Past Recipients of Faculty Researcher of the Year Award


2021 Awardees

Regan Zane

College of Engineering | Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Regan Zane is the Director of the Center for Advancing Sustainability through Powered Infrastructure for Roadway Electrification (ASPIRE), an NSF sponsored engineering research center involving 9 universities, 55 faculty, 4 national labs, and more than 50 industry and innovation partners. He holds the David G. and Diann L. Sant Endowed Professor position at Utah State University in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he founded the USU Power Electronics Lab (UPEL), the Electric Vehicle and Roadway (EVR) research facility and test track, and the Battery Limits andSurvivability Test (BLAST) lab. Dr. Zane has co-authored one book and approximately 200 peer-reviewed articles, has 26 issued patents, has received international and institutional recognition in research, teaching and innovation, and has raised more than $50 million in research funding. His research programs cover key aspects of electrified transportation charging systems and infrastructure, from battery, vehicle, and charging systems to grid integration, smart charge management, demand response and distributed energy resources. His programs maintain a strong emphasis on students and on collaboration with academic, government and industry partners to develop and transition innovative technologies into the marketplace.

Mimi Recker

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services | Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

2020 Awardees

Zhi-Qiang Wang

College of Science | Mathematics and Statistics

A professor in USU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Zhi-Qiang’s research ranges from abstract theory in nonlinear functional analysis to applied analysis and computational mathematics, providing new tools and techniques for tackling challenge questions in partial differential equations from classical and emerging fields of applied science.

He has published 190 papers and was named to the Highly Cited Researcher List for 2018 and 2019 by the Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science Group). Zhi-Qiang was elected a Fellow of American Mathematical Society in 2015. Zhi-Qiang’s research has been supported by several National Science Foundation programs, including Analysis, Applied Mathematics, Computational Mathematics, and International, as well as number of agencies around globe, including NATO-CRG, NATO-CLG, Simons, NSF of China, DAAD and DFG of Germany.

A member of USU’s faculty science 1991, this is the second time Zhi-Qiang has earned the honor of Faculty Researcher of the Year for the College of Science.

2019 Awardees

Idalis Villanueva

College of Engineering | Engineering Education

Dr. Idalis Villanueva has been a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Utah State University (USU) for the past 5 ½years. During her time at USU, she has gained nationwide and international recognition in her research by becoming the first female Latinx faculty to get a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award under the Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE) directorate. She has accumulated an impressive amount of research funding as a junior faculty (~$2.4 M) and continues to demonstrate a steady trajectory of research. Dr. Villanueva has garnered over 27 honors and awards, 13 journal publications (many in high-impact and prestigious journals), 1 book chapter and another one under review, 20 published conference proceedings, 24 national and international conference presentations, 6 invited talks, and 39 mentored undergraduates and graduate students. She is a strong advocate for inclusion, equity, and access to undergraduates and graduate students alike. Her efforts has been recognized through numerous awards, e.g.Undergraduate Research mentor of the Year in 2017, Graduate Mentor of the Year in 2018, the College of Engineering Researcher of the Year in 2019, and 2018 Best Diversity Paper Award in Engineering Ethics Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

2018 Awardees

Patrick Belmont

S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources | Watershed Sciences

Patrick Belmont is an Associate Professor of Hydrology and Geomorphology in the Watershed Sciences Department. His research focuses on how water and sediment move through watersheds. He is driven to understand how landscape systems have evolved over geologic time and evaluate how that landscape context influences modern processes and dynamics. This understanding is useful for predicting how human activities affect terrestrial and riverine processes. The three main thrusts of his research are a) mathematical modeling of hydrology, erosion and river channel change, b) development of water and sediment budgets, and c) spatial analysis with a focus on high-resolution topography data. Dr. Belmont served as the Director for Science Integration for the $4.3M NSF project Resilience Under Accelerated Change, serves as Co-PI for the $2.7M NSF Climate Adaptation Sciences program at USU, and has been identified as a national leader in education, serving on the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Traveling Workshop team. Dr. Belmont leads a nationally renowned research group, working most prominently in Utah, Idaho, California, and Minnesota and a has strong track record of translating his science into actionable management and policy guidance, working directly with state and county-level agencies, industry and non-profit environmental groups, and state legislators.

2017 Awardees

Silvana Martini

College of Agriculture & Applied Sciences | Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences

Silvana Martini, Director of the Graduate Program for the department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science, has been at Utah State University since 2005. She has published 29 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals since 2013 and has participated as author and co-author in more than 40 local, regional, and international scientific conferences. She is also the Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of American Oil Chemists’ Society, which is the leading peer-reviewed journal focusing on lipids, and was recently recognized by the American Chemical Society (Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division) with the prestigious Young Scientist Award. Her research is related to the physiochemical and sensorial characterization of food materials. She studies how the quality of food materials is affected by their nano-, micro-, and macroscopic characteristics.

2016 Awardees

Michael Twohig

Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services | Psychology

Michael is in his 9th year at USU and has graduated four Ph.D. students with two more leaving for internship this year. He is currently the president of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science-an international organization with 8,000 members-and an associate editor for their flagship journal: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science.

His research primarily focuses on the use of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) across a variety of clinical presentations. He has published over 100 scholarly works including two books: An ACT-Enhanced Behavior Therapy approach to the Treatment of Trichotillomania (with Woods) and ACT Verbatim for Depression and Anxiety (with Hayes).

