The Department of Biological Systems Engineering capped a big summer with a bumper harvest of awards at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers conference in Orlando, Florida in late July. Students, faculty and staff brought home numerous awards for significant achievements.
Only weeks after the UNL team won its first championship at the ASABE International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, UNL's Fountain Wars team won its second national championship in three years, and BSE faculty gained 10 national honors.
Derek Heeren, assistant professor of biological systems engineering, who earned one of UNL’s two Superior Paper Awards, said the high amount of recognition is reflective of a department-wide commitment to excellence.
“UNL was well-represented in the awards. That gives you some pride about the department you’re in, not just a particular activity,” Heeren said. “UNL is an important part of our agricultural and biological engineering systems discipline and played leadership roles in ASABE for a long time.”
The UNL faculty, staff and students who received ASABE honors include:
* Wayne Woldt, associate professor in BSE and SNR, was awarded an ASABE Presidential Citation for his work on a three-part series on unmanned aircraft systems published in Resource magazine. The series was a team effort and gave a broad overview of unmanned aircraft, their potential use in agriculture, their potential challenges, rules and regulations governing their use, available and ever-changing technology and ongoing research related to unmanned aircraft in agriculture.
* Santosh Pitla, assistant professor, was presented the Sunkist Young Designer Award. The award recognizes ASABE members under age 40 for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the profession and to stimulate professional achievement.
* Curt Weller, professor in BSE and FDST, joined the ASABE Board of Trustees.
* Amy Schmidt, assistant professor in BSE and Animal Sciences, earned the Standard Development Award as the lead author of a paper.
* Two Superior Paper Awards were presented – one to Heeren and the other to Pitla and Joe Luck, also a BSE assistant professor.
* Suat Irmak, Harold W. Eberhard Distinguished Professor, earned a pair of Educational Aid Blue Ribbon Awards – one each with his postdoctoral students Vivek Sharma and Kofi Djaman.
* Jiajia Chen, research assistant professor, was given Outstanding Reviewer recognition.
* Nuwan Wijewardane, graduate student in BSE, was recognized shortly after the ASABE meeting with a graduate student award presented by the International Conference of Precision Agriculture.
“It is gratifying to see our people recognized year after year by our professional organization,” says Mark Riley, Department Head of Biological Systems Engineering. “Our programs are not only top in the country but recognized across the world. The University of Nebraska has built a department that for many years has been, and continues to be, a leader in agricultural and biological engineering.”
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