Nebraska in the national news: November 2022

· 7 min read

Nebraska in the national news: November 2022

Kelsy Burke, associate professor of sociology, and Emily Kazyak, associate professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies, co-wrote a Nov. 8 analysis piece for The Washington Post on how Americans’ support for transgender rights has declined in recent years. The article was among 30-plus national news stories featuring Husker faculty, staff, students, centers and programs in November.

Citing the Public Religion Research Institute’s recent American Values Survey, the researchers pointed out that in 2016, only 35% of Americans favored so-called “bathroom bills” — laws that require transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex assigned at birth, not their current gender identity. In 2022, after numerous states proposed such laws, the number of Americans supporting them rose to 52%. The jump was especially pronounced for white evangelicals and Republicans, less so for Democrats and those unaffiliated with religion.

Burke and Kazyak recently surveyed 938 mostly cisgender Nebraskans, asking them to explain their views about transgender bathroom use in their own words. They found that support or opposition hinges on beliefs about the nature of gender itself.

Supporters of transgender rights believe in gender fluidity and take transgender people’s experiences seriously. These respondents reasoned that “people should live their lives as the way they identify themselves.” Opponents see gender change as illegimitate and privilege cisgender people’s experiences. They reason that “you cannot choose gender” and that “society should not be forced to recognize other categories than male and female.”

“The culture war over transgender rights is part of a war over competing notions of gender and sexuality, and how those should be regulated in the social world. …,” Burke and Kazyak wrote. “Americans are divided because we have fundamentally different vantage points over whose identities deserve protection and which experiences are to be prioritized and believed.”

Additional national news coverage in November includes:

Scientific American published a review of “Parasites: The Inside Story” by Husker researchers Scott Gardner, biological sciences; Judy Diamond, University Libraries; and Gabor Rácz, University of Nebraska State Museum, in its November issue. The magazine described the new book as “a crash course in the overlooked world of parasites.”

Successful Farming published a Nov. 1 article on the Diamond Bar Ranch near Stapleton. Natalie Jones, a communications specialist with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Shaylee Jones, a recent Husker graduate; and Grant Jones, a junior animal science major at Nebraska, are part of the ranch’s fifth generation.

More than 150 leaders from across Nebraska’s beef industry gathered at the university’s Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead Nov. 4 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Feedlot Innovation Center. Stories on the groundbreaking appeared in at least six Nebraska media outlets, Beef magazine, Brownfield Ag News, Feedlot Magazine, Feedstuffs, The Fence Post and Meat+Poultry.

Justin Kirk, communication studies, head coach of the university’s debate team, was interviewed for a Nov. 7 KCUR story on fewer political candidates taking part in debates. Engaging in debates, he said, is one of the core points that James Madison argued as the U.S. Constitution was being written. “The affirmative case for debates begins with this Madisonian principle: That a knowledgeable public is one of the central functioning elements of a democracy,” Kirk said.

Lloyd “Bud” Shenefelt, architecture, was interviewed for a Nov. 8 segment on RFD-TV. His undergraduate students are working on a project in Alliance, Nebraska, that includes a focus on recreation and a proposed treatment facility for those with substance use disorders.

Adam Houston, Earth and atmospheric sciences, was a guest on the Nov. 11 episode of WHYY’s The Pulse program titled “The Science of Extreme Weather.” He discussed the Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS) project, which he leads. The 17-member, multi-institutional TORUS team crisscrossed the Great Plains this summer, using high-tech instruments to gather data on supercell thunderstorms, known to produce the most destructive tornadoes.

Conagra Brands is funding a project at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln that is breeding popcorn varieties with higher levels of lysine, an amino acid that gives the food more nutritional value. Food Business News ran a Nov. 14 article on the project. David Holding, agronomy and horticulture, was featured in the story. New Atlas ran a similar story Nov. 15.

