Nebraska in the national news: January 2024

· 6 min read

Nebraska in the national news: January 2024

A Husker-led study on aquifer depletion appeared in several regional and national media outlets in January. The stories were among 45-plus featuring Husker administrators, faculty, students, centers and programs during the month.

Three decades of data informed the new study, which shows how the depletion of groundwater — the same that many farmers rely on for irrigation — can threaten food production amid drought and drier climes.

“As you draw down an aquifer to the point that it’s quite thin, very small changes in the aquifer thickness will then have progressively larger and larger impacts on your crop production and resilience,” Nick Brozović, director of policy at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, told Nebraska Today.

Brozović authored the study with Taro Mieno, associate professor of agricultural economics at Nebraska, as well as the University of Manchester’s Timothy Foster and the University of Minnesota’s Shunkei Kakimoto. The study was published Jan. 15 in the journal Nature Water.

Stories on the research appeared in the McCook Gazette, the Fence Post, High Plains Journal, New Indian Express, Newsweek and Smart Water Magazine, among other outlets.

Additional national news coverage in January included:

  • Peter Revesz, computing, recently deciphered an inscription on an ancient sphinx. He determined the message to be a proto-Hungarian poem written with Greek letters that reads: “Lo, behold, worship: here is the holy lion.” Stories on the discovery appeared in AOL, the Miami Herald, MSN, Yahoo! News and 30-plus other media outlets.

  • A multidisciplinary consortium led by Yufeng Ge and Santosh Pitla, both biological systems engineering, has received a Grand Challenges grant from the Office of Research and Economic Development to study ways to sustainably grow food on space stations, the moon, Mars and other celestial bodies for human consumption. The consortium aims for Nebraska U to be the first university to establish a center dedicated to space agriculture. Food Dive published a Jan. 4 article on the consortium.

  • A June 2017 study by Husker researchers Victoria M. Donovan, Carissa L. Wonkka and Dirac Twidwell, all agronomy and horticulture, was cited in a Jan. 4 KCUR story on the possibility of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas facing more days of extreme wildfire risk per year. According to the study, large wildfires have become more common on the Great Plains in recent decades. The Eastern Redcedar Science Literacy Project at Nebraska was also mentioned in the story.

  • Richard Graham, University Libraries, was interviewed for a Jan. 8 Fast Company article on government comic books. He has collected the unique comics since childhood and is the author of a collection of the comics titled “Government Issue: Comics for the People 1940s-2000s.”

  • The National Strategic Research Institute has received a $24.5 million award from the Defense Health Agency to advance development of an acute radiation syndrome prophylactic. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s David Berkowitz, Patrick Dussault, Tomas Helikar, Massimiliano Pierobon and Robert Powers are part of the project. Straight Arrow News published a Jan. 10 story on the project.

  • Eric Berger, law, was interviewed for a Jan. 13 Associated Press article on the Justice Department’s first death penalty case under Attorney General Merrick Garland. “This Justice Department is far more reluctant to use the death penalty, certainly that the Trump administration was, and far more cognizant of the problems, but it’s not willing to throw away the death penalty altogether,” Berger said. He was also interviewed for a Jan. 18 Straight Arrow News article on a new bill that would federally prohibit private militia activity. He said that a narrowly written bill could withstand constitutional challenges but it’s unlikely the House of Representatives would pass such a bill.

  • Wesley Boyce, supply chain management and analytics, was interviewed for a Jan. 15 Straight Arrow News story on the possible economic impact of recent Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. Boyce said continued disruption of these shipping lanes could cause a delayed ripple effect for American consumers. “The impact we’re seeing here is surging cargo prices, shipment delays, increased cost of insuring for carriers,” he said. “So, we have a lot of problems that are starting to build.”

  • Nebraska U’s counselors-in-residence program was mentioned in a Jan. 16 Inside Higher Ed article on universities’ efforts to make the resident assistant position more manageable. The counselors, all second-year graduate students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, are available to meet with students in the residence halls.

  • Inside Higher Ed published a Jan. 18 article on the university’s micro-internship and mentoring program for low-income, first-generation or underrepresented minority students. Amy Goodburn, dean of undergraduate education and senior associate vice chancellor, was interviewed for the story.

  • Husker scientists and staff are formalizing existing research and outreach in precision agriculture into a strategic initiative called NFarms. The effort, in collaboration with producers and industry, will refine and expand precision ag capabilities crucial to boosting farm efficiency and environmental sustainability. Articles on the initiative appeared in Rural Radio Network, and The Fence Post.

  • Kelli Boling, advertising and public relations, was interviewed for a Jan. 18 Daily Dot article titled “The invisible victims of true crime content.” According to Boling, 73% of true crime podcast listeners are women, in part because they identify with the predominantly female victims featured.

  • Kelsy Burke, sociology, was interviewed for a Jan. 29 article in The 19th on states passing age verification laws for people to access pornography online. The laws are the “latest strategy in a long battle” against pornography, she said. “One of the things that’s important to point out is that it is already illegal to distribute sexual material to minors,” she said. “So in some ways, these age verification laws are attempting to provide a mechanism to enforce laws that are already out there.”

  • Marc Maguire, architectural engineering and construction, and Husker colleagues have developed an environmentally friendly, hemp-based alternative to concrete blocks. Straight Arrow News published a Jan. 29 story on the research.

  • The Midwest Roadside Safety Facility on Jan. 31 released the results of two crash tests indicating that a common guardrail system used on many roads cannot handle electric vehicles, which are heavier and have a lower center of gravity. Stories on the results appeared in at least seven Nebraska media outlets, as well as ABC News, The Associated Press, The Hill, MSN, Yahoo! Finance and several other national media outlets.

Faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media are logged at If you have additions to the 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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