Senior Salute: Spring 2020

2019-2020 Outstanding Departmental Seniors

Nicholas Engle - Biological Systems Engineering - Agricultural Engineering
Nick is a graduating senior in AGEN who has maintained a 3.6 GPA during the last four years. Nick has provided the leadership to the other three captains on the 2020 quarterscale tractor team this year, and during the COVID 19 issues has found ways to stay engaged with the team and progress. Although the competition is now cancelled, UNL would likely have done well, perhaps even placed first again had the competition been held, largely due to Nick’s efforts. Further, Nick has mostly on his own developed a new CVT that will be employed in future years that was the major technological change to the 2020 tractor.
Kayla Ney - Biological Systems Engineering
Kayla Ney is an incredibly curious, ambitious, caring, and a self-directed learner. Kayla was admitted to the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a prestigious paid summer internship program. Kayla’s summer research project and outcomes were so outstanding that her abstract was accepted for a presentation at the Biomedical Engineering Society National Meeting.

Over the past two years, Kayla has been a researcher in Dr. Nicole Iverson’s and then Dr. Rebecca Wachs’ research groups. Kayla has shown her caring for the entire student body by acting as a well-being coach for the Big Red Resilience and Well-Being (BRRWB) group. Kayla’s other involvement includes participation on the UNL Environmental Sustainability Committee, volunteering for the Go Baby Go program to build mobility devices for physically handicapped children, and representing BSE on the Homecoming Court. Kayla’s involvement at UNL is an excellent example to all of our students, showing them how to be a complete, well-rounded engineer.
Rachel Van Cott - Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Throughout her college career, Rachel has made it a goal to use her knowledge to help others. Starting in 2017, she worked with the College of Engineering Study Stop to tutor students in calculus, chemistry, and physics. She has also been a TA for CHME 114 and 202. Through the Navigators she served as a student leader and mentored younger students, and this past year she served as the New Member Educator for Tau Beta Pi.