Dave Aiken, agricultural economics, was interviewed for a Nov. 15 Progressive Farmer article titled “Seven contract considerations when selling carbon credits.” Aiken recommended producers have an attorney go over the contract so they can understand all the details. “There is likely going to be some fine print, and if you just sign it so you could get the money, you could end up holding the bag,” he said.

Broadway World published a Nov. 15 article on the tenThing Brass Ensemble holiday concert Dec. 1 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are available here, by phone at 402-472-4747 and at the Lied’s box office, 301 N. 12th St.

Drone Amplified’s IGNIS system was featured in a Nov. 17 article. The system involves a drone that drops pingpong-ball-sized incendiary devices for controlled burns of vegetation. Carrick Detweiler, CEO and co-founder of Drone Amplified and Rosowski Professor of computer science and engineering, was interviewed for the story.

Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, discussed the agency’s Space for Ag initiative during an Aug. 22 Heuermann Lecture at the university. As part of a corresponding tour, St. Germain and other NASA officials visited with ag producers near Mead, Giltner and Lexington Aug. 22 and 23. Successful Farming published a Nov. 21 article on the tour.

“Vanity Fair: Architectural Icons Issue” by Ben Friesen, a third-year professional architecture student at Nebraska, has been selected as a finalist for Architizer’s 2022 One Drawing Challenge.

Jennifer Lather, architectural engineering and construction, was interviewed for a Nov. 22 Washington Post article on how a number of factors can influence how people experience temperature. If a home’s windows or doors aren’t well-insulated, cold air will seep in on frigid days and meet with warmer air inside, Lather said, creating a draft that might not be reflected on the thermostat. The relative lightness or darkness of a room is another consideration. In a darker room, Lather said, “you have this sense of coziness because you feel like you’re in a smaller space.”

A recent CropWatch article by Mary Drewnoski, beef systems specialist with Nebraska Extension, was highlighted in a Nov. 22 Beef magazine article on whether cattle can safely graze fire-damaged cornstalks. She wrote that the grain can be salvaged and fed to cattle but research shows that it will provide less energy. Also, “due to the fire removing the residue in the field, cattle will need to have a roughage source, such as hay, provided when grazing,” she wrote.

Hannah Guenther, Nebraska Extension educator, offered tips for preparing and storing Thanksgiving foods during a Nov. 22 segment on RFD-TV.

An Oct. 18 study co-authored by Dirac Twidwell, agronomy and horticulture, was highlighted in a Nov. 23 Wired article on grasslands being overtaken by woody encroachment. Rheinhardt Scholtz, an affiliate researcher with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, was also interviewed for the story. “Grasslands are the most imperiled and least protected terrestrial ecosystem,” Scholtz said. Less than 10% of Earth’s grasslands remain intact, he said, with woody encroachment being “a slow and silent killer.”

The Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project, co-directed by Margaret Jacobs, was highlighted in a Nov. 24 Associated Press article on efforts to locate the bodies of more than 80 Native American children buried at the former boarding school. Jacobs is Charles Mach Professor of History and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Nebraska. The story has been picked up by 280-plus media outlets.

Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor Emerita of history, was interviewed for a Nov. 25 Tasting Table article on the origins of the gingerbread man. She discussed Queen Elizabeth I’s fondness for the sweet treats. “She did do a banquet where she had gingerbread men made to represent foreign dignitaries and people in her court,” she said.

Nebraska has hired Matt Rhule as its next head football coach. Stories on the hiring appeared in 500-plus media outlets, including The Athletic, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, ESPN, NBC Sports, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! News.

The university’s nationally leading research on saving Great Plains grasslands was highlighted in the Nov. 29 episode of RFD-TV’s “Cattlemen to Cattlemen,” produced by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Dirac Twidwell, associate professor of agronomy and horticulture, was featured on the show.

Brownfield Ag News published an article on the university’s Nov. 29 Carbon Summit. The free public event was aimed at anyone who wanted to learn more about carbon and agriculture.

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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