He has been continuously funded since joining USU with funding through multiple sources including the National Institute of Mental Health. Finally, he has been successfully training other professionals around the world in the use of ACT for over 10 years.

2015 Awardees

T. Scott Findley

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business | Economics & Finance

Scott’s research program has concentrated on the role of behavioral pathologies (i.e., self- control failure, myopia, impulsivity, misperceptions, overconfidence) on economic outcomes over the life cycle. He has also spent considerable effort in examining the role that social security might play in potentially remedying such behavioral pathologies. His peer-reviewed research has been published in several high-quality scientific outlets, including Economics Letters, the Journal of Economic Psychology, International Tax and Public Finance, and the European Journal of Political Economy. In recognition for his research efforts to date, Scott was honored with the appointment as a Research Fellow of Netspar (The Network for Pensions, Aging and Retirement) which is sponsored by the government of The Netherlands in tandem with several private pension providers and universities across Europe.

Scott was also honored with the appointment as a Research Affiliate (Junior Fellow) of CESifo (joint partnership between the Center for Economic Studies and the Ifo Institute, headquartered in Munich, Germany). CESifo is sponsored by the federal government of Germany, the state government of Bavaria, and the University of Munich. In addition, in 2008 Scott was awarded The Young Economists Award in Maastricht, Netherlands by the International Institute of Public Finance for some of his research (joint with coauthor, Frank Caliendo) on optimal public pension design. This award was bestowed for this research that stands out for scientific quality, creativity, and relevance, and the award was given to only two other pairs of coauthors representing Harvard University, the University of Cologne, the University of Munich, and the Paris School of Economics.

2014 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Alexa Sand Art Caine College of the Arts
Robert Gillies Plants, Soils and Climate College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Rose Hu Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering
Michael Sowder English College of Humanities and Social Sciences
*Gregory Madden Psychology Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Michelle Baker Biology College of Science
Jeffrey Doyle Accounting Jon M. Hunstman School of Business
Karen Mock Wildland Resources S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

 

2013 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Jason Nicholson Music Caine College of the Arts
Scott Jones Plants, Soils and Climate College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Heng Ban Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering College of Engineering
Joyce Kinkead English College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Cindy Jones Teacher Education and Leadership Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Nathan Geer Mathematics College of Science
Benjamin Blau Economics Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
*David Koons Wildland Resources S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

 

2012 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Shawn Fischer Theatre Arts Caine College of the Arts
Jiming Jin Plants, Soils and Climate College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
*Yang Quan Chen Electrical and Computer Engineering College of Engineering
Damon Cann Political Science College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Maria Norton Family, Consumer and Human Development Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Christopher Corcoran Mathematics and Science College of Science
Diana Thomas Economics Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Layne Coppock Environment and Society S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Heath Mitton History Regional Campus and Distance Education

 

2011 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Kathy Puzey Art Caine College of the Arts
Brian Gowen Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
*Wei Ren Electrical and Civil Engineering College of Engineering
Douglas Jackson-Smith Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Brett Shelton Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
James Pitts Biology College of Science
Chad Albrecht Management Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Peter Adler Wildland Resources S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Derrik Tollefson Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Regional Campus and Distance Education

 

2010 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Silvana Martini Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Anhong Zhou Engineering Biological and Irrigation Engineering College of Engineering
Javier Dominguez Language, Philosophy and Speech Communications College of Humanities and Social Sciences
*Brian J. Higginbotham Family, Consumer and Human Development Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Cheng-Wei (Tom) Chang Chemistry and Biochemistry College of Science
Jeffrey Doyle Accountancy Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Phaedra Budy Watershed Sciences S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

 

2009 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Paul G. Johnson Plants, Soils and Climate College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Wenbin Yu Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering College of Engineering
Charlie Huenemann Language, Philosophy and Speech Communication College of Humanties and Social Sciences
*Ron Gillam Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Timothy A. Gilbertson Biology College of Science
John Gilbert Economics and Finance Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
John C. (Jack) Schmidt Watershed Sciences S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

 

2008 Awardees

Awardee Department College
John Morrey Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Arthur Caplan Economics Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
David Wiley Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Jagath Kaluarachchi Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering
Jerome Dan Murphy Art and Design College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Michael Conover Wildland Resources S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
James Powell Mathematics and Statistics/Ecology College of Science

 

2007 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Ken White Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Ronda Callister Management and Human Resources Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Tim Shahan Psychology Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Jagath Kaluarachchi Civil and Environmental Engineering College of Engineering
Mike Christiansen Music College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Charles Hawkins Watershed Sciences S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Piotr Kokoszka Mathematics & Statistics College of Science

 

2006 Awardees

Awardee Department College
DeeVon Bailey Economics College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
David Paper Business Information Systems Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Amy Odum Psychology Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Barton Smith Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering College of Engineering
John Seiter Languages, Philosophy & Speech Communication College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Karen Beard Forest, Range, and Wildlife Sciences S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Alvan Hengge Chemistry 7 Biochemistry College of Science

 

2005 Awardees

Awardee Department College
Bruce Bugbee Plants, Soils, & Climate College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
James Scott Business Information Systems Jon M. Huntsman School of Business
Lori Roggman Family, Consumer, & Human Development Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services
Charles Swenson Electrical & Computer Engineering College of Engineering
David Tarboton Civil & Environmental Engineering College of Engineeringf
Douglas Jackson-Smith Sociology, Social Work, & Anthropology College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Mike White Aquatic, Watershed, & Earth Resources S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Alexander Boldyrev Chemistry & Biochemistry College of Science

 

*University Faculty Researcher of the Year