Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Aug. 21-27

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Achievements | Honors, awards, publications for Aug. 21-27

UNL's Jinsong Huang is leading the UNL portion of a multi-university solar panel project funded by the National Science Foundation.
UNL's Jinsong Huang is leading the UNL portion of a multi-university solar panel project funded by the National Science Foundation.

Recent honors collected by the UNL community include recognition for Stephen Baenziger, Tonya Haigh, Jinsong Huang, Cody Knutson, Mark Lagrimini, Joe Luck and Matt Waite. Click through to read more about these awards.

  • Stephen Baenziger, a professor of agronomy and horticulture, was awarded the National Association of Plant Breeders lifetime achievement award at its 2015 annual meeting in Pullman, Washington. This award is presented to one person each year and recognizes an individual who has given distinguished long-term service to the plant breeding discipline in areas such as breeding/genetics research and publication, education, extension outreach, and regional, national and/or international leadership. Baenziger began his career in 1976 and joined UNL’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture in 1986.

  • Tonya Haigh and Cody Knutson, researchers at UNL’s National Drought Mitigation Center, contributed to a new atlas that maps the behaviors and beliefs of farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt, based on survey research conducted through the Useful to Usable project led by Purdue University. The atlas was also published in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable program. The maps are based on a 2012 survey of farmers who met certain income and corn production thresholds in 22 watersheds in 11 states. The atlas details information on timing of farming practices and decisions, how and when farmers use weather in decision making, the influence of agricultural advisors, personal experiences regarding weather and risks, beliefs and attitudes regarding climate change, and plans to adapt and manage climate variability and risk.

  • Jinsong Huang, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering, is heading the UNL portion of a new solar cell project led by Brown University and funded by the National Science Foundation. With $1.3 million of NSF support, Huang’s team will help explore molecular-level properties of cells made from perovskite, a class of cost-efficient crystalline materials that represent a promising alternative to industry standard silicon. The project will investigate both the efficiency and scalability of perovskite cells in an effort to make them more commercially accessible. For more information, click here.

  • Mark Lagrimini, professor of agronomy and horticulture, has co-authored a study in the journal Nature Biotechnology that details how the overexpression of a gene in corn increased yields by up to 123 percent under severe drought conditions. The team controlled the timing and location of sugar-signaling mechanisms to bolster the crop’s resistance during its flowering period, when it’s typically most susceptible to the effects of drought. The study demonstrated this successful response across several years and a range of drought conditions.

  • Joe D. Luck, assistant professor of biological systems engineering, is the recipient of the 2015 Gale A. Holloway Professional Development Award. The honor is for Luck’s exemplary support of career development and membership activities within the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. For more information, click here.

  • Matt Waite, a professor of practice in news-editorial, will travel to the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile in October to help teach a drone journalism class. The Universidad de Concepcion is teaching a class of 16 journalism and aerospace engineering students who will work and learn alongside each other about drones and their benefits for journalism. Waite’s participation is funded by the U.S. State Department.

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

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