Nebraska nets 450-plus positive media mentions in 2022

· 12 min read

Nebraska nets 450-plus positive media mentions in 2022

A groundbreaking study on extinctions, an octopus-inspired smart glove, a surgical robot headed to space and the discovery of the first virus-eating microorganism made national and international news for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2022. More than 450 positive stories featuring the university, its faculty, staff, students, centers and programs appeared in national media outlets during the year.

  • Will Gearty, postdoctoral researcher in biological sciences; Kate Lyons, assistant professor of biological sciences; and a four-continent team found that extinctions of the largest herbivores and carnivores are disrupting what appears to be a fundamental feature of past and present ecosystems. Stories on the research appeared in Cosmos,, The Independent, and United Press International. Yahoo! News U.K. picked up The Independent’s story.

  • Eric Markvicka, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at Nebraska, worked with a Virginia Tech-led research team to develop an octopus-inspired glove capable of securely gripping objects underwater. He added an array of micro-LIDAR optical proximity sensors that detect how close an object is. Stories on the glove appeared in several media outlets, including Cosmos, and Popular Science.

  • A miniaturized surgical robot invented by Shane Farritor, Lederer Professor of engineering and co-founder of Virtual Incision, will be tested aboard the International Space Station in 2024. Stories on the test appeared in several Nebraska media outlets, CNET, Cosmos, The Daily Beast, the Daily Mail, Gizmodo,, Nerdist, PC Magazine,, The Telegraph, United Press International, The U.S. Sun (1, 2), Yahoo! News and 130-plus other media outlets.

  • John DeLong, associate professor of biological sciences, and colleagues found that a species of Halteria — microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater worldwide — can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses that share their aquatic habitat. For the first time, the team’s lab experiments have also shown that a virus-only diet, which the team calls “virovory,” is enough to fuel the physiological growth and even population growth of an organism. Stories on the research appeared in Gizmodo, IFL Science, Popular Science, Salon, Yahoo! News and more than 50 other media outlets.

Inventors, innovators and trailblazers

  • A recent study led by Patricio Grassini, Sunkist Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and associate professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, shows how Brazil could increase its agricultural production without converting more rainforest and savannah to crops. Stories on the research appeared in New Scientist,, ScienceDaily and more than a dozen other media outlets.

  • Conceived by Husker faculty Jenny Keshwani and Erin Ingram and developed by undergrads from the School of Computing, Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, Prairie Protector is helping high schoolers learn about the invasive eastern redcedar tree — by giving them a chance to eradicate it from digital grasslands. Stories on the video game appeared in KOLN/KGIN, the North Platte Telegraph, The Fence Post and High Plains Journal.

  • More than 150 leaders from across Nebraska’s beef industry gathered at the university’s Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead on Nov. 4 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Klosterman Feedlot Innovation Center. The center will provide new capacity to develop and evaluate emerging technology used in managing animals in feedlot settings. With an estimated cost of $7.5 million, the center is being funded through a combination of private giving, grants and IANR program funds. Stories on the center appeared in several Nebraska media outlets, as well as Brownfield Ag News, Beef magazine, Feedstuffs, The Fence Post and Meat+Poultry.

  • Husker researchers have tested whether a reinforcement coating or polymer wrap would benefit columns that support highway overpasses and bridges, Engineering 360 reported Feb. 14. The researchers found that 2.5-foot columns wrapped in a fiber-reinforced polymer and 3- and 3.5-foot columns coated in polyurea outperformed all other simulations in keeping the columns intact.

  • The University of Nebraska College of Law teamed up with the Nebraska legal community to start the Nebraska Legal Diversity Council. The council, which aims to expand diversity and inclusion in the Nebraska legal community, also includes the Nebraska State Bar Association, Creighton University School of Law and 16 law firms and businesses. The council was highlighted in a Jan. 19 preLaw article.

  • Mikaela Cherry, a recent Husker doctoral graduate, and colleagues have found that irrigation pivots covered with rust may signal the absence of nitrate — a contaminant linked to birth defects and cancers — in nearby groundwater. Stories on the research appeared in, ScienceDaily and Smart Water Magazine.

  • Hiep Vu, assistant professor of animal science, and Scott McVey, professor and director of Nebraska’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, are working to catalog a pig’s protective proteins against the lethal African swine fever. Their work could lead to new breakthroughs in fighting the disease. Stories on the research appeared in KHGI/KFXL/KPTM, the Rural Radio Network, Feedstuffs, The Fence Post, National Hog Farmer and Pork magazine.