In 2018, she created a synthetic biology research project under Dr. Wei Niu with the UNL iGEM team and was named Team Captain. She designed and performed experiments and worked with the Nebraska Forest Service and Morrill Hall to organize community outreach events. Her team presented their project at the international iGEM conference in Boston where they were awarded a silver medal and nominated for the best poster. In 2019, she interned at Novozymes in Blair, Nebraska, as a Process Optimization Intern for both fermentation and recovery operations. Rachel was named a Chancellor’s Scholar in 2020 for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout all her undergraduate courses. Upon graduation, Rachel will be moving to Virginia
Kelsey Kern - Civil & Environmental Engineering
Kelsey is highly involved in student and professional engineering groups while also maintaining a high GPA in her civil engineering coursework. She is a founding member and officer in the Omaha WEF/AWWA/APWA student group and she is also a member of the Engineers Club of Omaha. Kelsey served as project manager for her capstone design group and was recognized by her nominator, Dr. George Hunt, as being one of the best project managers he has had in any capstone design class. Kelsey came to Nebraska to pursue a BS in civil engineering after already attaining an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture. After graduation, Kelsey plans to combine her expertise in these areas to pursue a position in green infrastructure and sustainable stormwater management. Kelsey was selected as the College of Engineering student speaker for the 2020 UNO Commencement.
Beibei Xiong - Computer Science & Engineering - Computer Engineering
Beibei is graduating from UNL with a degree in Computer Engineering and a degree in Electrical Engineering. Beibei has served as a Peer Tutor in the College of Engineering. She has also worked with Dr. Hasan Otu as an undergraduate research assistant through the UCARE program using machine learning and statistical methods to identify molecules that can predict disease at an early stage. Dr. Otu describes Beibei as "extremely smart, independent, and an out-of-the-box thinker...on par with graduate students" and "a pleasant, positive person." Following graduation, Beibei plans to attend graduate school at the University of British Columbia.
Denis Komissarov - Computer Science & Engineering - Software Engineering
Denis is a member of the first cohort of Software Engineering majors to graduate from UNL. He has been an undergraduate teaching assistant in the program for three years. During his senior year he served as a lab leader for the freshmen software engineering labs. Denis has also been a member of the UNL Constraint Systems Lab working on software to store, compute and display over 4 million data points across 400 statistics for benchmarks of Constraint Satisfaction Problems. He has also collaborated with graduate students to create a web-based interactive GUI for dynamic algorithm configuration, performance tracking, and visualization of a research-based constraint solver. Denis has interned at LI-COR Biosciences and Microsoft.
Mitchael Sieh - Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction - Architectural Engineering
Mitchael not only has a very strong academic standing but also have been a well-rounded scholar. He participated in two research projects that are externally funded while continuing to succeed in classes and holding an internship position. He has superior leadership skills and is reliable. He contributes greatly to team work and can think creatively to solve problems along the way. He would be highly deserving of this award. Academically, he has performed exceptionally well at the University and performs at the highest level in all that he does.
Kate McChesney - Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction (Construction Engineering)
Kate has been a top student in her classes and is active in student organizations. She is President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on Scott Campus, Treasure of Sigma Lambda Chi (ΣΛΧ) International Construction Honor Society and is an active member in Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). She was also one of eight students who traveled to Houston to assist with the repair of homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Kate’s instructors and mentors think very highly of her and have every confidence she will be a successful professional in the construction industry. She is always up for a challenge and finds a way to succeed. Kate is also very compassionate with her classmates and is willing to help anyone.” She has been on the Dean’s list for six semesters.
Antony Habib - Electrical & Computer Engineering (Scott Campus)
Antony Habib: GPA 4.0 has the best GPA's of the graduating class of Computer Engineering. Antony is the recipient of the Undergraduate Major award in Computer Engineering at UNO. He is a recipient of the Regents Scholarship and a Thompson Scholar. He has been listed on the Chancellor's and Dean's for his academic excellence. Antony is a UNO Honor member, a member of IEEE-PKI, the University of Nebraska Robotics Club, and a member of Tau Beta Pi. He is also on the Nebraska Engineering Student Council. Antony will be entering the private sector after graduation with Garmin International in Olathe, KS as an Embedded Software Engineer.
Beibei Xiong - Electrical & Computer Engineering (City Campus)
Beibei Xiong has one of the highest GPA's and is graduating with Distinction while earning degrees in both Electrical and Computer Engineering. Beibei has been on the Dean’s List for every semester since Fall of 2016 and is a member of Tau Beta Pi. She has been doing research funded through the UCARE program where she is analyzing proteomic and clinical data using machine learning and statistical methods to find biomarkers that are early predictors of disease state. Beibei plans to attend graduate school in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at the University of British Columbia this fall.
Pin Hao Cheng - Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Pin Hao is one of the top academic performers among graduating seniors in mechanical engineering. He has served in leadership positions and been involved in various student organizations including ASME, Pi Tau Sigma, and eSAB. He also volunteered his engineering skills during the summer at a local rehabilitation hospital. He has participated in multiple projects as a student-researcher and recently had a peer-reviewed conference paper published. Pin Hao is truly an outstanding senior.

Schewe Award Winners

The Al and Dorothy Schewe Leadership Award is given annually to recognize achievement in leadership within the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering. Applicants are competitive, and are evaluated based on leadership, involvement, and educational projects and achievement. Undergraduate students at the senior level and on any of the College of Engineering campuses (City campus, East campus, or Scott campus) are eligible to apply. Two applicants will be selected to receive one of two $1,000 awards.

2020 OJ Ferguson Overall Outstanding Senior Award winner

The Dean O.J. Ferguson Award is granted each year to a senior student in the College of Engineering. The person thus honored by her/his fellow students is that individual who, by her/his demeanor, has exemplified the ideals of professional service and good citizenship.

It is in recognition of this individual who, as a student, has achieved will and displays promise of greater advancement; who has a worthy professional perspective; who is generous of her/his time and effort without recompense; who makes reliable judgments and counsels wisely; who is open minded and reads purposefully; who values words and writes effectively; who prizes the privileges of citizenship; who is-honorable and trustworthy; who has an expanding philosophy of life; that this award be made.