Nebraska in the national news: September 2021

· 6 min read

Nebraska in the national news: September 2021

A University of Nebraska–Lincoln food scientist provided expertise for a Sept. 17 Popular Science article on whether genetically modified foods are safe to eat. The article was among 25-plus national news stories featuring Husker faculty, staff, students, centers and programs in September.

Richard Goodman, research professor of food science and technology, said the major issues consumers are concerned about are the same ones experts have been investigating for the past two decades — including “natural problems with food that would affect human safety, animal safety, allergy (and) toxicity.”

He estimated that there are more than 100 different genetic modifications that have been approved by regulatory bodies in the United States in crops such as rice, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and canola. He said that foreign DNA in the body is nothing to worry about and that some modifications offer nutritional benefits. He also said that GMOs have reduced the amount of pesticides and herbicides put on plants.

“Some of those chemical pesticides end up in groundwater and so forth,” he said. “So, where are we better off?”

More coverage:

A name, image and likeness partnership between Nebraska’s offensive linemen and Muchachos restaurant was featured in The Athletic and Business Insider.

Nebraska Athletics’ #NILbraska initiative was featured in a Sept. 26 story on NBC’s “Sunday Today.” Husker volleyball Coach John Cook and student-athlete Lexi Sun were interviewed for the story.

In a Sept. 1 appearance before ASUN, Chancellor Ronnie Green outlined a series of immediate steps in the university’s ongoing work to better support victims of and protect the campus community from incidents of sexual misconduct. The changes were featured in stories in more than a dozen Nebraska media outlets and Campus Safety Magazine.

Nebraska’s leading economic indicator dropped 0.17% in July, the first decline in 10 months, according to a recent report from the university’s Bureau of Business Research. The decline suggests that economic growth may slow in the state in the first months of 2022, said Eric Thompson, economics, director of the bureau. The Center Square published a Sept. 8 article on the report. The story was picked up by the Doniphan Herald, Hastings Tribune, Norfolk Daily News and a few other media outlets.

Dai Shizuka, biological sciences, was the featured guest on the Sept. 13 episode of The Animal Behavior Podcast. He discussed social networks in humans and non-human animals, and the relationship between space use and sociality.

Barney McCoy, broadcasting, was featured in a Sept. 13 article in the Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star on Gen. John J. Pershing. McCoy wrote and directed the 2017 documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War.”

A photo gallery titled “Nebraska Remembers,” featuring the university’s commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was highlighted in Exposure’s “Campus Stories” section on Sept. 13.

Chigozie Obioma, English, was mentioned in 250-plus national news stories on the recently announced Booker Prize shortlist. He is a judge for the award this year.

Jeffrey Day, architecture, was interviewed for a Sept. 14 segment on RFD-TV. He discussed the College of Architecture’s FACT program, which involves creative partnerships with rural communities in Nebraska and Kansas.

The Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project, co-directed by Margaret Jacobs, was mentioned in a Sept. 17 Flatwater Free Press article. Jacobs, history, director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, has also worked with journalist Kevin Abourezk on stories of tribal land reclamation in Nebraska. The story has been picked up by KMTV, News Channel Nebraska, The Reader, Indian Country Today and USA Today.

Justin Chase Brown, director of scholarships and financial aid, was interviewed for a Sept. 17 USA Today article on a change to FAFSA audits. The change allowed the university to get money to about 500 students stuck in bureaucratic limbo, he said. “So many students were able to be in their classroom learning rather than waiting in line or on the phone with the financial aid office,” he said.

Eric Berger, law, was interviewed for a Sept. 17 Center for Public Integrity article on President Joe Biden’s racial equity efforts for farmers of color hitting legal roadblocks. “There is a lot of this systemic racism that we still need to undo in this country,” he said. “But just pointing to that as a justification for these race-based programs — given the (conservative) Supreme Court presently and the state of the judiciary — that’s probably not enough to pass muster in a legal challenge.”

Kelli Boling, advertising and public relations, was interviewed for a Sept. 21 Associated Press article on the Gabby Petito missing-person case being boosted by social media and the true-crime craze. Boling said those fascinated by such cases are sometimes domestic-violence victims who find that such material can help them deal with their own experiences. The story was picked up by 500-plus media outlets.

Dawn O. Braithwaite, communication studies, was interviewed for a Sept. 21 AARP article titled “5 ways to be a better step-grandparent.” Communication is what people use to create relationships, she said. “You have to get in there and, in a way, assess the situation and ask a lot of questions,” she said. She also recommended being a “grandfriend” and erring on the side of generosity.

Saima Hasnin, doctoral candidate in child development and early childhood education, and colleagues are examining family child care home providers’ preparation and serving of vegetables, and their influence on children’s vegetable consumption. ran a Sept. 22 article on the research.

Matthew Schaefer, law, co-director of the Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law program, wrote a guest column for the September issue of SpaceNews magazine on the role of the space and satellite industries in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Space is a market multiplier and a customer for Industry 4.0,” he wrote. “But it can only play that full role with minimally burdensome regulations and stable liability regimes that incentivize continued innovation and investment in the space sector.”

Mohamed Khalil, a geoscientist in the university’s Conservation and Survey Division, was cited in a Sept. 24 Associated Press article on a sinkhole exposing an abandoned mine at a housing development in Black Hawk, South Dakota. He said the second phase of geophysical tests shows the seasonal fluctuation of the groundwater table over the past few decades has created the conditions for a sinkhole in any weak spot. The story has been picked up by several media outlets, including News Channel Nebraska.

Strahinja Stepanović, Nebraska Extension educator, was quoted in a Sept. 27 KCUR story on bean and pea farming gaining traction in the Midwest as more people eat plant-based meats. Stepanović helps farmers learn about pulse production. He said growing peas can offer long-term advantages such as soil health and weed reduction, but some farmers can’t justify the delayed benefits.

Kelsy Burke, sociology, was quoted in a Sept. 28 Christian Post article on theologian John Piper recently denouncing bedroom role-playing. Burke published a 2016 book analyzing the sexual practices of married evangelicals by studying 36 websites where large numbers of Christians have sought sexual advice. “The prevailing attitude is that if a believer is in open communication with God and a spouse about his or her desires, then those desires are permissible,” she said.

Tim Meyer, agricultural economics, discussed results from the 2021 Nebraska Rural and Metro polls during a Sept. 28 segment on RFD-TV.

Limei Zhang, biochemistry, and colleagues have uncovered atomic-level details on how a tuberculosis-causing bacterium wages war against antibiotics. ran a Sept. 29 article on the research.

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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