  • A recent study co-authored by Ciera Kirkpatrick, assistant professor of advertising and public relations, shows that being confronted with images of “idealized motherhood” can increase a mother’s anxiety, envy and sense of comparison and put increased pressure on her mental health. Kirkpatrick conducted the research for her doctoral dissertation. Stories on the research appeared in KLKN, the Lincoln Journal Star and Motherly.

  • A recent study by Olivia Checkalski, a doctoral student in psychology; Sarah Gervais, professor of psychology; and Kathryn Holland, assistant professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies, found that women who send nude photos of themselves on their smartphone usually do so because they feel it’s expected of them by their partners. The most common reason, chosen by just over a third of questionnaire participants, was that they saw it as “an obligation or inherent part of being in a romantic relationship.” The Daily Mail published a Dec. 26 article on the research.

  • “The Bell Affair,” the inaugural feature-length film from Kwakiutl Dreher, associate professor of English; William G. Thomas III, Angle Chair in the Humanities and professor of history; and Michael Burton, assistant professor of art and design, made its public premiere June 2. The film chronicles an enslaved family’s fight for freedom in the mid-1800s. Stories on the film appeared on WYPR’s “On the Record” program on May 19 and in The Washington Informer on June 2.

  • The Lied Center for Performing Arts and Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts teamed up to create The Wilds, a mixed-reality performance experience that played Oct. 6-15 at the Johnny Carson Theater. Broadway World published a Sept. 21 article on the production. Jesse Fleming, assistant professor of emerging media arts and the show’s co-creator, and Bill Stephan, the Lied’s executive director, were quoted in the story.

  • Noori Choi, a recent doctoral graduate of Nebraska; Eileen Hebets, Charles Bessey Professor of biological sciences; and colleagues have found that females of the Schizocosa stidulans spider seem to reward males that produce more complex mating signals. Stories on the research appeared in the Daily Mail,, The Independent, Live Science and Yahoo! News.

  • Lloyd “Bud” Shenefelt, assistant professor of 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.

  • The Athletic published a Sept. 15 article on the Big Red Collaborative, the university’s first nonprofit name, image and likeness collective. Joe Petsick, executive in residence and assistant professor of practice in management in the College of Business and a BRC adviser, was interviewed for the story.

Trusted experts and recognized authorities

  • Courtney Hillebrecht, Samuel Clark Waugh Professor of international relations and director of the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, was featured in several stories on the challenges of prosecuting Russia for war crimes in Ukraine. “If Russia does not cooperate with the (International Criminal Court) or other international courts in times of peace, what can we expect in times of war?” she wrote in a March 21 guest column for The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. She also discussed the topic for April articles in The Daily Beast and Politifact.

  • Anthony Schutz, associate professor and associate dean for faculty in the College of Law, was interviewed on a variety of topics in 2022. He was interviewed for a Jan. 15 Denver Post article and April 23 NBC News story on Nebraska’s attempt to divert water from the South Platte River by building a canal and reservoir system in northeast Colorado. He was quoted in an Oct. 19 Guardian article on dozens of advocacy groups filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the federal department has failed to come up with a plan to regulate water pollution from factory farms. He also discussed the legality of towns passing abortion bans in an Oct. 24 KCUR story.

  • The Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS) project continued to draw national interest last year. The New York Times followed the 17-member, multi-institutional team this summer as it crisscrossed the Great Plains, from Texas to the Canadian border, using high-tech instruments to gather data on supercell thunderstorms. Adam Houston, professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences and team leader, was featured in the Sept. 8 article. He was also a guest on the WeatherBrains podcast on July 19 and WHYY’s The Pulse program on Nov. 11.

  • The university’s National Drought Mitigation Center continues to be the go-to source for journalists reporting on drought conditions in the United States. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor — jointly produced by the drought center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — was cited by numerous media outlets throughout the year, including Bloomberg, The Boston Globe,,, Forbes, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Post and The Washington Post. The drought center’s experts were interviewed for FOX Weather, NBC News and RFD-TV (1, 2).

A sampling of other university experts quoted in 2022:

  • Azzeddine Azzam, agricultural economics, January on, Biden administration’s action plan to combat surging meat prices; April in Beef magazine, his study of the pandemic’s impact on meat processors and the resilience of the industry.

  • Andrea Basche, agronomy and horticulture, February in Successful Farming, strategies for cover crops; March on Ag PhD Radio Show, her cover crop management course; June in BBC Future, turning a garden into a carbon sink.

  • Jack Beard, law, January in Inverse, 1967 Outer Space Treaty; March in The Washington Post, commercial satellites testing rules of warfare in Russia-Ukraine conflict.

