Nebraska in the national news: August 2021

· 7 min read

Nebraska in the national news: August 2021

Two University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty members and a graduate student were featured in Washington Post articles in August. The stories were among 30-plus national news stories featuring Husker faculty, staff, students, centers and programs during the month.

  • Justin “Gus” Hurwitz, associate professor of law and director of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, was interviewed for an Aug. 10 article on Amazon agreeing to pay customers up to $1,000 for defective products sold on its marketplace by third-party merchants that cause property damage or personal injury. He said the new policy is likely driven by legal and regulatory efforts to push the company to accept greater responsibility for selling defective goods.

  • Daniel Linzell, associate dean for graduate and international programs in the College of Engineering and Leslie D. Martin Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was quoted in an Aug. 12 article on the June condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida. He said the damage flagged in a 2018 report and later by the condo board might explain the pool deck failure. “Those things could certainly have led to this collapse,” he said.

  • Nasrin Nawa, a graduate student in journalism and mass communications, wrote an Aug. 16 guest column for the Post on the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Nawa was able to flee Kabul before the takeover of the capital city, but her sister and parents remain there. She was also featured in stories in KETV, KLKN, the Lincoln Journal Star, Rural Radio Network, ABC News, CBS News, CNN,, MSNBC, Yahoo! News and more than 40 other media outlets.

More coverage:

John Anderson, economics, was interviewed for an Aug. 2 Business NH Magazine article on the great divide over current use, a tax policy that allows agricultural land to be appraised at a lower value based on how it’s being used and not its market value. “As a policy device, it really hasn’t had great success in terms of preserving family farms or preserving prime agricultural land,” he said.

Christina Anaya, a postdoctoral researcher in parasitology, was cited in an Aug. 3 Reuters fact check about a viral video showing worm-like creatures being pulled from a live grasshopper. Social media users claim it shows evidence of an unproven disease called Morgellons. However, Anaya said the grasshopper was likely infected with either a mermithid or horsehair worm. “Because of the poor quality of the video, it is difficult to determine whether it is a mermithid or horsehair worm,” she said, “but it is definitely one of the two.”

A regenerative implant engineered by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska–Lincoln could help repair bone-deep damage following physical trauma, surgery or osteoporosis. The team has developed a biodegradable, nanofiber-based implant, or scaffold, whose design could better regenerate bone by effectively guiding the migration of recuperative cells to the injury site. Stories on the implant appeared in Forbes, Medical Xpress and

Jennifer Clarke, director of the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative at Nebraska, was interviewed for an Aug. 3 segment on RFD-TV. She discussed the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative, which brings together researchers from Nebraska and three other institutions to better understand how a plant’s or animal’s genes affect its physical traits and how that relationship can improve crops and livestock.

Sue Sheridan, associate dean for research and creative activity, director of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, and George Holmes University Professor, was interviewed for an Aug. 4 WMC story on the Teachers and Parents as Partners program. “Our research is finding that this investment of about eight to 10 weeks where parents and teachers are working intently together, those gains persist at least a year out,” she said.

Vicki Highstreet, interim diversity, equity and inclusion special project manager with Student Affairs, was quoted in an Aug. 5 Campus Rec article on the 2021-22 academic year. “Fall 2021 will bring life to campus that we haven’t seen in a while …,” she said. “Being the only institution in the Big Ten that conducted in-person new student orientation this summer reminded us how vibrant the campus is when we see our students walking and talking across campus and in our buildings.”

Valerie Jones, advertising and public relations, was interviewed for an Aug. 5 Nebraska Public Media story on whether a social media “posting index” should be a new economic indicator. She described the data as a potentially useful tool but warned that the enormity of the information could make drawing conclusions difficult. Iowa Public Radio and St. Louis Public Radio picked up the story.

A new study by John Benson, vertebrate ecology, and colleagues shows that as people sheltered in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, mountain lions in Greater Los Angeles actually moved less and downsized their territory. Stories on the research appeared in, the Environmental News Network and ScienceDaily.

Batool Ibrahim, a senior political science and global studies major and president of the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, and Valerie Jones, advertising and public relations, were interviewed for an Aug. 12 NPR story on incentives colleges and universities are using to try to encourage people to get vaccinated. Ibrahim said incentives can start conversations about getting the vaccine, but she would like to see the University of Nebraska–Lincoln implement stricter health and safety protocols for unvaccinated students.

John Hay, Nebraska Extension educator, was interviewed for an Aug. 15 Santa Fe New Mexican article on roadblocks to renewable energy in New Mexico. He said there is no such thing as a completely carbon-neutral source of energy, but coal-fueled electricity and natural gas emit huge amounts of carbon compared to wind, solar and other sources. Nuclear energy is generally clean, he said, but nuclear plants are expensive to build and the public perception of them is negative. Yahoo! News picked up the story.

NPR visited Lincoln for an Aug. 17 story on the university’s COVID-19 protocols for the fall semester. Amy Goodburn, senior associate vice chancellor and dean of undergraduate education, and Promise Lloyd, a sophomore sports media and communication major, were interviewed for the story. The university’s voluntary COVID-19 Vaccine Registry giveaway was also highlighted in the story.

NPR published a related story Aug. 18. Goodburn and Phoebe Feis, a junior political science major, were interviewed for the story. The university’s COVID-19 Vaccine Registry giveaway was again highlighted.

Justin “Gus” Hurwitz, law, director of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, was interviewed for an Aug. 17 segment on RFD-TV. He discussed the lack of high-speed internet access in some rural households and efforts to bridge the rural digital divide.

The ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a first-of-its-kind alliance Aug. 24 that commissioners from each league expect will bring stability to an unsteady college sports landscape. Stories on the alliance and what it means for Nebraska appeared in at least 20 Nebraska media outlets, including the Omaha-World-Herald; 247Sports; and more than 120 other media outlets.

Dai Shizuka, biological sciences, was quoted in an Aug. 26 Atlantic article on a new study showing that female white-necked jacobins have evolved to change colors to avoid being harassed by males. “If you think about it, it’s kind of a nice solution,” he said.

Eileen Hebets, biological sciences, was the featured guest on the Aug. 30 episode of The Animal Behavior Podcast. She discussed arachnid sensory systems, extreme mating behavior and science communication.

The Nebraska football team’s home sellout streak will continue thanks to two donors who purchased the remaining tickets for the Huskers’ Sept. 4 home opener against Fordham. The donation launches the Red Carpet Experience, a program that offers complimentary tickets for underserved Nebraska youth. Stories on the ticket purchase appeared in at least 18 Nebraska media outlets, 247Sports, ESPN and 150-plus other media outlets.

Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged at
 If you have additions to this list, contact Sean Hagewood at or 402-472-8514. If you have suggestions for national news stories, contact Leslie Reed at or 402-472-2059.

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