UNL in the national news: March 2016

UNL in the national news: March 2016

A rare “soldier letter” penned by poet Walt Whitman was among the topics featured in national news coverage of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during March. UNL faculty, staff and students appeared in about 50 separate national news reports during the month.

The Washington Post broke the news March 9 that a volunteer with the National Archives had found a letter penned by Walt Whitman while reviewing a Civil War widow’s pension file. Whitman scholar Kenneth Price, English, confirmed that the letter was written by Whitman. While the poet’s journal indicates that he wrote letters on behalf of injured and dying soldiers as part of his hospital volunteer work during the Civil War, this was only the third such letter to be identified. The Associated Press version of the story was carried by hundreds of outlets around the world, including the New York Times and each of the major TV networks. The Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, Smithsonian Magazine and National Public Radio also reported on the discovery.

Other March news stories featuring UNL faculty included:

Alissa Anderson and Elaine Hebets, biological sciences, continued to get coverage in March about their study of why male nursery web spiders tie up females while mating. National Geographic ran a story on March 11. The New York Times included research video in a story published March 14. CBS News carried a report March 15.

Numerous outlets across the country carried an Associated Press report on UNL students’ spring break trip to Uganda to assist a business that employs needy women, who make bags and other items from recycled drinking straws. Engineering students built a machine to more quickly flatten the straws and business students developed a plan to expand the business. The article quoted Amy Demers, an accounting student.

Wildfire Today reported March 31 that a fire-starting drone designed by Carrick Detweiler and Sebastian Elbaum, computer science & engineering, would be tested via a prescribed burn at Homestead National Monument.

The New Republic highlighted research by Angela Dietsch, special education and communication disorders, in a March 15 article examining dysphagia, the inability to swallow. Dietsch works with military veterans with trauma-related dysphagia. The story originated in Mosaic, a life-sciences news service, and also appeared in Business Insider.

Wheeler Winston Dixon, film studies, commented on the clash of values for a March 27 Los Angeles Times story about filmmakers and actors who threaten to stop filming in Georgia if that state passes legislation that would allow faith-based institutions to deny services to gay people. The story was carried by several other outlets, as well.

Donna Dudney, finance, was quoted by National Public Radio’s Marketplace March 7 about the decision to live stream the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in April. She said she’s surprised how much of a “rock star” Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett is to 19- to 21-year-olds.

Virtual Incision, a company co-founded by Shane Farritor, engineering, announced March 1 that its miniaturized robotically assisted surgical device had been successfully used in a colon resection surgery. The story was carried by a number of news sources, such as BioSpace.

Amy Goodburn, academic affairs, was quoted in the March 21 Honolulu Star-Advertiser about UNL efforts to improve retention and graduation rates for minority students. An overview of such efforts by major state universities, the story originated with Stateline, a publication of Pew Charitable Trusts.

David Gosselin, environmental studies, and students Matan Gill, Justin Solomon and Reed Brodersen, were quoted in a March 20 article about UNL’s student-led Environmental Studies Committee. The story, which originated with the Lincoln Journal Star, received nationwide coverage after it was picked up by the Associated Press.

Turfgrass expert William Kreuser, agronomy and horticulture, commented to Crain’s Detroit Business for a March 23 story after the city of Detroit threatened to shut off water to its golf courses because its management company was more than $400,000 behind on its water bills. He said lack of water could devastate the courses.

Inside Higher Ed interviewed Barney McCoy, broadcasting and journalism, for a March 2 story about students’ failure to read emails from their professors, advisors and other university officials. McCoy, who recently completed a study on students’ use of devices in the classroom, said he’s unsurprised that today’s students prefer text messages.

A study led by Mark Mills, psychology, that found political conservatives have a better memory for negative stimuli was picked up by Science Daily on March 31.


Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged at http://newsroom.unl.edu/inthenews/
 If you have additions to this list or suggestions for national news stories, contact Leslie Reed at lreed5@unl.edu or 402-472-2059.