Achievements | Honors, appointments, publications for July 1

· 5 min read

Achievements | Honors, appointments, publications for July 1

Craig Chandler (center) poses with students during a bee beard photo shoot on East Campus. Chandler recently earned a national award for a photo from the shoot.
Craig Chandler (center) poses with students during a bee beard photo shoot on East Campus. Chandler recently earned a national award for a photo from the shoot.

Recent achievements for the campus community were earned by Matthew Bentz, Christian Binek, Chris Calkins, Craig Chandler, Jiang Chen, Peter Dowben, David Hage, Ronald Lewis, Phillip Miller, Elizabeth Niehaus, Larkin Powell, Wei Qiao, Lauren Shaul, Bill Watts and Tian Zhang.


  • Matthew Bentz, senior computer support analyst for the Department of Special Education and Human Disorders, has been named the newest Staff Star Award winner by the College of Education and Human Sciences’ staff council. The award recognizes staff who go above and beyond in their work.

  • Chris Calkins, professor emeritus of animal science, and Ronald Lewis, professor of animal science, received an American Society of Animal Science’ Fellow Awards for Research during the society’s annual meeting and trade show in May. The award recognizes a society member with distinguished service to the animal industry.

  • Craig Chandler, director of photography with University Communication and Marketing, earned first place among “People and Portraits” in the University Photographers’ Association annual photo competition. The award-winning photo featured Mariah Robinson, a student researcher in Judy Wu-Smart’s bee lab, wearing a beard of live bees. The photo also won a monthly contest held by the association and was featured in a May 2021 blog.

A student from Judy Wu-Smart's UNL Bee Lab poses for a photo wearing a bee beard. The photo, shot by University Communication's Craig Chandler, recently earned an award.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
A student from Judy Wu-Smart's UNL Bee Lab poses for a photo wearing a bee beard. The photo, shot by University Communication's Craig Chandler, recently earned an award.

  • Jiang Chen and Lauren Shaul, both interior design students in the College of Architecture, were named to the Metropolis Future 100 in April. Selected by a jury of magazine design aspects, the award honors the top 50 interior design and top 50 architecture students graduating in North America each spring.

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a patent for digital circuits that incorporate magneto-electric transistors — power-saving, microelectronic components that were developed in part by Peter Dowben, Charles Bessey Professor of physics and astronomy, and Christian Binek, professor of physics and astronomy. The team’s research was supported by the Semiconductor Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Learn more about Dowben and Binek’s work.

  • David Hage, James Hewett University Professor of chemistry, received the Outstanding Contributions to Education in Clinical Chemistry award from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. The award recognizes an individual who has devoted a major portion of their professional life to enhancing the practice and profession of clinical chemistry via education.

  • Carrie Heitman, associate professor in School of Global Integrative Studies and associate director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, has received a $310,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a new project to document the reconnection of Zuni and Hopi peoples with artifacts described in archeological databases and housed in national museums.

  • Phillip Miller, professor of animal science, received the American Society of Animal Science’s American Feed Industry Association Award in Nonruminant Nutrition Research. The award, presented during the association’s 2022 annual meeting and trade show, recognizes an individual who has contributed to and published outstanding work in the last 10 years in the field. It is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association.

  • Elizabeth Niehaus, associate professor of educational administration, has been named a senior fellow of the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. This selection marks the first time the center has bestowed the honor of senior fellow since it began naming fellows in 2018-2019. Niehaus will continue the research she began as a fellow in 2020 and 2021, exploring college students’ moral reasoning around issues of free expression in the classroom, challenging the crisis narrative and providing an evidenced-based, nuanced perspective on how students are navigating challenging classroom discussions.

  • Larkin Powell, professor of conservation biology and animal ecology, has been named a fellow of the Wildlife Society for 2022. The award recognizes current society members who have distinguished themselves through exceptional service to the wildlife professor and served as a society member for at least 10 years. Fellows, which are appointed for life, serve as ambassadors of the society and are encouraged to engage in outreach and other activities.

  • Wei Qiao, Clyde Hyde Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a fellow of the Asia-Pacific Artificial Intelligence Association. The association is a new, non-profit and non-governmental organization formed by academics worldwide who research artificial intelligence or related area. The association currently has 583 fellows.

  • Bill Watts, associate dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Success, has earned the 2022 NACADA Outstanding Advising Award (administrator category). Presented by the National Academic Advising Association, the Outstanding Advising Awards annually recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding advising of students or leadership as an administrator. Watts will be honored during the NACADA Conference in the fall.

  • Tian Zhang, professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been named a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Zhang was selected for his exemplary career as an educator and researcher, most notably for his work developing innovative technologies in water/wastewater treatment and pollution control. The award, the highest honor by the society, will be presented Oct. 24 during a convention in Anaheim, California.

This column is a regular feature of Nebraska Today. Faculty, staff and students can submit achievements to be considered for this column via email to For more information, call 402-472-8515.

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