Awards & Recognition Spring 2020 | Department of Biological Sciences

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August 5, 2020

Awards & Recognition Spring 2020


Biological Sciences Faculty and Staff have been at the forefront of providing excellent service to the University. The following faculty and staff achieved a combined milestone of 165 years of service to UNT and its community. They were recognized for their years of service with the University of North Texas during the annual Service Awards event on March 3, 2020.

  • 20 years of service with UNT: Dr. Ed Dzialowski, Kimberly Piccolo
  • 15 years of service with UNT: Dr. Ruthanne Thompson, Dr. Mark Burleson, Kenneth Steigman, Richard Freiheit, Arland Alberts
  • 10 years of service with UNT: Dr. David Hoeinghaus, Mandi Anderson
  • 5 years of service with UNT: Dr. Mina Aziz, Dr. Lu Nan, Dr. Xiaoqiang Wang, Carey Earthman, Wendy Pace, Maria Rojas


Recognition and Awards Congratulations to our Outstanding Teaching Assistants who were recognized during the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award Ceremony held on May 29, 2020.

Bethany Hudson - Outstanding Non-Majors Biology Teaching Assistant. Bethany has been a Teaching Assistant in face-to-face and online versions of two non-majors biology lab courses during her academic career. According to her lab supervisor Claudia Gonzales, Bethany has demonstrated consistency and has served as a resource for new Teaching Assistants.

Prajita Pandey - Outstanding Freshman Biology Teaching Assistant. Ipsita Lahiri, the lab supervisor for Freshman Biology labs commented that Prajita is reliable, prepared, organized and professional. She is the first to try new laboratory approaches and does not shy away from change.

Devasantosh Mohanty - Outstanding Microbiology Teaching Assistant. Microbiology Lab Supervisor Roxanna Hughes indicated that Devasantosh is hardworking, flexible and always willing to help. He possesses both the interest and willingness to take on separate lab course preps in a single term. He serves as a role model for other TAs and assists with training of new Teaching Assistants.

Sonya Layton - Outstanding Research-based Lab Teaching Assistant. Dr. Lee Hughes recognized Sonya as an extremely valuable Teaching Assistant during her years serving in this position. She always performs above expectations and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure everything is ready and working well for the PHAGES labs. Sonya served as the coordinator of the lab when her faculty member was on sabbatical. She is well liked by her students while also pushing them to do their best work in the laboratory.

Megann Harlow - Outstanding Environmental Science/Ecology Teaching Assistant. Lab supervisor Jaime Baxter-Slye noted that Megann's versatility and ability to establish a good rapport with her students makes her a standout among environmental science/ecology Teaching Assistants. She identifies laboratory needs and then meets those needs. Furthermore, her breadth and depth of knowledge have allowed her to Teaching Assistant in various laboratory environments.

Garima Saxena - Outstanding Upper Division Teaching Assistant. According to Arland Alberts, lab supervisor for Genetics, Parasitology and Immunology labs, Garima who has served as the lead Teaching Assistant, assists with new Teaching Assistant training, is always willing to answer questions or assist with lab prep. She works well with other Teaching Assistants and has a good rapport with her students.


Dr. Ana Alonso received the Early Career Award for Research and Creativity. This award goes to a UNT faculty member within her/his first 10 years in a fulltime faculty appointment whose research accomplishments or creative endeavors have been truly outstanding.


Dr. Richard Dixon A paper on the longevity of Ginkgo trees co-authored by University Distinguished Research Professor Dr. Richard A. Dixon (See publications below) received widespread international press coverage in articles and interviews in over 40 outlets including Science Magazine (https://www., Nature (https://www.nature. com/articles/ d41586-020-00067-8), The New York Times (https://www., and other international news media including BBC World News, Cosmos Magazine (Australia), Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Discover Magazine and the Daily Mail (UK).

Dr. Richard Dixon, University Distinguished Research Professor of Biological Sciences, was elected Member-at-Large of the US National Academy of Sciences Class VI Membership Committee in Applied Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.


Dr. Calvin Henard was appointed to the editorial board of 'Communications Biology', a Nature research journal.