  • Jocelyn Bosley, Office of Research and Economic Development, September on National Children’s Museum’s STEAM Daydream podcast, helped youth figure out how a magician used science to zap people in “A Shocking Truth.”

  • Dawn O. Braithwaite, communication studies, May in Huffington Post, what parents should consider when introducing their children to a new dating partner; June on KQED, chosen family; July in Psychology Today, how people live both independently and together in close relationships; August in Psychology Today, when family estrangement is the healthiest choice; September in Psychology Today, research on how parents can talk about their mental health with their children.

  • Kelsey Burke, sociology, and Emily Kazyak, sociology and women’s and gender studies, November in The Washington Post, their research on Americans’ support for transgender rights.

  • Joy Castro, English and ethnic studies, January in The New York Times, guest column on HBO’s “And Just Like That.”

  • Deirdre Cooper Owens, history, December in The 19th, cruel origins of American gynecology.

  • Kwame Dawes, English, January/February issue of The American Poetry Review, featured on cover, five of his poems featured; September in The Atlantic, his poem “The Widow’s Elegy” featured; December in The New York Times, his poem “Advent” featured.

  • Carrick Detweiler, computer science and engineering, November on, Drone Amplified’s IGNIS system.

  • Scott Gardner, NU State Museum; Judy Diamond, University Libraries; and Gabor Rácz, NU State Museum, November in Scientific American and December in The New Yorker, their new book, “Parasites: The Inside Story.”

  • Katie Edwards, educational psychology, February in The 19th, challenges facing LGBTQ+ people who are stalked; April in Verywell Family, how parents can teach their children about consent.

  • Monique Farmer, February on, tips for successful writing; June on, tips for PR professionals to improve their health and well-being; November on, examples of the “say-do gap” that leaders often exhibit.

  • John Fech, Nebraska Extension, June in Golf Course Management, managing the competition for water between trees and turf on golf courses; September in Golf Course Management, half-hiding unsightly objects on golf courses with trees, shrubs and ornamentals; December in Golf magazine, tips for keeping Christmas trees healthy through the holiday season and then recycling them.

  • Paula Harper, music, March in Nylon, musicians going through a “pop villain” phase; March in Jezebel, internet-based theory that Taylor Swift is gay.

  • John Hibbing, political science, May on NPR, Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primary; June in Roll Call, Mike Flood’s victory in special election; August in The Hill, Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District race; October in The Associated Press, how midterm election might affect Nebraska Republicans’ efforts to ban abortion in the state.

  • Qi “Steve” Hu, Earth and atmospheric sciences, June in Environmental News Network, The Indian Express and Nature, study he co-authored showing that desert climates have spread north in parts of central Asia since the 1980s.

  • Justin “Gus” Hurwitz, law, January in Real Clear Policy, guest column on FAA-FCC fight and approach to risk; September on Cyberlaw Podcast, major tech bills in Congress; October in Real Clear Policy, opinion piece on Axon Enterprise v. Federal Trade Commission.

  • Jennifer Lather, architectural engineering and construction, November in The Washington Post, factors that can influence how people experience temperature.

  • Carole Levin, history, September in Forbes, #AbolishtheMonarchy trending on social media following Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

  • Patrice McMahon, political science and University Honors Program, June in The Conversation, advice for “grassroots humanitarians” eager to help Ukraine; August in The Conversation, Poland’s response to Ukrainian refugees.

  • Laura K. Muñoz, history and ethnic studies, October in USA Today, Latinos in the United States losing their Spanish fluency.

  • Elizabeth Niehaus, educational administration, March in The Chronicle of Higher Education, her research on student self-censorship; June in Inside Higher Ed, survey on student self-censorship; June in The Chronicle of Higher Education, rebranded free-speech group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

  • Chigozie Obioma, English, January in The Guardian, his second novel, “An Orchestra of Minorities,” highlighted in list of top 10 novels inspired by Greek myths; January in Los Angeles Times, his contribution to anthology “Anonymous Sex”; May in Book Riot, “An Orchestra of Minorities” highlighted in list of top books inspired by Greek myths; October in The Guardian, guest article on top 10 books about Nigeria.

  • Erkut Sönmez, supply chain management and analytics, March in The Washington Post, how Russia-Ukraine conflict has increased food prices and exacerbated shortages; June in Politico, food production and inflation.

  • Zhenghong Tang, community and regional planning, March in The New York Times, how climate change may affect urban planning and flood control issues.

University Communication tracks faculty, administration, student and staff appearances in the national media and reports upon them month by month. If you have additions to this list, contact Sean Hagewood, news coordinator, at or 402-472-8514. If you have suggestions for national news stories, contact Leslie Reed, public affairs director, at or 402-472-2059.

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