GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Alberto López Torres and Jiachun Zhan of the Florida Museum of Natural History have been recognized for their service and have received 2022 Superior Accomplishment awards from the University of Florida.

The annual award recognizes staff and faculty members who contribute outstanding and meritorious service, efficiency and/or economy, or to the quality of life for students and employees.

two headshots of people outside
Alberto Torres López (left) and Jiachun Zhan (right) won Division 3 level awards. Photo of López ©Florida Museum/Kristen Grace; photo of Zhan: ©Florida Museum/Jeff Gage

López, the Florida Museum’s youth outreach coordinator, and Zhan, the Florida Museum assistant director of finance, both won for the Division 3 level, which includes all schools, colleges, departments and units under the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Florida Museum Education Programs Coordinator Catherine Carey nominated López. In her letter, she praised his work piloting and redeveloping programs like the butterfly garden program, “Science Surprises” and “Museum in the Parks.” His outreach over the summer was especially successful, totaling more than 600 contact hours with underserved youth at five organizations.

“It’s an award that I will cherish and share with the amazing people I work with in the museum that make outreach programs possible, and of course, the program participants that welcome us into their communities,” López said. “Many community stakeholders have made all of this possible, and they also deserve a share of the award.”

Florida Museum Senior Associate Director Beverly Sensbach nominated Zhan. She praised her signature achievement of transitioning the museum’s budget and accounting processes to a new model, resulting in increased transparency, accountability and efficiency. She also praised Zhan’s initiative, creativity and “willingness to assist far beyond normal expectations by leading the transformation of our fiscal system.”

“It has been a blessed experience to work with the people here at the museum,” Zhan said. “It’s truly, deeply appreciated.”

Torres and Zhan were honored by the university at a virtual ceremony March 11. As Division 3 award winners, they will be considered for a universitywide Superior Accomplishment Award. These winners will be announced at a ceremony April 13.

For more information on the Superior Accomplishment Award, visit


Writer: Nikhil Srinivasan,
Sources: Alberto Lopez Torres,, Jiachun Zhan,
Media contact: Kaitlin Gardiner,