of the Transportation Research Board and is the inaugural editorial board member of its journal, Transportation Research Records. He previously chaired the board’s Standing Committee on Highway/Rail Grade Crossings. 

Scott McVey, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, will lead the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center as interim director, part of a new leadership structure that more closely aligns GPVEC with the university’s veterinary medicine program. The new structure aims to bring veterinary and animal science students more hands-on and experiential learning opportunities at the center, located near Clay Center, and at the adjoining U.S. Meat Animal Research Center. Brian Vander Ley, assistant professor at GPVEC and a veterinary epidemiologist, will serve as assistant director. GPVEC, launched in 1990, is an information source for Nebraska’s beef industry and provides training to veterinary and graduate students, veterinary practitioners, beef producers and industry stakeholders. 

Eric Weaver, associate professor of biological sciences, is the new permanent director of the Nebraska Center for Virology, succeeding Charles Wood, the Lewis Lehr/3M University Professor of virology. Weaver’s research focuses on the use of bioinformatics, phylogenetics, immunology and molecular biology to study the basic mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions. He has devoted years to researching a vaccine that would protect against as many influenza strains as possible, including ones that have yet to emerge. Weaver joined the university in 2015. Hernan Garcia-Ruiz, associate professor of virology, will serve as associate director of the center. Garcia-Ruiz, who joined UNL in 2013, focuses his research on the mechanisms of plant-virus interactions, specifically antiviral immunity, gene silencing, the identification of cellular genes that condition susceptibility or resistance to virus, and genetic variation in viruses. 

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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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